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Videos and Ideas


Watch Some Great "Quick Conservation" Videos Online!

The City of Santa Barbara has put together several very helpful videos that demonstrate effective "do-it-yourself" conservation tips on film!

Water Meter & Main Valve Issues:

    How to Locate Your Water Meter
    Checking Your Water Meter for Conservation
    Using Your Main Water Valve for Conservation   

Toilet Issues:

    Checking Your Bathroom for Efficiency
    Check Your Toilet for Leaks
    How to Locate a Toilet Leak
    Adjust the Flow of Your Toilet

Kitchen & Appliance Issues:

     Checking Your Kitchen for Efficiency
     Hot Water Heater Conservation Tips
     Washers and Other Appliances for Conservation

Outdoor Irrigation System Issues:

    Stopping Leaks in Outdoor Water Systems
    Adjusting Sprinklers for Conservation
    Using an Irrigation Controller for Conservation
    Creating a Watering Schedule
    New Efficient Irrigation Technologies

EPA Water Sense: Fixing Leaks Around the Home. English and Spanish

Home Water Efficiency Ideas  

Santa Barbara County, like so many semi-arid areas, has a water supply that sometimes falls short of demand. Learning to live within our water supply, and using only what we need, is essential. In Santa Barbara County, the average amount of water used per person, per day is 148 gallons. With a population close to 400,000 residents, that adds up to a lot of water! 

There are numerous, simple ways that you can help conserve water both at home and at work. Click on the links below to learn more, and visit H2ouse.org or AWE's Water Calculator, view the colorful Save Water Inside or contact your local water provider

waterdrop_bulletBathroom
waterdrop_bulletKitchen
waterdrop_bulletLaundry
waterdrop_bulletOutdoors 

 

waterdrop_bulletBathroom
About 45% of a household's total water consumption takes place in the bathroom: 27% of indoor per capita water use is attributed to the toilet, 2% is used by the bath and 17% is used by the shower. Hardware retrofits are the best way to realize long-term savings. By changing some hardware, you can save hundreds of gallons each month in the bathroom alone. Here are some key conservation tips for reducing water use in your bathroom:

Install a low flow showerhead

  • The shower accounts for approximately 20% of indoor water use, and 30% to 40% of hot water use. Older showerheads put out water at a rate of 4.5 to 8 gallons per minute (gpm).
  • Check out H2ouse.org for tips on tips on where and what to purchase.
  • Low-flow models operate at a range of 1.5 to 2.5 gpm. Low-flow showerheads are available in a wide range of flow characteristics, so it should be possible to find a model that suits you.
  • Use a wrench or pliers to unscrew the old showerhead. You may wrap a layer of Teflon tape around the threads. Then screw on the new showerhead. Use the shut-off valve behind the head to shut off the water while soaping up without losing the water temperature when the water is turned on again.

Reduce the amount of time you spend in the shower.  

  • Set a timer, and keep the shower hot for every family member. Shortening your shower by five minutes can save 20 to 40 gallons of water per shower. Installing a low flow showerhead rated at less than 2.5 gpm with a shut-off valve can save you even more.
  • In the shower, a lot of water can be wasted while soaping up. Wet down, turn off the water, soap up and the turn the water on for rinsing.

Install a Faucet Aerator

  • Water conserving faucet aerators are available in sizes ranging from approximately 0.5 gallons per minute (gpm) to 2 gpm. Low-flow aerators mix air with the water to make an effective spray pattern. Older lavatory faucets typically operate at 7 gpm, and most new models operate at 3.5 gpm. So by installing a low-flow aerator you can save a lot of water. Aerators are also available that can be turned on and off with the flick of a finger. Those types of aerators are great for lavatory basins because they are easy to use and they save water during teeth brushing, shaving, etc.
  • Check out H2ouse.org: Water Saver Tour to advice on where and what to buy.
  • To change your aerator, unscrew the old aerator or screen with a pair of pliers and thread on the new one. Tighten just enough to prevent leaks from the threaded connection.
  • Some old style faucets will not accept an aerator. You can reduce the flow at these faucets by turning down the angle stop that is located under the basin. However, the spray pattern will not be as nice as with an aerator. Those old style basin faucets should be replaced since they use the most water.

