What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ten Water Conservation Tips

We are surrounded by many beautiful lakes, rivers and supporting waterways in beautiful Ontario, Canada.  Yet freshwater is getting scarcer.  Our last two homes were semi-rural and rural on waterfront properties.  A lot of our summer activities involve water what with swimming and boating.  Water conservation has always a concern for us.  Our water and wastewater (sewage) charges come on the same bill as our hydro.  The breakdown for water usage is: water service charge, water usage, wastewater service charge and wastewater charge.  The cost of wastewater (sewage) is determined by the amount of water used.  Now our water costs us 95¢ per cubic metre with an additional 81¢ per cubic metre for wastewater pluse to two service charges ($14.50. $18 respectively).  So even if we use no water we would still have to pay our provider a minimum of $32.50. 

  1. cooking -  We seldom boil vegetables.  Steaming vegetables uses a lot less water than boiling them and results in more nutritious vegetables. 
  2. water off - When hand washing dishes, fill the second sink about half full with hot clear water to rinse dishes.  Don't let the water run when brushing teeth. 
  3. showers -  We have energy efficient flow restrictors on the showers which means we get nice pressure for showering with less water being used.
  4. conservative pool usage - Pools can waste a lot of water and they are costly between water usage, hydro and chemical but at the same time, a pool provides low cost entertainment.  We use Heatsavr™ (a liquid solar blanket) in the pool to reduce evapouration and help keep the water temperature.  A solar blanket can be just as effective.  We only backwash when absolutely necessary.  We watch the radar so as to not add water if rain is imminent.  
  5. toilets - The recommendation is to add a brick in the tank of older toilets.  We have low flush models in both bathrooms.  We also have a kit (not installed yet) to further reduce the amount of water per flush.
  6. dishwasher - The dishwasher is an energy efficient model that is only run when completely full.  Never run a partial load in the dishwasher as that wastes both hydro and water.
  7. washer - Our washer is an HE large capacity model, something I highly recommend if you are replacing yours.  It is run only at full capacity and always on cold unless running a white load.
  8. gardens - We have gardens around the perimeter of the yard, the perimeter of the house and three raised vegetable beds as well as many container plants.  I conserve water in the garden by using a rain barrel and self-watering planters rather than use municipal water.  We don't have a sprinkler system and we don't water our lawn.  
  9. vehicles - We live in beautiful Ontario, Canada where salt is used as a de-icer on roads during the winter months.  Salt causes vehicles to rust prematurely costing money in repairs and replacement vehicles.  Our local car washes use recycled water so we use those in the winter.  In the nicer weather we power wash the vehicles once a month in the driveway.  A powerwasher is more effective at removing dirt and grim from the vehicles using a lot less water.  
  10. floors - We have hard flooring throughout the entire house, no carpeting at all.  The mop and bucket method for cleaning floors wastes a lot of water.  I use a steam mop which uses about 2 c of water per refill.  It does a nicer job of cleaning the floors without chemicals while conserving water.

Garden Gnome