(BPT) - There are a number of ways to save water and they all start with you. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average American uses about 50 gallons of water per day at home. That means a family of four uses approximately 6,000 gallons a month. The following tips can help you save water, money and the environment.
1. How to be green and clean your driving machine
Keeping your car clean with regular washing is an important part of responsible maintenance, but washing at home with a garden hose can use more than 60 gallons in as little as five minutes. Furthermore, you're putting harmful chemicals and detergents down drains and directly into your city's water supply.
You may be surprised to learn there is a greener way to keep your car sparkling: a professional car wash. A common misconception is that professional car washes waste water, when in fact the opposite is true. WaterSavers professional car washes, for example, use an average of no more than 40 gallons of fresh water per vehicle - less than the average home washing machine, which uses 41 gallons per load, according to the EPA. According to the International Carwash Association(R), professional car washes also responsibly dispose of - and in many cases recycle and re-use - the water runoff. For more information, visit WashWithWaterSavers.com.
2. Go green and keep your whites white
It's easy to take steps to conserve H2O and keep your wardrobe fresh. First, only run the clothes washer when you have a full load. Make this habit for both your clothes washer and dishwasher, and you could save up to 1,000 gallons of water a month, according to Wateruseitwisely.com.
You get extra green points if you use cold water when washing your clothes. Approximately 86 percent of the energy used by washing machines is for heating the water. Washing with cold water eliminates 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year from just one household, according to the Sierra Club.
3. Break bad bathroom habits
Bathrooms are water hogs, accounting for about 75 percent of a home's water usage. Adopting a green mindset in the bathroom can save major water and money. Start by switching to a low-flow showerhead, which National Geographic says saves 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower. Keep the occasional bath for a special treat because the average tub takes about 70 gallons to fill, so showers are much more efficient.
Toilets are another major water-waster. The current federal standard is 1.6 gallons of water per flush, so if you have an older toilet, it's time to upgrade. By replacing old toilets with WaterSense-labeled models, the average family reduces water used for toilets by 20 to 60 percent, or about 13,000 gallons of water and $110 in water costs per year.
4. Water down the drain
When washing dishes by hand, don't let the water run while rinsing. Fill one sink with wash water and the other with rinse water. And for cold drinks, keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
When watering your lawn or garden, it's best to do so in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation. Also be sure to adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street. Be sure to monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
These simple tips can help you green your household in just minutes. Not only are you helping Mother Earth, you'll be saving money too.