The Natural House

Tips for Greener Living, fifth in a series of articles by Charles Munro

Last month I wrote an article which listed several tips for how you can have a "greener" lifestyle by simply using different types of ingredients for cleaning, fertilizer and pest control. I will continue this month with more of the same.

We can live for weeks without shelter, companionship, and even food. But, we can only live a few short days without water. While we have recently received a "little" rain, I think it's important to remind ourselves of the importance of water usage.

One way to conserve resources is to make little changes to our daily routines. But another easy way is to use Future Friendly products, designed to save water, save energy, or reduce waste.

A leaky toilet can go unnoticed for a long time. To check for leaks, add enough food dye to the tank to really brighten the water. Wait about thirty minutes and see if any dye has leaked into the bowl.

An estimated 30% of household water usage is flushed down the toilet. If your toilet is more than 30 years old, upgrading to a low-consumption toilet can save you a lot of wasted water per flush. If money is tight or replacement of the toilet is not an option, you could fill a two-liter bottle with water and set it inside the tank. The bottle fits perfectly and will take up room in your tank thereby, replacing the space ordinarily filled with water.

Use barrels to catch water from the sky! Setting rain barrels under the eaves of your house is an inexpensive way to collect rainwater without spending a lot of money on an elaborate rainwater harvesting system. Save the water you collect and use it the next time you need to water your lawn or garden.

Cover up your swimming pool when it's not in use. This will decrease water loss due to evaporation by 90%.

You will also use a lot less water if you only run your laundry or dishwasher with a full load. By running two half loads you use twice the amount of water as one full loan.

Turn the water off while shaving and brushing your teeth. Turn it on only to rinse. Running water when it's not in use is wasteful of water and your utility bill!

Use water that you boiled your vegetables in to make stocks, soups or pour it on your garden when it's cooled.

If you're running a lot of water in the shower or bath tub waiting for the water to warm up, put a large bucket under the faucet and catch it for use in the garden, on pets or for cleaning purposes.

Conduct a household water audit to help identify areas that you can cut water usage.  It's our most precious commodity - let's be responsible with it.