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What can you do to save water in Spring?

The spring months are traditionally a time when flowers bloom and homeowners and renters alike get out their cleaning implements to bring new life into their homes.

However, with a spring clean around the home you may use more water than you would otherwise. And, if you opt for hot, soapy water, this can even affect your electricity bills. Here are a few great ideas to help you cut down on these costs when you are making your house sparkly and clean.

In the garden

While you may not be using hot water in your garden, it is still important to conserve water where you can. According to Melbourne Water, people in this city use a collective 980 million litres of water per day.

When you are in your garden, don't run the hose. There may instead be a way to reuse your home's water to feed your plants. Save your dishwater for this purpose. This is known as greywater and can be reused for many purposes around the home.

You may also want to consider only planting Australian native and indigenous plants around the home, as these can better handle the dry conditions in the country. Any plants that do require water should be taken care of in the morning or early evening as this minimises the amount of liquid that will evaporate from the plants, so they can make the most of their drink.

In the laundry

When you are doing your washing, it is essential to make the most of the eco setting available on your machine. However, you can also opt to wash your clothes and linen in cold water rather than hot. This will still mean your clothes are clean and fresh but your bills might be lower!

You should also only wash when you have a full load as this means you are making the most of the water available. The colours in most modern fabrics are designed so they will not run, meaning it is often safe to mix your whites and colours in one load. However, if you are washing a smaller load, make sure the water level matches the load so you are not wasting water. 

In the kitchen

Similarly to the washing machine, your dishwasher will also run at its most efficient if you turn it on only when there is a full load. Often modern and energy-efficient dishwashers can also handle having dishes washed when they are not totally clean, so it is also best to avoid rinsing them but instead simply scrape food waste off into the compost or rubbish bin. If you have an economy cycle, you can use this to save even more power, so your electricity bills will be lower. 

Some dishes are not able to be placed in the dishwasher, however, and if you are doing a load by hand you can save water by using the plug. 

The plug can also be used if you are preparing vegetables or washing fruit as it means you do not have to let running water simply escape down the sink. Instead, you can use the water in the sink to rinse them.

In the bathroom

Much of the water used around the house will be in the bathroom and if you are doing a spring clean or just having your daily shower, it is important to try to reduce this amount.

Baths use considerably more water than showers, so you may want to consider the method you use to clean yourself. If you can, see if you can take shorter showers. This will reduce your energy costs as you will not need to heat as much water.

Water-efficient showerheads can also be used to cut down the amount of water used. In fact, the Australian Department of Industry website, Your Energy Savings, claims these can create massive savings while still providing you with a satisfying shower. When you are replacing your showerhead look for the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Scheme (WELS) stickers. These work in the same way as energy rating labels and give these appliances a rating out of five depending on how efficient they are. Your Energy Savings states an inefficient showerhead can use up to 25 litres of water per second while a 3-star rated one can reduce this to as little as 7 litres.

Your toilet may also be using more water than you think! If you have a single-flush toilet you can use a water displacement device into the tank to save water when you flush. In fact, you can even use a plastic bottle filled with water. Pop this in the cistern. Bricks should be avoided as these can crumble and prevent the system from working. 

Leaking toilets should be fixed immediately. A slow and barely visible leak could be wasting over 4,000 litres of water per year and a more visible one up to 96,000, according to Your Energy Savings.

If you want to reduce your bills even more, don't hesitate to do an energy comparison. Another electricity or gas supplier may be able to offer you a better deal on your power.

Posted by Tim Wolfenden.