Check Your Toilet for Leaks

  • A well-maintained toilet can mean big water savings. Usually, a 100-gallon a day toilet leak is not very noticeable. Put a few drops of food coloring or toilet tablets in the tank and wait for 15 minutes. If the water in the bowl changes color, then you have a leak. A bad leak can send thousands of gallons silently down the drain. Silently, that is, until you receive your water bill.
  • DO NOT use a brick in your toilet tank - it may disintegrate and cause problems in your lines. Instead, consider installing a low-flow toilet that uses 1.6 gallons per flush.
  • Not sure how much water your toilet uses? Click here to find out!
  • For at-home, easy repairs and troubleshooting, visit H2ouse.org:Water Saver Tour.
  • Get a water check-up from your local water provider, which will include checking your toilets for leaks.

Install a High Efficiency Toilet

  • If you have an older style toilet, you could be using up to 40% of your indoor water use in toilet flushing. Older model toilets will use between 3.5 and 7 gallons per flush. High efficiency toilets are proven technology and only use 1.6 gallons or less per flush.
  • Over 50,000 high efficiency toilets are in service in Santa Barbara and Goleta. Most models work very well, with no special problems. Go to H2ouse.org: Water Saver Tour for information on different models that work for you.
  • A high quality high efficiency toilet can be purchased for approximately $100 - $150.

Keep Trash Out of the Toilet

  • Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bit of trash down the toilet, you waste 1.6 to 7 gallons of water and put additional strain on your septic system or local wastewater treatment plant. Use the wastebasket for disposing of trash.

Turn off the Water While Brushing Your Teeth

  • When brushing your teeth, only turn the water on to wet the brush. Make sure to turn it off when brushing. Fill a glass to rinse your mouth and wash the brush. This can mean the difference between using a pint of water and wasting several gallons.

Reuse Bath Water

  • Try washing both of your youngsters in the same tub of water if they are not too dirty. This saves water and can be fun for the kids. Re-use bath water for plants and for heavy cleaning jobs.

Rinse Your Razor in the Sink

  • Before shaving, partially fill the sink with warm water. This will rinse the blade just as well and use less water.

 

waterdrop_bulletKitchen
The kitchen is an excellent place for conservation. Diswhashers account for about 2% of residential, indoor water use, while faucets account for another 16%. Be especially conscious of running water and develop the habit of shutting off the tap whenever possible.

Install a Faucet Aerator

  • Water conserving faucet aerators are available in sizes ranging from approximately 0.5 gallons per minute (gpm) to 2 gpm. Low-flow aerators mix air with the water to make an effective spray pattern. Older kitchen faucets typically operate at 7 gpm, and most new models operate at 3.5 gpm. So by installing a low-flow aerator you can save a lot of water.
  • Check out H2ouse.or: Water Saver Tour for advice on where and what to buy.
  • To change your aerator, unscrew the old aerator or screen with a pair of pliers and thread on the new one. Tighten just enough to prevent leaks from the threaded connection.
  • Some old style faucets will not accept an aerator. You can reduce the flow at these faucets by turning down the angle stop that is located under the basin. However, the spray pattern will not be as nice as with an aerator. Those old style basin faucets should be replaced since they use the most water.

Be Water Wise When Washing Dishes

  • Before scrubbing your pots and pans, soak them first. Instead of running water continuously, fill wash and rinse basins with water. Use a minimum amount of detergent. Add vinegar (1/4 to 1/2 cup) to dishwater to prevent grease from clinging to dishes, pots and pans.
  • Presoak grills, oven parts, etc., overnight. Wash with an abrasive scrub brush or pad and use plenty of elbow grease to minimize water use.

Run Full Loads of Dishes

  • When using the dishwasher, make sure it is fully-loaded. It also helps to use a water saving model. Some dishwashers use up to 25 gallons of water a cycle while newer models may use only 10 gallons. If you are buying a new dishwasher, shop around to find the machines that use less water per cycle and are more efficient.
  • Many automatic dishwashers do not require rinsing dishes before loading the machine, but if yours does, pond water in the sink and soak them.

Install a Hot Water On-demand System

  • Installing a hot water on-demand system if the kitchen and bathroom are far from the water heater can save water. If you choose to install such a system, select a system that is energy neutral. An on-demand system that requires a constantly running recirculating pump may save a little water, but it will waste a lot of energy.
  • Visit H2ouse.org: Water Saver Tour for more information on these systems.

