The dog days of summer have arrived, and in many communities, water-use restrictions are in full swing. You may have noticed that your water pressure has also slowed down due to the high demand.
Remember, everybody suffers when water levels are low. You've heard me say this before, and I'll say it again: If we all cut down just a little bit with our personal water use, we'll all have a lot more water for our homes in the long run.
With that in mind, here is my new list of summertime water-saving suggestions. I don't expect everyone to use every tip on this list, but if each of us picks out a few favorites, we can create bigger water reserves in each area of the country until the cooler fall weather kicks in.
1. Turn off the water: While brushing your teeth or shaving, please keep the faucet off.
2. Cut just one minute off your shower time: Your home can save more than 750 gallons a year by following this simple, water-saving trick.
3. Landscape with native or drought-tolerant plants: Especially in drier areas, if you use native plants and/or grasses that live naturally in dry climates, you'll water less.
4. Replace old, water-guzzling toilets: Installing new, high-efficiency toilets in place of older models can save thousands of gallons of water per year.
5. Use leftover water for houseplants: By doing things like putting a bucket under your showerhead while you wait for the water to heat up, you can reclaim all the water you may need for watering houseplants and filling your dog's bowl.
6. Make sure your dishwasher is fully loaded: Many of us just run a partly filled dishwasher out of habit. Take the time to make sure it's completely loaded.
7. Use the appropriate water level for your laundry: Again, a small thing many of us overlook. Check the laundry load size and set your washing machine to the proper level; you'll save on water and sewer-use charges.
8. Fix leaky faucets/install water-saving aerators: Repairing and/or installing new, efficient aerators on faucets can save hundreds of gallons a month.
9. Use a broom, rather than a hose: It seems that most of us forgot how to use a broom when cleaning a driveway or a walkway. Sweeping saves water.
10. Water your garden in the early morning: Take advantage of the head start created by morning dew. Get up a just a little earlier to water your garden.
These are just some tips that I have seen work around my own home. If you have any ideas or tricks that work for you, please send them in. If we get enough of them, I can keep the water-saving tips flowing by writing "volume two" before the summer ends.
Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known internationally as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and for hosting TV shows on Scripps Networks and HGTVPro.com.