Author Topic: any tricks conserving water?  (Read 5792 times)

FuckRx

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any tricks conserving water?
« on: February 09, 2015, 02:28:20 PM »

So in my particular case I don't cook with any animal products and when I'm washing my pots/pans/dishes I feel like I'm wasting water. Is there a way to not waste as much or is there a way to reuse that water? are there filtration devices like that? In the shower I try to just take shorter showers. I don't shave and use a dry electric trimmer instead. Toilet in this apartment is already a low flush and not to be gross but I don't always flush after #1 but definitely after #2. I don't have a garden and don't have a lawn.

deborah

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2015, 02:40:47 PM »
In an apartment it's probably best not to re-use the dishwater. You don't want to cook with it, but you could use it in the toilet. After all, a flush is just a bucket of water being released a couple of feet above the toilet pan, and tipping a bucket into the toilet pan is exactly the same. Similarly with your shower water. My neighbour has a plastic tub in her shower that collects all the water from her shower. I think she puts it on the garden, rather than flushing the toilet with it.

ZiziPB

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2015, 02:44:55 PM »
Think about how you would wash your dishes if you didn't have running water.  Fill a dishpan or sink with a small amount of water add soap then dunk and scrub each item.  Stack them on the side.  Empty pan/sink, fill with clean water and dunk each item to rinse.  Done. 

I don't quite follow that method but I generally fill any sticky pots with water and get a bit of water on the remaining items, turn the water off, use a soapy scrubber to scrub each item in the batch and then turn the water back on to rinse the batch.  Repeat if you have many items to wash.

sol

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2015, 02:51:25 PM »
Depending on where you live, this is probably one of the lowest priority items on your Do No Waste list.

We have a vast and complex network of plumbing designed to deliver clean fresh water to your domicile, and take away your wastewater for processing and recycling.  That money has already been spent, and now it supplies you water at a cost of roughly one penny for five gallons. 

It might be as much as twice that price if you live somewhere expensive, or it could be one tenth as much if you live somewhere rural, but one penny per five gallons is a good average rate for municipal water supply in the US.  Your full bathtub costs you about 8 cents.  Flushing your toilet less often might save your three or four cents per day.  Letting the water run on your 3gpm faucet while you do ten minutes of dishes is going to cost you 6 cents.

You're better off going for a walk and picking up sidewalk change than trying to reduce your home water consumption, if finances are your only concern.  Even if you live somewhere with a genuine drought, rest assured that residential water use is a tiny fraction of total water consumption.  It's agriculture that uses most of our water, and pays the lowest rates for it, so if you care about conserving the resource for ecological reasons consider buying less cotton and beef.  That will save more water than anything you can do at home.

FuckRx

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2015, 02:57:36 PM »

I get ya, cost wise probably not a big savings (thanks for those numbers too, I never knew how cheap water is, sort of sad but good). I was thinking more along the lines of natural resource conservation. The bucket thing is not a bad idea. Gotta see how that would work for me. Cooking with less oil has been effective because oil is tougher for me to wash off. I don't use soap on things that don't have oil.

kaizen soze

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2015, 03:55:25 PM »
For what it's worth, it pays to know how much water costs you.  Where I live, water is much more expensive that what Sol is talking about, and we reduced our water bill (including the costs of sewage which are metered along with the water) by about $25/month.  That from a lower-than average per-person starting point.  So don't assume that water is essentially free.  And there's no reason to take more showers, or to take longer showers, than you need anyway.  Saves time if nothing else.

sol

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2015, 05:21:30 PM »
we reduced our water bill (including the costs of sewage which are metered along with the water) by about $25/month. 

That's a good point.  Some places rate your sewer bill based on you water consumption, which means your water bill and sewer bill tend to rise and fall together, effectively increasing the price of water.  Which can be a great deal for you if you're more efficient than average. 

Around here we pay a fixed rate for sewer and a usage-based fee for water (plus a fixed monthly "user fee" for the pipes) so the net result is that water conservation doesn't save us as much.

MayDay

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2015, 05:34:18 PM »
Wipe off dishes with a wet washcloth?

