Be water wise!
Every drop of drinking/potable water used or wasted carries with it an environmental impact, as there is a large energy and environmental footprint to our water cycle. Treating and pumping our water and sewage is responsible for about one-third of the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from municipal operations in Ontario. More efficient water use can limit these impacts.
Every litre of water that does not need to be treated and pumped reduces energy use and emissions. Water conservation and efficiency can also help defer or avoid municipal infrastructure upgrades and reduce harm to our aquatic ecosystems and wetlands.
Shower and bath
In London, the majority (approx. 34%) of a person’s daily water consumption is used for bathing. Of the water used, almost half is heated.
Heating water for bathing requires a lot of energy in the form of natural gas - in fact, it can account for approximately 25% of the energy consumed in your home.
You can lower your water and energy use, and save money, by:
- Reducing your shower time.
- Installing a high efficiency showerhead - save up to 65 L of water each shower.
- Make sure the high efficiency showerhead has a WaterSense label.
Showers - Did you know?
- A five-minute shower with a standard showerhead uses 100 L of water.
- The same length of shower with an ultra low-flow showerhead uses only 35 L of water.
Drip, drop - It wastes a lot
- 60 drops per minute wastes approx. 727L of water per month
- 90 drops per minute wastes approx. 1174L of water per month
- 120 drops per minute wastes approx. 1623L of water per month
Wasting this much water makes your water bill skyrocket and puts a strain on the wastewater system.
Hot Water - It takes forever!
Do you find yourself running the tap for more than 30 seconds while waiting for hot water? If so, you may want to install a hot water recirculation unit to help save money on your water bill and limit wasted water.
A hot water recirculation unit works by circulating water through the pipes so that room temperature water can return to be reheated, rather than go down the drain. When you want hot water, it's there instantly.
As every property is unique, please contact a professional for more information on whether this system can help you save money and water in your home.
Your toilet - how low-flow can you go?
There are many ways to save water through your toilet use - including reducing the number of times you flush per day, finding and repairing any leaks you have and retrofitting your home and toilets to be more water efficient.
Did you know?
- Your toilet is one of the most water guzzling appliances in your home.
- 20% of an average Londoner’s daily water use is flushed down the toilet.
- One toilet flush can use up to 18 litres of water.
- Ultra-low flush toilets can use up to 12 litres LESS water per flush while maintaining the same flushing power.
Small things you can do to make a big difference in your water bill:
- Install a WaterSense low-flow toilet (4.8L or less) to save water every time you flush.
- Avoid unnecessary flushing. Don't flush tissues, insects, fats, oils and grease or other waste suitable for trash or composting down the toilet.
- Never flush wipes down the toilet. Even if a product states it is “flushable”, these items do not readily decompose in the sewers and lead to major problems in wastewater pumping stations and treatment plants. They can even negatively impact your household plumbing.
- Check for any leaks in your toilet by adding food colouring to your water tank and waiting 15-30 minutes to see if the colour spreads to the bowl without flushing. If there is any colour in the bowl, then you have a leak, and your toilet needs to be repaired.
- Maintenance check your toilets for worn out, corroded or bent parts. Replacement parts are inexpensive, readily available, and easy to install.
- Replace or adjust the toilet flush handle if it is sticking regularly as this causes water to flow constantly.
- For toilets larger than 6 litres, place a water-filled plastic bottle or commercial toilet insert into the tank (no bricks). This reduces the volume of water needed to fill the tank, but still provides enough for flushing.
In the kitchen
- Keep a container of drinking water in the refrigerator. This addresses the wasteful habit of running tap water to cool it before drinking.
- Save water from cooking vegetables and use it for soups and gravies or use it to give your houseplants a drink once the water is cool.
- Boil vegetables using just enough water to cover them. Steaming vegetables not only uses less water, it conserves more nutrients.
- Soak your pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
- Kitchen sink disposals use a lot of water. Instead, start a compost pile for food waste.
- Use a pail or basin instead of running water when cleaning your home.
