Turn off the Water While…

There are so many ways we waste water everyday by leaving the water running unnecessarily.  Here are a few situations in which you can turn off the water to help conserve your water use.

In the Shower

You need water to rinse yourself off in the shower, but do is it necessary to run the water when lathering your hair or scrubbing with soap?  For those who especially take a long time to do either task, the water and energy savings can really add up.  For each minute you save by turning off the water, you could potentially be saving approximately 2.5 gallons of water and $15 a year in energy costs (depending on your showerhead and energy costs) .

Washing Dishes

Washing dishes can use more water and energy than most people expect.  By shutting the water off when scrubbing the dishes with soap, up to half of the entire water faucet use can possibly be eliminated.  That can be fairly substantial considering that it can often take several minutes to clean an entire sink-full of dishes.  Try scrubbing all your dishes first, then rinsing them off.

Brushing Teeth

It is recommended that we brush our teeth for 2 minutes.  There is just no need for water to be running while we are brushing our teeth, but some people do.  If the water is left running for the entire time, it can waste 2 gallons of water and waste lots of energy if hot water is used.

Washing Your Car

Car washing is one of the biggest water wasting culprits at our homes.  The best solution to avoid this waste is to go to a commercial car cleaners, since they often reuse their water.  If you do wash your car at home though, make sure to either turn off the water or use a water hose nozzle to prevent waste.

Check out my water calculator to find out the water and energy use in any of the above situations.

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  1. Keep a couple of five gallon buckets in your bathroom. If you have to run off for a minute to get to the hot water, catch it and use it to water your plants or (if it gets soap in it) to wash the car.

  2. Do people really turn off the shower water while lathering? That seems so extreme. Personally I find it too difficult to get the right water temperature, so I wouldn’t be trying that tip. I don’t think we need to go that far. I think it’s more a matter of everyone doing their part. Some people simply don’t realize they are wasting energy when they leave water running.

      • Pays to Live Green
      • September 20th, 2010

      The surprising answer is yes. I remember when I had an exchange student from Europe who used to do this. His family was fairly well off, so it wasn’t because of financial reasons either.

      I think you are correct that it’s not a huge thing, especially when so many people are wasting water and energy on a daily basis. It is a small change that can add up over time though. Imagine just cutting the water off while lathering, which I would say takes about a minute. That can add up to 912 gallons of water savings a year.

  3. Great article that tells how you can save more water.
    We should save water for our coming generations and try to consume as less as we can..

  4. Really great that you write. We must keep our wates for nexty generation.

  5. My parents take after the Japanese – they use catch basins for water run-off in the sink and anywhere else they can. We then reuse the water on the plants and lawn.

    Our family used to loathe water huggers but it really does feel good to conserve resources. We’re tackling electricity usage next.

  6. Water is so important, yet our society generally treats it like it is nothing special. It is good advice that you have given. Another major point I think people should know is the huge difference between using cold water and hot water for everyday tasks such as soaking a rag to clean something up. The energy usage difference between the two is simply astounding. For more info on this subject, you can watch a TED talk by Catherine Mohr at: http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/catherine_mohr_builds_green.html

    My volunteer group and I just finished an article on this subject actually. We touch on some of these issues. We tried to write a comprehensive guide to greener action. If anyone is interested they can check out the article at: http://www.visionofearth.org/featured-articles/personal-and-social-change-for-a-green-energy-future/

  1. September 16th, 2010

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