Whores bath? (Washcloth to the crotch)

If you have a dirty pot, fill it with water and wait to do dishes until you have a bunch. Then wash them all with the pot water.


be

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2015, 05:46:56 PM »
Military showers or think the 3 minute variety.  Now, I'm NOT saying you can only be in the shower for 3 minutes, I said you only USE 3 minutes of water.  So get in and get wet, turn shower off, soap up, turn water on to rinse off.  Shut off water while shampooing as well as conditioning hair.  Shower water on only to get wet initially and rinse off. 

Using a 3 minute egg timer (the hour glass variety) is helpful to keeping you honest and informed.  I know you're doing a short shower, but 3 minutes?

starbuck

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2015, 06:11:39 AM »
Cooking with less oil has been effective because oil is tougher for me to wash off. I don't use soap on things that don't have oil.

How about cooking with a cast iron pan instead? You're not supposed to use soap on it because it can ruin the seasoning that builds up. I've had one for years, cook with it just about every day, and haven't used water on it except for maybe a handful of times. A metal spatula takes care of anything that I want to get rid of. I know some people are more intent on scrubbing it with a brush and water, but my favorite aspect of cast iron is that I don't have to do ANYTHING to it. I just leave it on the stove top 100% of the time.

nawhite

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2015, 10:43:14 AM »
Depending on where you live, this is probably one of the lowest priority items on your Do No Waste list.

We have a vast and complex network of plumbing designed to deliver clean fresh water to your domicile, and take away your wastewater for processing and recycling.  That money has already been spent, and now it supplies you water at a cost of roughly one penny for five gallons. 

It might be as much as twice that price if you live somewhere expensive, or it could be one tenth as much if you live somewhere rural, but one penny per five gallons is a good average rate for municipal water supply in the US.  Your full bathtub costs you about 8 cents.  Flushing your toilet less often might save your three or four cents per day.  Letting the water run on your 3gpm faucet while you do ten minutes of dishes is going to cost you 6 cents.

You're better off going for a walk and picking up sidewalk change than trying to reduce your home water consumption, if finances are your only concern.  Even if you live somewhere with a genuine drought, rest assured that residential water use is a tiny fraction of total water consumption.  It's agriculture that uses most of our water, and pays the lowest rates for it, so if you care about conserving the resource for ecological reasons consider buying less cotton and beef.  That will save more water than anything you can do at home.

I agree with Sol, if you care about resource conservation and not price, you'd be better off eating less beef than trying to reclaim your dishwater (not that you can't do both :-) )

I live in Colorado and am a whitewater kayaker so I like to think I pay a lot of attention to water issues in the west. If you don't irrigate a lawn you are already better than most of the people living in urban areas and cities only use about 20% of the water in our state. The rest goes to agriculture and energy production. One burger takes about 500 gallons of water to produce. Its partially that bad because cows eat alfalfa which is a very water intensive crop and partially that bad because cows are very inefficient from a calories-in to calories-out perspective. It takes 12,000 calories of plants to make 1000 calories of beef but only about 9,000 calories of plants to make 1000 calories of pork and 6,000 calories of plants to make 1000 calories of chicken for instance.

Eating food that is in season will also lower your water impact as most out of season produce is made in California in areas that are deserts by definition but happen to have great soil and lots of sun.

Adding low-flow shower and faucet heads will help you use less though too.

TrMama

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2015, 04:18:54 PM »
I agree that you're splitting hairs by worrying about the cost of washing dishes, but if you want to learn how to do it with less water, go camping. Since I started camping with my kids I have learned to wash dishes with very little water. This is not because I want to save the planet, but because it's exhausting to haul water from the tap to the campsite and then heat some of it up so the dishes get clean.

Install a low flow showerhead. That's where most of your water is being used.

zoltani

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2015, 04:32:38 PM »
+1 to getting rid of any lawn irrigation, it is where most usage during peak times comes from.

