Inside: With no access to public water, a cistern, or a well, our family has an unusual perspective on how to save water in daily life.
Several years ago, and after much searching, we found a house that seemed perfect for our family. It was in a quiet area and had a barn (a must for me!). We loved it!
Before placing an offer on the home, we had an inspection done. We learned that the home wasn’t on a public water supply, but it had a cistern and a well. This didn’t concern us too much. In fact, I thought we’d be saving on our water bill because we could get it naturally and wouldn’t have to pay for it.
Two very expensive lessons later, we bought the home only to discover that the well didn’t hold enough to support our family. And the cistern could not be repaired, even after a number of tries. And so we quickly learned how to save water in daily life.
How to Save Water in Daily Life
Our Unusual Water Situation
We certainly aren’t the only people in our situation, but it is still pretty unusual. We have two large 1,000-gallon tanks that live in our basement. When the water approaches the bottom of the tanks, we call our “water guy”, who hauls us a dump truck load of water to refill them.
We can actually watch our water drain as we use it. That gives us a strong desire to save our water whenever we can. Well, that and the amount of money we have to pay our water guy to haul to us every couple of weeks or so. (The expense of keeping up with truck maintenance, gas, and more adds to the bill.)
Because our water guy charges by the truckload rather than the gallon, we have to empty our tanks nearly to the bottom before we can refill them. This gives us a strange mix of saving every drop of water we can for weeks at a time, only to be followed by a day where we have to use up all of the water in the house to make the most of our money.
So once I call the water guy and find out what time he will deliver, it’s a race to empty every drop of water from the tanks before he comes to refill them.
On water day, I’ll often run as many loads of laundry as I can (since that’s the main way we use up water). I’ll also clean the bathroom, do all of the dishes, run a few pitchers full of water, start a crock pot of beans, set up the coffee, run a couple of buckets of mop water, clean the dishwasher, and anything else I can think of.
None of these are things that waste the water. It’s just a matter of planning to do water involved things on this one day.
Water day is a busy day.
How to Save Water at Home
On any other day, we are careful with our water usage. We really want to squeeze out every drop that we can. Here are some ways that we have saved on our water bill over the years.
Water Saving Devices
One of the first switches we made was to our washing machine. The one that came with our house was a standard older model. It used 40 gallons of water per load of laundry.
Our family of 7 was only a family of 5 at the time, but we still went through quite a bit of laundry. By buying a high efficient front loader, we were able to save 25 gallons of water per load. The washer paid for itself quickly by gaining us more days between loads of water.
Later we added a dishwasher to our home, but it, too, is water and energy efficient.
Showers and Baths
We try to take short showers and lower the water level in our baths. In the winter time, our kids need fewer baths. In the summer, they require more. But we try to keep an eye on the length of time each child spends in the tub.
Sometimes we even set a timer to make sure we don’t get distracted and forget.
When we first moved in, I would use a bucket to catch the water we wasted waiting for the shower to warm up. Then I would use the bucket throughout the day to refill the toilet as we used it.
That became tedious, and I was concerned that pouring water in was messing up the inner workings of the toilet. So I gave up that practice.
Since I take my showers in the evening, I start the dishwasher first. That pulls the hot water upstairs and makes my shower water hot right away. Which means less water wasted down the drain while I wait for it to warm up.
We are not mellow yellow and brown down kind of people. That’s a frugal line I haven’t crossed.
You don’t necessarily have to go through the expense of buying a water efficient toilet. We just bought a special flapper for the inside of the toilet that saves on water. Ours is similar to this model which sells for less than $10. Well worth the water savings you’ll gain over time.
Our goats and other critters are watered from our well. We also use well water to water any plants or flowers we have growing. If we didn’t have a well, I’d set up buckets to catch rain water from our gutters.
Other Small Ways to Save On Your Water Bill
We don’t leave the water running while we brush our teeth.
We use public water whenever we have the opportunity. (Filling a water bottle or one last trip to the restroom before leaving.)
We are well aware of leaky faucets or toilets because our tanks empty more quickly. We try to take care of these problems immediately.
And that’s how to save water in daily life.
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How do you save on your water bill? If I missed a way, you know I want to hear it!