New dishwashers are very efficient at doing their job. Let them do the rinsing and washing. Save your time and water. But don't forget to check the filter regularly for larger debris (and the occasional spoon).
don't pre-wash dishes
we wash too much!
Reduce the amount of water you use by wearing clothes more than once. Some clothes are only worn for a few hours. Try hanging them up and wearing them another time. A side benefit is that the fabric of favorite clothes will last longer with less washing.
short showers, no baths
According to Aqua America, even a water saving shower head uses 1.5 to 4 gallons per minute. To save water, take shorter showers and not baths, which can use 40-50 gallons per bath.
give the water faucet a break!
Turn off the water when brushing teeth and shaving. According to Aqua America, 10-20 gallons of water can be used if the water runs while you perform these activities. Running water only when you need a quick rinse will dramatically reduce your water usage.
new energy star appliances mean efficiency
New Energy Star dishwashers and clothes washers use 30% less water than conventional appliances. Not only does this reduce your water bill, but you also save the energy needed to heat it.
run them full!
According to Aqua America, a conventional clothes washer uses 60 gallons of water per wash while a normal run of a dishwasher uses 15 gallons. Running full loads rather than more frequent partial loads will save you water.
check and fix water leaks
Make sure all your faucets and appliances that use water are turned off. Look at your water meter and take a reading. If after a half hour the reading has changed then you have a leak.
Leaking faucets are the most obvious. A steady dripping faucet can waste up to 4400 gallons of water per year. If you know plumbing then you know the fix. If not, get a person qualified to make the repair.
Toilets are big water wasters if they are leaking. Usually you can detect a slight noise of running water constantly or intermittently. Again, get a qualified individual to make the repair if you do not know how to tackle the job yourself.
get a low-flow shower head
Standard shower heads are rated at 2.5 gallons per minute (at 80 psi, a little higher than most houses’ water pressure). 1.5 gallon per minute models can provide a very nice shower (though quality varies, so check Consumer Reports or another reference). Over a ten-minute shower, that’s ten gallons saved. Given Aqua’s marginal charge for water and the cost of the gas to heat those ten gallons, that’s only about 12¢ in savings. But over 500 showers, that adds up to $60.
Reducing lawn size can decrease water use and the amount of air pollution generated from a gas powered mower. A typical mower used for one hour produces the same amount of pollution as a car driven 100 miles according to Swedish study in the June, 2001, Environmental Science and Technology of the American Chemical Society.
mulch your garden
A nice layer of mulch not only beautifies and accentuates your garden, it also protects the plants. In summer, mulch helps keep down weeds, and holds moisture to reduce watering needs. As it breaks down, nutrients are washed down by the rain into the soil, fertilizing your plants naturally.
A fresh layer of mulch before winter helps insulate near-surface roots, making plants more resilient during the cold weather. Finally, turning that old mulch back into the soil in spring, before applying the new year’s layer, loosens the soil and makes it better able to hold water.
Leaf mulch is ideal for the purpose. It’s easy to handle and has a finer texture than wood mulch. Also, wood mulch can contain artillery spore, which can deface walls and structures nearby. And leaf mulch is generally a local product: many municipalities offer residents their own recycled fall collections at an attractive price. In our own area, both Nether Providence and Swarthmore do this.