Tips for saving water in your home

Published on: 06 November 2015

Tips to save water in your home

By this time of year, the northern part of the country is usually well into its rainy season. However, this year, we’re experiencing a drought – and there may be water restrictions in place in your city. Here are some tips to ensure that your household does not waste water. Get into the habit today!

  • Check taps and pipes for leaks.
    A small drip from a worn tap washer can waste 75 litres of water per day. Larger leaks can waste thousands of litres of water.
  • Don't flush the toilet unnecessarily.
    Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash, around 6 litres of water is wasted.
  • Check your toilets for leaks.
    Add a little food colouring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the colour begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install.
  • Use your water meter to check for hidden water leaks.
    Read the house water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak. 
  • Install water-saving shower heads and low-flow tap aerators.
    Long showers can use 15-30 litres of water every minute. Inexpensive water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy to install yourself. "Low-flow" means it uses less than 9 litres per minute.

    It is advisable that all household taps should be fitted with aerators: a cheap water conservation method!
  • Put plastic bottles or a float booster in your toilet tank.
    Save up to 40 litres of water per day by cutting down on water wasted by flushing. Fill two plastic bottles with about 5-8cm of sand or pebbles. Top the bottles up with water, screw the lids on, and place them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. Be sure enough water remains in the tank so it will flush away waste!
  • Insulate your water pipes. 
    It's easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. You'll get hot water faster and avoid wasting water while it heats up.
  • Take shorter showers.
    Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, wash down and rinse off. Try turning off the shower after soaping up, then turn it back on to rinse. A five-minute shower uses approximately 40 litres of water.
  • Turn off the water after you wet your toothbrush.
    There is no need to keep the water running while brushing your teeth. Just wet your brush and fill a glass for mouth rinsing.
  • Rinse your razor in the sink.
    Fill the sink with a few centimetres of warm water. This will rinse your razor just as well as running water, with far less waste.
  • Use your dishwasher and washing machine for full loads only.
    Automatic dishwashers and washing machines should be fully loaded for optimum water conservation. Most makers of dishwashing soap recommend not pre-rinsing dishes that can save a lot of water. 

    With washing machines, avoid the permanent press cycle, which uses an additional 20 litres for the extra rinse. For partial loads, adjust water levels to match the size of the load. Replace old washing machines. Newer models of washing machines use 35 - 50% less water and 50% less electricity per load. If you're in the market for a new washing machine, consider buying a water-saving frontload washing machine. 
  • When washing dishes by hand, don't leave the water running for rinsing.
    If you have a double basin, fill one with soapy water and one with clean water for rinsing. If you have a single basin sink, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them in a bucket filled with hot water.  If using a dishwasher, there is usually no need to pre-rinse the dishes.
  • Don't let the tap run while you clean vegetables.
    Rinse them in a stoppered sink or a container of clean water.
  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge.
    Running tap water to cool it off for drinking water is wasteful. Store drinking water in the fridge in a safe drinking bottle.

Water conservation comes naturally when everyone in the family is aware of its importance. Take the time to use some of these simple water-saving methods around the home which can make a big difference to your water consumption.  Good luck!