Join HPWD as we present our “Summer of Water Conservation” blog series!
Every other week, we’ll post a blog about the best ways to conserve water this summer! These tips can help save money while conserving groundwater and surface water resources in our region.
Dishwashers, sink use, and food preparation in the kitchen accounts for about 10 percent of a household’s total water consumption. While this doesn’t sound like much, it is important to conserve water in the kitchen.
Automatic Dishwasher or Hand Washing?
If you have a dishwasher, use that instead of washing by hand. Hand washing one load of dishes can use 20 gallons of water, whereas newer water/energy-efficient dishwashers can use as little as 4.5 gallons. Newer dishwashers clean more thoroughly than older ones--so less rinsing is required. This uses less water and saves you more money!
Scrape, Soak, and Spray
When washing dishes by hand, first scrape all big chunks of leftover food into the trash or compost. Soak pots and pans to get rid of any residue, instead of letting the water run while scraping them clean. Lastly, use short bursts of water to rinse the dishes instead of keeping them under continuous running water.
Use Water In A Pan To Wash Fruits and Vegetables
Wash fruits and vegetables in a pan of water rather than holding them beneath running tap water. The water collected in the pan can be used to water plants or for other use around the house.
Avoid the Same Old Grind
Use the garbage disposal as little as possible. You can save 50 to 150 gallons of water each month by not running water into the disposal. Instead, collect food scraps and compost them for use as fertilizer around the yard. Remember to not put meat scraps into a compost bin! Here’s some helpful composting info! (aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/landscape/dont-bag-it/)
Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator. A lot of water can go down the drain as you wait for tap water to reach the right temperature for drinking.
One Cup, Per Person, Per Day
Designate one glass or bottle for your drinking water each day. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash at the end of the day. If you have kids, designate a certain color cup for each child. This will help them identify their cup and reduces the number of plastic water bottles used per day, which in turn saves money.
Defrost Frozen Food In The Fridge
Plan ahead! If you need to thaw frozen food for a meal, don’t place it under running water. Defrosting food in the refrigerator helps conserve water.
Instant Water Heaters Save Water and Time
Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so that cold water doesn’t run down the drain until it becomes hot. This also reduces energy costs. If you do not have an instant water heater, capture water in a bucket and use it to water plants around the house!
Low-Flow Means More Savings
Consider installing a low-flow faucet on your sink. Conventional faucets flow at around 5 gallons per minute, while low-flow faucets flow at 1.5 gallons per minute.
Use Only What You Need
Use only the amount of water needed when cooking. This reduces the amount of water that must be drained later in the cooking process. Using just enough to submerge foods, such as pasta and potatoes, not only saves water – but keeps more flavor and nutrients in your food.
If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink (or as many of us do, kick them under the fridge and pretend nothing happened). Drop them in a house plant instead. The ice cubes will slowly melt and provide water for your plant.
When it’s time to replace your dishwasher, be sure to research your purchase options. The Consortium for Energy Efficiency (CEE) website lists dishwashers by brand, model number, energy use, water use (gallons per cycle), capacity, and CEE rating.
Put these simple practices into effect and you’ll be a conservation pro in no time! Use the hashtag #SummerOfConservation to tell us how you are conserving water this summer. Be sure to watch for our next post!
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