Replacing older toilets with low-flow toilets saves water with every flush. Older toilets can also be modified to save water by placing a plastic bottle filled with rocks, sand, or another substance heavier than water, in the tank where it does not interfere with the flushing mechanism. This will displace a gallon of water reducing the volume with each flush.
Repairing leaky toilets can save hundreds if not thousands of gallons of water every month. To test for leaks add a few drops of food coloring to the toilet tank. If the flapper is leaking, the coloring will appear in the toilet bowl in a few minutes without flushing.
The District also has color tablets available at the office for toilet testing.
Tub and Shower
Repair any drips or leaks. Plug the drain before you run water for baths. Take shallow baths and keep shower short. Use of a low-flow shower head, flow restrictor or cut-off valve for the shower will save water with every shower. Keeping the pressure low will work where these devices are not installed.
Repair any drips or leaks. Install an aerator or flow restrictor in the faucet. Plug the drain when you wash or shave. Don’t let the water run when you brush your teeth.
Repair any drips or leaks in the kitchen. Use the disposal sparingly. Wash dishes by hand or run the dishwasher with full loads only. Don’t let water run constantly when preparing food. Thaw food in the refrigerator or microwave not under running water. Install an aerator or flow restrictor in the faucet.
Repair any drips or leaks. Use the load selector to match water level to size of the load or do only full loads. Look for water saving features when selecting a new washer.
Following the guidelines for watering during droughts will save thousands of gallons of water each month. Ensure sprinklers systems are in good working condition. Repair leaks and breaks when discovered. Use a broom or rake instead of the hose to remove leaves, grass clippings and debris from driveways and sidewalks. When washing your vehicle, rinse once, wash from a bucket of soapy water and rinse again quickly.
With the forecast calling for snow and cold temperatures, here are a few tips to help save you headaches and money.
Since you won’t need to water your grass, now is the time to winterize your sprinkler system. This will help prevent leaks in your sprinkler lines and equipment, and avoid costly repairs and wasted water in the spring. Water expands when it freezes, so if there still is water in your sprinkler system, you are at risk of getting broken lines and equipment. Also, make sure to disconnect and drain all garden hoses.
To keep pipes from freezing:
- Keep cabinet doors open leading to exposed pipes such as access doors for sinks, so that household air can warm them. The natural flow of warmer air will help combat many problems.
- If you have an attached garage, keep its doors shut. Occasionally, plumbing is routed through this unheated space, leaving it vulnerable to winter’s worst.
- Crack a faucet farthest from the place where your water enters the house. A very slow drip will keep water molecules moving, reducing the chance that pipes will freeze. Place a bucket underneath the faucet so the water can be saved for other household uses.
- Keep your thermostat set above 65 degrees when leaving your house or business for several days.
- Insulate pipes that may be vulnerable to the cold or have caused problems before. Pipes close to exterior walls or in unheated basements or crawlspaces can be wrapped with pieces of insulation. Don’t overlook pipes near windows, which can quickly freeze. For particularly difficult pipes, consult a professional on how to select and apply heat tape.
- Know the location of your water shut-off valve and test it regularly. If a pipe breaks, you won’t want to have to find it then or, worse, wait for someone to arrive at your place to find it for you. In most single-family homes, the shut-off valve is in the basement or the crawlspace, on a wall facing the street.