- Do not use running water to thaw meat or other frozen foods. Instead, defrost foods overnight in your refrigerator or use the microwave’s defrost settings.
- Install an instant water heater in your kitchen so you don't have to run water for it to heat up. This also can reduce heating costs in your home.
- Make sure water is the only thing going down your drain. Never put garbage down your sink or toilet - such as “flushable” or “biodegradable” wipes, cooking fat, oil and grease, household hazardous waste (e.g. paints, pesticides, cleaning products), medication (e.g. pills or liquid), or car and garage products (e.g. motor oil, antifreeze).
- Free Fats Oils and Grease (FOG) Cups can be picked up at City of London EnviroDepots and at London Public Library locations.
Find savings in your laundry.
Washing full loads of laundry with a high efficiency front-loading washing machine is the best way to conserve water.
Washing machines: Did you know?
- A traditional washing machine uses approximately 190 L of water to wash a large load.
- In contrast, a high efficiency washing machine can save you up to 100 L per large load of laundry.
Small things you can do to make a big difference:
- Wear your clothes more than once. The best way to conserve water in the laundry room is to not do laundry.
- Be water efficient and save money. Choose the correct load sizes and cycles.
- Wash full loads. This helps save money, water, energy and detergent.
- Start with the right washer. When buying new washing machine, consider purchasing a front-loading model. These machines use less water, reduce energy costs, require less soap and are gentler on your clothes. If you can't give up a top-load washer, choose one that is high efficiency.
- Wash in cold. You'll save money and conserve hot water for other uses. Washing in cold water also reduces damage to clothes.
- Check for and repair any leaks around the washing machine taps and hoses.
- Use environmentally friendly detergents that have no phosphate and are biodegradable.
Outdoor water use
The way in which you water your lawn is just as important as how often and how much water you use. It is important to choose the right irrigation system for the landscape.
- Be mindful of municipal water alerts. To conserve water during the warmer months lawn and garden watering may be limited to certain dates.
- Harvest rain. Rain barrels are an excellent way to conserve water and save money on your water bills. They are easy to install and provide water for your lawn and garden.
- Purchase a rain gauge to determine how much rain or irrigation your yard has already received each week.
- Water your plants deeply but less frequently to create healthier and stronger landscapes.
- Adjust your lawn watering schedule and method so that it is specific to your lawn’s soil condition.
- Avoid overwatering. Watering your lawn too much and too often will cause shorter root systems to develop making it susceptible to dry conditions. Overwatering indicators include yellowing or lighter green leaves, or algae and fungi growth. One inch of water per week is enough.
- The best time to water your lawn or garden is the early morning. Avoid watering in the late evening which can cause long periods of dampness increasing the risk of disease and fungus. In general, avoid watering during the day as well as on windy days and do not leave sprinklers on for the entire day.
- Avoid using a lawn sprinkler. If you must use a sprinkler, install a water efficient component such as a low-rise sprinkler head, soaker hoses, or a drip irrigation system and use a timer. Make sure you are not watering sidewalks and driveways.
- When selecting plants and grass to reseed your landscape, consider drought-resistant grasses and plants. Group plants with the same watering needs together to get the most out of your watering time.
- Regularly check that your sprinkler and timer system is operating properly.
- Outfit your hose with a shut-off nozzle which can adjust the water flow rate.
- Eliminate hose and tap leaks by using hose washers between the spigot and the water hose.
- Set your lawn mower blades higher. Longer grass means less evaporation and deeper roots.
Before you go away
Turning off the main water supply to your home is the best defense against flooding caused by a burst pipe or other plumbing failure.
First, locate the main water supply valve in your home. The valve should have a wheel control or lever handle to open and close it. It is perfectly safe to turn it off by either turning the wheel clockwise or closing the lever.
If you don’t know where to locate the valve, you may find it:
- In the basement
- In the crawl space
- Outside your home
Rather than leave it to the last minute before you head off, find it and turn it off to test if the water stops flowing in your house beforehand.