DIY in LV- The Water Saving Edition

So by now it’s pretty much set in stone that we will be having some pretty large increases in our water and sewer rates (40% and 60% respectively).  Yes, that sucks for those of use that are suffering financially in the aftermath of the recent recession, but with the threat of a state takeover  of our water utility looming, there was really no way to avoid it. I subscribe to the old adage “light a candle or curse the darkness”, so I’ve decided that instead of fretting about how much this is going to cost my family, I would take some simple, cost effective steps at home to help reduce our water usage, thereby offsetting the rate increase.

There was one project in particular that I had been meaning to get to for a couple of years now that I knew would help me in this respect- insulating the pipes in our crawlspace. Often, especially in the wintertime, it seemed as if I had to run the hot water tap for ever and ever before it began to come out of the pipes even lukewarm.

Fortunately, there is a pretty simple fix for this. You can purchase 6′ sections of foam pipe insulation at a local home improvement store for a little over $1 each (more if you buy the self-adhesive version), and these slip right over your hot water pipes. Now, I am lucky to have a rather roomy crawlspace, so it was a very easy job for me that only took 10-15 minutes (my house is also, shall we say, cozy, which means there just isn’t that much pipe to insulate). It was also a very affordable project that will end up saving me water and electricity, especially during the colder months.

Here are a few more easy water saving tips:

  • Another quick, easy fix is installing low flow aerators on the bathroom and kitchen faucets. These are usually under $3 a piece and they will restrict the amount of water flowing from your faucets. Flow rates of 0.5 to 1.0 GPM in the bathroom and 1.5 GPM in the kitchen work best. That being said, I have had trouble finding 0.5 and 1.0 GPM aerators locally. If any of our readers know where to get some, leave us a comment!
  • Install a low flow shower head, and turn the water off while you soap up.
  • Water your lawn before 8am, and use drought tolerant grass varieties when overseeding or planting new lawn.
  • And of course, let it mellow if it’s yellow. The average toilet uses 3-5 gallons per flush.

You can find 100 water saving tips at And of course, feel free to share your own tips!

13 comments for “DIY in LV- The Water Saving Edition

  1. Theresa
    May 13, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Sarah, great advice! Thank you!

  2. Debbie Heughan
    May 13, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    All this sounds great, except the mellow yellow stuff.. 🙂

    • Sarah N.
      May 13, 2011 at 7:48 pm

      FYI, urine is sterile (usually 😉 ). I know it still icks a lot of people out, though.

  3. Elizabeth
    May 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I agree with this and also I have heard you can put a brick or a bottle with water in it in your tank to cut down on the water that fills back up after flushing. I have done this years ago and it does work…..just saying

  4. Jennifer
    May 13, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Mellow yellow is gross!!!

    I’m thinking rain barrels though – instead of using faucet water to water plants, wash the deck, etc.

    Also – at the car wash in town water is $1 for about 8 gallons (we recently found out when we had water issues at home and had to fill up a large water barrel to hold us over until the plumber could get here) – I don’t know how that stacks up with city water prices but it’s a thought!

    • Sarah N.
      May 14, 2011 at 5:13 pm

      We used 2,900 gallons at our house last month. At the car wash rate that would come to $362.50! :O

      • Jennifer
        May 17, 2011 at 6:39 pm

        So I guess that’s not an option for watering the garden! LOL Thanks for doing the math! 🙂

  5. Debbie Heughan
    May 14, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    What’s the latest on a rain barrel making class? How could we get one started.. lots of info on internet with step by step instructions..some of the not-so-do-it-yourselfers or seniors might want a class or need help making one….This could save lots of money on watering the gardens & washing the cars…Does anyone have any ideas about a class..

    • Jennifer
      May 17, 2011 at 6:42 pm

      I know there was a class at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga this spring – maybe there is a wildlife/nature oriented organization around here that would help? We just moved to Rutherford County so I am not sure what you have here…

  6. Kathy T.
    May 15, 2011 at 10:25 am

    Channel 4 wants to come to the city to do a story about how to reduce water consumption, etc. I’m hoping our good citizen Sarah N. can come by and be part of the program. No, “I just want to be legal” snafus, though! (Insider) Hahaha… 😉

  7. Debbie Heughan
    May 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    What about a citizen’s rain barrel making class before spring & summer are gone.. We all need rain barrels.. Kathy, I know you know the people that can put it together…Please….

  8. Kathy T.
    May 15, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    I talked with Katie Kline – the city’s stormwater engineer – the other day while BRIEFLY at work (thank you stupid inner ear virus). She is trying to get her hands on some barrels so they can be converted with the faucets, etc. We would LOVE to do that, Debbie.

  9. Kitti
    May 16, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    Rain barrels are great for plants, especially since we have such hard water here!

    Another tip: I have a bucket by my bathtub. When I run the tap to get warm water, I put the bucket under it. When it is nearly full (usually about 4 showers), I use that bucket to flush the toilet.

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