Time to get serious about reducing your water usage. The same tips are recommended time and time again, and you’ve already done all the usual things like turning off the water when you brush your teeth or switching to a low-flow shower head. So what other unusual or creative ways can you save money on your water bill? Do you need a water bubbler in your home, or maybe try saving more water to reduce waste?
Collect Shower Water
A lot of water goes down the drain with every shower, no matter how quickly you get the job done. Why not save some for other uses? Keeping a jug or pan in the shower with you, and let it fill up as you shower. Now you have water that can be used to water the plants or just about anything else. If you use a clean container and take care not to get shampoo or soap in it, you could even use it for cooking.
Most people are familiar with using a few rain barrels in the yard to harvest rainwater for gardening, but you know you can use that water for a few indoor uses as well to cut your consumption. Unless you want to get very diligent about straining, filtering and boiling, rainwater isn’t recommended for drinking though. It does work excellently for flushing the toilet though.
With a little plumbing know-how, you can also rig up your washing machine to draw water from a rain barrel instead of the indoor water supply. As long as it’s been filtered for debris, it is a great choice for clean clothes.
Salvage Grey Water
Water that drains out of your dishwasher and washing machine at the end of it’s cycle is referred to as “grey water”, as it is not clean but not as dirty as waste water that comes from a toilet flush. If you are using natural soaps or detergents in your machines, then the water can be used to water plants (particularly outdoor plants that also still get regular rain water), or to flush the toilets.
To reclaim your grey water, you will need to do a little plumbing work to adjust how the drains on your machines empty out. Either save to a cistern, or just drain into the yard. You may never have to water your lawn again.
You may have noticed that most of these tips lead to the toilet. The main reason for that is salvaged water isn’t usually clean enough for drinking, and this is the best way to use it. And since an average toilet flush uses between 3 and 5 gallons with every use, that will add up to a lot of savings if you can avoid using fresh water for that.
To use jugs of salvaged water for the toilet, you don’t need to do any plumbing changes or anything. Instead of flushing after use, you just pour your jug of water directly into the bowl. Gravity will do the rest.