Reduce Evaporation When Cooking

  • Boiling requires very little water if you use a tight fitting lid to conserve moisture.
  • By steaming you can save all the vitamins and minerals, too. But if you do boil vegetables, save the water for soups and sauces... they will be tastier and more nutritious.

Save Tap Water by Planning Ahead

  • Remove ice cubes from the freezer a few minutes before you need the ice. The cubes will loosen at room temperature and will save several quarts of water if they are not run under the tap.
  • Don't quick-thaw meats under the faucet either. Take frozen foods out of the freezer in time to thaw naturally.
  • Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. This ends the wasteful practice of running tap water to cool it off for drinking.

Use the Garbage Disposal Less  

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps are ideal for compost, or alternatively, throw it out. If you feel it's necessary to use the garbage disposal, save all the peelings until the end of cleanup time, and use the dishwasher drain water to help flush them down the drain.

Properly Schedule Self-regenerating Water Softeners  

  • Self-regenerating water softeners typically use from 35 to 140 gallons of water per cycle. There are many units on the market that feature water-saving technology. However, systems that use over 100 gallons of water per cycle are still being sold. The water use can be reduced by careful scheduling of regeneration cycles on clock-controlled models. It should be set to cycle no more than twice a week. Modern units will have a water meter or hardness sensor to control regeneration. That way, soft water is produced only as it is needed, and regeneration is usually more infrequent than clock controlled regeneration.

 

waterdrop_bulletLaundry
Approximately 22% of all water used in the home is used in the washing machine, so even a small investment of time and money can pay off in the long run.

Install a High Efficiency Washing Machine

  • Front-loading horizontal-axis machines use 1/3 less water than top-loading vertical-access machines. The standard top-loader uses from 35-55 gallons per load, whereas a front loader will use from 25-30 gallons per load.
  • As well as saving water, the front-loading machines also save energy. Front-loading machines still cost more than the U.S. standard top-loading models, but the price will continue to fall as they become more available and the demand increases.
  • Visit H2ouse.org: Water Saver Tour for advice on different models and where to purchase.

Use the Right Amount of Water for the Load

  • Use the load selector to match the water level to size of the load. If there is no selector, try to wash only full loads.
  • Presoak heavily soiled items and always use a minimum amount of detergent.

Graywater

  • If permitted where you live, a simple graywater connection from your laundry to your landscape is cost effective, easy to install, and allows you to re-use water which otherwise would be wasted to the ocean. See our graywater page for more details, permitting information, and sample plans for your yard.

 

 waterdrop_bulletOutdoors

Landscape Irrigation 

  • Most water used in a typical household is in the landscape.  For a variety of information on how to obtain a water efficient landscape, visit the main Landscape page.

Washing Your Car

  • When washing your car, use a hose nozzle and a bucket. If you can, pull your car onto a grassy area to prevent runoff and put the water to use in your yard. Use a nozzle on the garden hose to regulate water and turn it off when you're putting soap on your car. Better yet, take your car to a car wash that recycles water and prevents the runoff of soapy water into our creeks and ocean.

Use a Broom - Not the Hose

  • Sweep off sidewalks, driveways, patios, tennis courts, etc. with a broom or rake to remove leaves, clippings and debris. Don't hose off!!

Check Your Hose

  • Make sure hose connections are tight in order to prevent water loss.

Cover Your Pool

  • Keep the water level low to minimize splashing and install a pool cover in order to reduce water loss from evaporation.

Teach Your Children that Your Hose and Sprinkler are Not Toys

  • Few things are more cheerful than the sound of children playing under a hose or sprinkler on a hot day. If the kids just love to play in the sprinklers, skip an early morning watering cycle on your turf stations for an occassional summertime sprinkler play day.

 

waterdrop_bulletSaving Water Saves Energy
Did you know saving water also saves energy? For most municipalities, energy is needed to pump water from its source to your home, is always needed to treat water to make it safe to drink, and needed to heat water for your showers, washing dishes, and industrial purposes. Saving water, especially hot water, will save energy and save you money on your energy bills. Contact SCE, PG&E, or So Cal Gas for details about rebates which can help you save water, energy, and money.

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