Water Conservation Tips

Here are some tips for conserving water at home.

Outdoors

Sprinkler Systems

  • Have your sprinkler system checked for leaks and optimized to ensure you're not overwatering your lawn
  • Install a rain sensor to prevent unnecessary watering during and after a rainfall
  • Run your system manually by only turning it on and off when your lawn needs it 
  • Use a rain gauge on your lawn. Your lawn only needs 2.5 cm (1 inch) of water a week to flourish.
  • Use a rain barrel, equipped with a mesh screen to prevent mosquitoes from breeding, to collect rainwater for the garden.
  • Aerate the lawn in the spring to allow water to reach grass roots and retain organic material.
  • Select drought tolerant and/or native plants for your garden.
  • Practice mulching or grass cycle by leaving the cut grass on your lawn after mowing.
  • Place mulch and bark around the base of shrubs and trees to help retain moisture.
  • Use a soaker hose to direct water to the roots of plants.
  • Compost to add organic content to the garden and allow soil to retain moisture.
  • Wash your car with a sponge and bucket and sweep driveways and patios, instead of using the hose.

Indoors

The kitchen

The kitchen is where 15% of all water is used at home. This water is generally used for drinking, cooking and cleaning.

  • Keep a jug of drinking water in the fridge instead of letting the tap run cold for a drink
  • Install low flow aerators on kitchen taps
  • Do not rinse dishes before putting in the dishwasher; most dishwashers do a thorough job of cleaning them
  • Select the lowest possible cycle each time the dishwasher is used and wait until a full load is ready
  • If washing dishes by hand, do not let the water run continuously; use one sink for washing and the other sink for rinsing
  • Check for and fix any leaking faucets
  • Clean fruits and vegetables in a partially filled sink or bowl, then rinse them with quick blasts of water

The bathroom

The bathroom is the largest water consuming area in the home; 65% of water used is in the bathroom.

  • The toilet represents nearly 30% of all water used in the bathroom
  • The shower, bath and tap combined consume about 35% of water used in the bathroom
  • Install a dual flush (6L or 3L), HET High Efficiency Toilet (4.8 L) or 3L toilet for efficiency and savings
  • Do not use the toilet to dispose of garbage
  • Turn off the water while showering, brushing teeth, washing hands or shaving
  • Take a five to eight minute shower instead of a 20 minute shower

Savings from water conservation at home

  • Regular toilets waste as much as 20 L (4.4 gallons) per flush.
    • Low flow toilets can efficiently flush a bowl using only 6 litres (1.3 gallons) of water
    • Undetected leaks can waste several hundred litres of water per year and can easily be stopped by replacing or repairing fixtures.
    • Depending on your toilets’ volume, you may want to install a toilet displacement bag or toilet dam into the toilet tank; the amount of water that the bag holds is the amount of water that is saved during each flush.
  • Switch to a low flow aerator on the bathroom sink faucet that uses less water, such as one with a 1 - 1.5 gpm (gallons per minute) flow.
  • Switch to a low flow showerhead.
    • Average showerheads use 9.5 L of water per minute (2.5 gallons), while a water efficient showerhead uses only 6.4 L of water per minute (1.7 gallons) without decreasing water pressure or performance.

Estimated savings from switching one regular toilet to a low flow toilet:

Average toilet Water efficient toilet Average savings Savings/year/ household Savings ($) per year
13 - 20L/Flush 6L/Flush 7 - 14L/Flush 13,405L $56.31

The laundry room

Washing machines

  • Represent over 20% of all water used inside the home
  • High Efficiency (HE) washers use between 30% to 40% less water and as much as 70% less energy than standard (non-HE) top loading machines 
  • If possible, always wash with a full load of laundry
  • Use the shortest washing cycle available to save water
  • Use an HE washer
    • HE washers are considered to be gentler on clothes
    • They are more efficient in their spinning mechanisms
    • Laundry takes less time to dry
    • Cost to buy a HE washer is usually higher than top loading washers, but you save more money with the decreased use of water, detergent and energy

Estimated savings from switching to an HE washing machine:

Average washing machine Front loading washing machine Average savings Savings/year/
household
Savings ($) per year
175.5L/Load 121.5L/Load 54L/Load 2,429.5L $10.21

Water heaters

  • Insulate hot water pipes so when taps are turned on, less water is wasted waiting for the water to heat up
  • Install a tankless water heater for hot water on demand
  • Insulate the few feet of piping that extends from the heater to keep the hot water warmer for longer
  • Contact your manufacturer or rental company or refer to the hot water tank manual for maintenance instructions on hot water tank flushing
  • Replace your hot water heater
    • Install heat traps in your water heater to keep hot water from rising out of the heater and prevent cold water from getting in.
    • Heat traps stabilize water temperatures and reduces the amount of water waste while you wait for the water to become the right temperature.

Water leaks

Most water leaks go unnoticed until you receive a large water bill. You do not need to be a plumber to check out common problem areas in your home. You can reduce your water bill up to 10% by fixing simple leaks such as worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and other leaking valves.