Sunny

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2015, 06:06:22 AM »
Our local natural gas utility oddly enough offered a free water saving kit. We received a couple of low flow shower heads, and low flow aerators for sink faucets.  With three kids in the house, showers are a problem for water usage. Laundry takes a lot too I imagine. We also use rain barrels to capture roof runoff for the gardens.  For the last two summers, I didn't have to turn on the hose.

Stash Engineer

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2015, 06:57:00 AM »
If you want to reuse shower water in the toilets, you can pour it directly in the bowl to 'flush' it or you can put the water in the tank.  I expect that the toilet would flush better if you put the shower water in the tank, then flushed using the handle.  Just turn off the water supply to the toilet if you don't want the tank to refil automatically.

ioseftavi

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2015, 09:15:45 AM »
So in my particular case I don't cook with any animal products and when I'm washing my pots/pans/dishes I feel like I'm wasting water. Is there a way to not waste as much or is there a way to reuse that water?

Best thing we've discovered is using our faucet's "spray" setting 100% of the time when we're not filling up a glass or a pot.  Our faucet has a button on top, like this one

-Water comes out at higher pressure, doing a better job on dishes
-Water comes out over a larger area, doing a better job wetting things or rinsing things
-The volume of water coming out is much, much less

We typically will turn on the sprayer once to wet something down well.  Then have at it with a few drops of soap and a good scrubby brush, with the water off.  Then once more back under the sprayer to rinse all the soap and any loosened crud off.  Then, off to the drying rack.  Total water consumption is absolutely minimal - basically two 5-10 second bursts to wet down whatever I'm scrubbing.

EDIT:  I couldn't remember the name of this technique, so thanks to vhalros.  This is basically a 'navy shower' for your dishes.  No reason to submerge them under a stream of water for minutes on end or have a huge bathtub of water you dunk them in to attempt to clean them.

Beyond that, try getting in the habit of immediately rinsing things off that you cooked in - you won't need to soak them later, even though you will need to wash them with hot water and soap.  For stuff going in the dishwasher, if you're not going to run it soon, give it a quick scrape and rinse before it goes in so stuff won't crud on badly.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2015, 09:45:40 AM by ioseftavi »

KD

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2015, 09:21:42 AM »
Missionary bath - rubbing alcohol on a cotton ball to hit the underarms & groin area to kill off odor causing bacteria - may give you another day or two on a deeper cleaning.  Careful not to get it on the more delicate tissues.

Use a spray bottle to wet dishes down and then wipe w/soapy rag & dip rinse in a low level of water in the sink.


vhalros

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #17 on: February 11, 2015, 09:34:12 AM »
If you want to use less water in the shower, you could take Navy showers. Just turn the water on for 30 seconds to get wet. Turn it off, then lather up. Then turn it on again for a couple minutes to rinse of the lather. Uses much less water and gets you just as clean. Here is the wikipedia article on the topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Navy_shower

Lmoot

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2015, 06:29:52 PM »
^ That's what I do! Never new that it had a name. I just do it because it takes me a long time to wash (I use an exfoliating net and scrub really well), and I feel bad letting the water run for so long. Sometimes I bathe out of a bucket too (in the bathtub). Bathing out of a bucket is a good way to save on water heating also.

I fill up 2 huge water bottles at work right before leaving, which I drink while I'm at home, until I am at work again. Mostly because it's filtered water, and I can't stand the taste of the tap water around here.

My parents built a rainwater irrigation system (they took free lessons offered by the county, who also gave them 2 pre-drilled rain barrels for free to get them started). They cook, water the plants, and do cleaning with the rainwater.

Indio

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Re: any tricks conserving water?
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2015, 06:46:24 PM »
To conserve household water and make my kids aware of how much water they are using, I disconnected the drain to the bathroom sinks. Under the drain, I put a bucket. Every time they turn on the water to brush teeth or wash hands they can hear the water falling into the bucket. I use this greywater to flush the toilet. We don't flush after every pee to also conserve water. If you want to try this out, make sure you stick a rag and cover the part of the pipe connected to your sewer line so sewer gases don't back up into your house. Whenever friends comve over to the house, I have to remember to hook the drain back up. We had a kid over once and the 5 gal bucket flooded with one handwashing.