How to Save Water in Existing Properties

Evelyn Long

Sep 23, 2022


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Living a greener life also means saving yourself money where it counts: your water and power bills. Even though many people cite it as a common way to become eco-friendly, others still don’t know how to save water in ways that require as little change as possible.

Using too much water means negatively affecting your local aquatic ecosystems. By implementing just a few changes into your lifestyle, and with any luck, the lifestyles of your renters, you can cut back on spending as well as aid the environment.

How to Save Water in Your Home

The United States is one of the world’s largest consumers of water per year. You might need water for daily activities, but the gallons lost each day due to poor conservation habits can seem distressing. Fortunately, you can implement a few changes to your daily habits to adjust some of the ways your household uses water.

1. Brush Your Teeth Without the Faucet

Think about it: you don’t need to have the water running while brushing your teeth. Sure, you can use it before you begin brushing and after you finish, but the two minutes during the brushing process aren’t necessary. If you want some sort of noise while brushing, you can turn on a podcast or put on some music.

By turning off your faucet while brushing your teeth, assuming you brush twice a day, you can save up to 10.9 gallons of water per day.

2. Take Showers Instead of Baths

Baths can be a pleasant self-care treat every once in a while, but you don’t need to take baths every day if you’re capable of using a shower instead. Sitting in the bathtub means you’re sitting in gallons of water that will be cold and wasted in just 30 minutes, give or take.

Instead of opting for baths every day, find a new way to relax after a long day and opt for a quick shower. You’ll find more time to be productive in the minutes you saved from taking a shower.

3. Change Your Washing Habits

Is your household one that runs the washing machine whenever it has something in it, or do you wait until you’ve almost filled it to begin a wash cycle? You should opt for the latter — bigger loads mean you’re using less water to accomplish the same task. If at all possible, wait until your dirty clothes have piled up and you need to wash clothes rather than washing them every day out of convenience.

Similarly, you can choose to wash your clothes on a speedier cycle. Many washing machines soak clothes by default, and unless your clothes need that part of the cycle, you can opt for a speed wash to eliminate consuming extraneous water.

4. Use Leftover Water Efficiently

Greywater — water left over from an appliance’s processes — can have huge benefits. You can use the leftover water to take care of your plants. The water won’t hurt them, and it’s better than refilling a watering can repeatedly to cover all the plants in your home.

5. Run Appliances Concurrently

Running your dishwasher and washing machine at the same time, while it might be loud, provides you with multiple benefits. Since they both require plenty of water to heat up, you should run them together if you plan to use the heat cycle. It takes less energy to keep water hot than to heat it multiple times throughout the day.

6. Keep Showers Cool

If you’re wondering how to save water and are struggling with the other options, going for a cold shower might benefit you. While hot showers can be an excellent way to relax, cooler showers also provide their own benefits. If you find it challenging to feel motivated in the morning, a jolt of cold water might be exactly what you need.

A cooler shower could be perfect after a workout first thing in the morning — or just because you want to change it up. Cold showers can give you a splash of energy and improve your circulation, both of which make for a perfect start to your day. Plus, the less time you spend in the shower because of the temperature, the more water you save.

7. Don’t Rinse Your Dishes

Many modern dishwashers have a function that enables them to eliminate any food waste that lingers on your dishware. If your dishwasher doesn’t have a similar feature, it may be outdated and costing you more energy than you realize. It’s best to update your appliances to a model that can fit your needs and utilize features that make life easier and more eco-friendly for your household.

How to Save Water in Your Rental Properties

While it may be more challenging to control the habits of your renters, it’s entirely possible to convince them to join you on your journey to a greener lifestyle. In turn, it will give them peace of mind and save you money. The easiest way to go completely green is to talk to your renters about making some easy changes for themselves and the environment.

1. Give Energy-Efficient Welcome Gifts

Whenever a new renter moves into one of your properties, you should surprise them with a gift box full of energy-efficient goodies. Spare lightbulbs — the kind that uses less energy and emits less heat — and reusable, stainless steel water bottles would be a great addition to any new home. Offering a thoughtful gift will also make your renters feel more welcome, and they’d likely be more receptive to any green changes you’d want to make in the future, too.

2. Shut It Off in Vacant Units

If nobody lives there, why do you need to have the power and water turned on? If you’re not renting out a property for whatever reason, whether it’s to do repairs or just to scale back, consider turning off the water and power, so the option to use them isn’t sitting there. You can quickly turn them both back on when you put the rental property back up on the market and find someone who wants to move in.

3. Replace Water Heaters

Take inventory of the water heaters on your rental properties. If any of them seem exceptionally old or outdated, it may be cheaper to replace them altogether. With up-to-date water heaters, your renters won’t have to wait as long for the shower water to heat up, thereby saving gallons. A new water heater runs more efficiently and can benefit both you and your tenants.

4. Lower the Maximum Heat Temperature

Most households only need water to go up to 120°F. By lowering your maximum from 140°F to 120°F, you can save around 22% in energy annually. Reducing the maximum temperature for heating water can also protect your renters from accidentally scalding themselves on hot water.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone because you’re protecting your tenants while also protecting your wallet from unnecessary spending.

5. Replace Old Showerheads

If the showerheads in your properties are older, your water pressure might be inadequate. Choose a showerhead with higher pressure so your tenants will have an easier time showering and won’t have to spend as long in the shower.

Older showerheads can waste around 5 gallons per minute, whereas newer ones only lose about 2 gallons per minute. Though it might be costly upfront, you’ll be doing yourself and the environment a favor in the long run.

6. Take Care of Leaks

Instruct your renters to keep an eye out for leaks and let you know as soon as they spot one. Even if you do routine inspections, a leak might slip past your eye — but it can’t avoid someone who lives there. Leaks lose almost 1 trillion gallons of water nationwide per year.

It’s better to deal with leaks as soon as you notice them than let them get worse and have to deal with the aftermath. You’ll still eventually have to deal with the leak, but then you’ll have the water damage to worry about, too.

7. Provide Incentives

If changing their habits for the environment doesn’t seem to thrill your renters, you can treat fostering eco-friendly practices as a competition. While this incentive works exceptionally well if you have more than one rental property, you can still amend it to your liking if you only have one. Provide an incentive for your tenants to go green — such as the lowest amount of water wasted gets some sort of prize the following month, like a rebate off their rent or a physical prize of some sort.

While it may not motivate some renters, plenty will be glad to change their habits a bit in exchange for the chance at a reward.

Saving Water Saves Money

While any changes you make might not be apparent by the time your next water bill rolls through, eventually, they’ll make a change. You can make a dent in your current water bill by changing your habits and setting an example for your renters to follow.

Sitting your tenants down and talking to them about making a change might be all it takes to place them on a greener path, but you can also enlist the help of creative solutions that might make going eco-friendly fun for everyone.

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