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Top Water Conservation Tips for Homeowners in Florida

As a Florida homeowner, you’re no stranger to the importance of water conservation. With our state’s unique climate and growing population, smart water usage isn’t just good for the environment, it’s essential for sustainable living.

Additionally, when it comes to your wallet, water conservation methods can save you money on your utility bills.

How Much Water Do You Use?

Water Footprint

Your “water footprint” is the combination of all the water used to maintain your daily life. That includes direct uses like washing dishes, doing laundry, bathing, or even watering the yard. It also includes indirect uses, which are harder to quantify because they’re not directly observable; things like water used in growing the food you eat or for harvesting cotton for the clothes you wear.

According to the Office of Sustainability at the University of Florida, the average person in the US has a “water footprint” of roughly 1,8000 gallons per day!

Direct Water Use

Direct water use – those uses that mainly occur in and around the home – is estimated by the US Environmental Protection Agency to be 300 gallons per day for the average US household. Direct usage is likely higher for most homeowners in Florida who use water regularly to water yards and fill swimming pools.

Water Conservation Tips

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While the average homeowners can have some impact on their indirect uses of water by making informed choices, the greatest opportunity for reducing water use is in the direct uses.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the direct uses for most residential water:

• Outdoor use (lawn care, pools): 50-70%

• Bathrooms: 20-30%

• Kitchen and laundry: 10-20%

• Other: 5-10%

Knowing where your water is going is the first step in developing effective conservation strategies. Here are some targeted approaches to reduce water usage in these key areas.

Outdoor Water Conservation

Embracing Florida-Friendly Landscaping

Your lawn might be the biggest water consumer on your property. If you want to conserve water, you may want to rethink your traditional grass-heavy yard and consider water-wise alternatives instead.

  • Native plants are adapted to Florida’s climate and require less watering.
  • Xeriscaping is a landscaping method that minimizes water use through smart plant choices and design.
  • Mulch retains moisture and reduces evaporation around plants.

Pro tip: Group plants with similar water needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.

Smarter Watering Practices

In many parts of the Sunshine State, even Florida-friendly plantings may need occasional hydration. When you do need to water, make every drop count:

• Water early morning or late evening to reduce evaporation.

• Use drip irrigation or soaker hoses for targeted watering.

• Install a smart irrigation controller that adjusts based on weather conditions.

• Collect rainwater with rain barrels for use during dry spells.

Pool Maintenance 101

Pools are a Florida staple, but they can be water wasters if not properly maintained. Here’s how to keep yours in check:

• Use a pool cover to reduce evaporation.

• Check for and repair leaks regularly.

Avoid overfilling – lower water levels mean less splashing and water loss.

Indoor Water Savings

A woman conserves water by washing dishes in a sink.

Bathroom Water Usage

Bathrooms are one of the most water-intensive areas in the home, typically accounting for 20-30% of direct water use.

  • An average shower can use anywhere from 2 to 5 gallons of water per minute, meaning a 10-minute shower could consume up to 50 gallons.
  • Toilets are another major contributor, with older models using up to 7 gallons per flush, though newer, water-efficient models use around 1.6 gallons per flush.
  • Faucets, especially if left running while brushing teeth or shaving, can use about 2 gallons of water per minute.

Identifying these water-guzzling activities is crucial for implementing effective conservation strategies in your bathroom.

  • Installing low-flow fixtures like showerheads and faucet aerators can significantly reduce water usage without sacrificing performance.
  • Upgrading to dual-flush toilets or placing a water displacement device in older models can also make a big difference.
  • Fix leaks promptly. A leaky faucet can waste gallons of water per day.
  • Simple water-saving habits like turning off the tap while brushing teeth or shaving can lead to substantial savings over time.

Kitchens

Kitchens are another significant area where water usage can add up quickly. From cooking to cleaning, this central hub of the home sees plenty of daily activity that can impact your water footprint.

Efficient Dishwashing

One of the main sources of water use in the kitchen is dishwashing. Whether you wash by hand or use a dishwasher, there are ways to cut down on water waste:

  • Use a dishwasher. Surprisingly, a modern dishwasher uses less water than hand washing, particularly if it’s Energy Star-rated. Make sure it’s fully loaded before running a cycle.
  • For those who prefer hand washing, fill the sink with water rather than letting the tap run continuously.
  • Scrape, don’t rinse. Scrape food from dishes instead of rinsing under running water before loading them into the dishwasher.

Cooking and Food Prep

Preparing meals can also require a considerable amount of water, whether it’s for boiling, washing, or other processes:

  • When boiling vegetables, use the minimum amount of water necessary and cover the pot to prevent excessive evaporation.
  • Reuse water. Water used for boiling vegetables can be cooled and used to water plants.
  • Wash fruits and vegetables in a bowl instead of under running water; you can use the leftover water for your garden.

Plumbing Upgrades and Habits

Plumbing Upgrades to Reduce Water Usage in Florida

Simple adjustments and upgrades can contribute to significant water conservation:

  • Install a water-efficient kitchen faucet with an aerator to reduce flow while maintaining pressure.
  • Check for leaks. A leaking tap can waste gallons of water over time. Repair any drips promptly.
  • Consider fitting a footswitch to your sink’s water supply, allowing you to control the flow with a quick foot tap while leaving both hands free.

Laundry

Laundry may not be the most significant contributor to water usage in your home, but it still accounts for a fair share of direct water use. Here are some tips for reducing your laundry room’s water footprint:

  • Only wash full loads, since running partial loads wastes both water and energy.
  • Consider purchasing a new, high-efficiency washer; these models use significantly less water than traditional washers.
  • If you have an older model, adjust the load size setting to match your actual load size.

Pro tip: Reuse greywater from your washing machine for outdoor irrigation or flushing toilets.

Advanced Water Conservation Strategies

For homeowners who are serious about conserving water, here are a few additional ideas.

Greywater systems recycle water from sinks, showers, and washing machines for use in irrigation. While they require an initial investment, they can dramatically reduce outdoor water use.

Go beyond simple rain barrels with a comprehensive rainwater harvesting system. These can collect thousands of gallons during Florida’s rainy season for use throughout the year.

New technology allows you to track your water usage in real time, detect leaks, and even shut off your water supply remotely in case of emergencies.

Is It Worth The Effort?

Conserving water offers benefits both to your wallet and to the environment.

Financial impacts can include:

  • Reduced water costs
  • Lower energy bills from reduced hot water usage
  • Increased home value with water-efficient upgrades
  • Potential rebates and incentives from local water authorities

When it comes to the environmental impact on the climate, conserving water is more than a worthwhile endeavor; it may be critical – especially in parts of Florida.  By reducing your water usage, you can help reduce the strain on local resources and ecosystems.

As Florida continues to grow and face climate challenges, water conservation will only become more critical. By taking action now, you’re not just saving money – you’re contributing to the long-term sustainability of our beautiful state.

Your Florida Plumbing Partner

For water-saving fixture installations, leak repairs, or any other plumbing services that can help reduce your water usage, contact the Lakeland plumber you can trust – Stronghold Plumbing & Septic. As a licensed and insured plumbing company, we are the best choice when you need assistance in implementing water conservation strategies in your home.

Contact us today and ask about our free plumbing estimates.

FAQs – Water Conservation at Home

How much water can I save by fixing a leaky faucet?

A faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year. Fixing leaks promptly can lead to significant water savings.

Are low-flow fixtures really effective?

Yes, modern low-flow fixtures can reduce water usage by 30% or more without compromising performance. They’re an excellent investment for water conservation.

Can I install a greywater system myself?

While it’s possible to install some simple greywater systems yourself, it’s generally recommended to consult with a professional plumber or water conservation specialist for more complex systems to ensure proper installation and compliance with local regulations.

How often should I water my lawn?

The frequency of lawn watering depends on factors like grass type, soil conditions, and weather. Generally, watering deeply but less frequently encourages deeper root growth and more drought-resistant lawns.

What’s the most water-efficient way to wash a car?

Use a commercial car wash that recycles water, or if washing at home, use a bucket and sponge instead of a running hose. A hose can use up to 100 gallons of water, while a bucket method typically uses 10 gallons or less.

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