You can save water and save money by changing how you use water on a daily basis. You can also install low-flow water devices throughout your home. Below are some simple tips and ideas that can help you reduce your water consumption.
- Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth or shaving; only use water when you need to rinse.
- Reduce the time you spend in the shower, even by just a minute or two.
- Turn off the shower when you are shampooing.
- If you use the tub, bathe in only a couple of centimetres of water instead of a full tub.
- Reduce toilet flushing.
- Install low-flow shower heads, low-flow or ultra low-flow toilets, or faucet aerators on your bathroom taps.
- Use the dishwasher only when there is a full load.
- Do not pre-rinse dishes; most modern dishwashers do not require this step.
- When washing by hand, use a basin to rinse dishes instead of using running water.
- Pour yourself a drink of cold water from a refrigerated pitcher instead of running the tap.
- Wash fruits and vegetables in a partially-filled sink instead of rinsing them under running water.
- Replace old dishwashers with ENERGY-STAR dishwashers that conserve water or faucet aerators on your kitchen taps.
- Only wash clothes when there is a full load.
- Replace old washers with front-loading ENERGY-STAR washers that conserve water or faucet aerators on your laundry tub taps.
- Water lawns in the early morning or late evening in 20-minute intervals.
- Use a broom instead of your hose to remove debris from your driveway or sidewalk.
- Bathe your pets outdoors in areas that need water.
- Install a shut-off nozzle on your water hose.
- Direct downspouts towards shrubs and trees in your garden.
- Use mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation.
- Allow your grass to grow slightly taller to promote water retention in the soil.
Checking for Leaks
The most important water saving tip is to regularly check for leaks around your home. A leaking toilet or faucet can cost you hundreds of dollars a month. In one year, a leak of just one drop a second will send about 10,000 litres of water down the drain. That's about the same amount of water you use to have 105 ten-minute showers! The majority of leaks, dripping taps and wasted water originate in your bathroom, so you should check the fixtures and taps in this room first.
Your water meter is the most important device in your home to check for water leaks. To see if you have a water leak:
- Turn off all taps around your home and automatic water softeners, humidifiers, sprinkler systems, etc.
- Ask everyone to avoid using water for 15 minutes.
- Find your water meter. It is usually located in the basement, near an outside wall.
- Note the meter reading and position of the red “low flow” indicator.
- Wait 15 minutes and read your meter. If the red “low flow” indicator has moved, or there are new numbers displayed, you have a leak.
- It is the responsibility of the property owner to repair the leak.
- Take the lid off the tank.
- Squirt a drop of dark food colouring into the water.
- DO NOT FLUSH THE TOILET for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Check the toilet bowl for coloured water; if present, your toilet is leaking.
- Check to see if taps are dripping; if so, replace the washer in the faucet.
- Check for damp areas around your faucet or water lines to see if a leak is present.
- Check to see if taps are dripping; if so, replace the washer in the faucet.
- Check for damp areas around your faucet or water lines to your dishwasher or fridge to see if a leak is present.
- Check to see if the taps leading to your washing machine are dripping. If so, replace the washer in the faucet.
- Ensure your water softener has enough salt in it; the softener may keep trying to ‘regenerate’ the brine when there is no salt, resulting in wasted water.
- Fix any leaks in your garden hose.
- Replace worn out washers in garden nozzles and sprinklers.
- Check for moist spots in your lawn on days you have not watered; constantly damp grass may indicate a leak in your underground sprinkler.
Preventing Frozen Water Pipes
The pipes in your home can freeze in cold weather. This can leave you with no water or cause your pipes and/or your water meter to burst, leading to expensive property damage. Take steps to protect your pipes and water meter from freezing. Preventing pipes and the meter from freezing is easier than trying to thaw them.
- Turn off the water to outside taps from inside your house, remove hoses and drain your sprinkler system properly. If you are unsure how to do this, contact a plumber to show you how to properly drain your system.
- Insulate areas of your home containing water pipes, including crawl spaces, garages and attics.
- Insulate both hot and cold water pipes near the exterior walls, especially those facing north. Many home improvement stores carry foam sleeves with a lengthwise slit, or bands of insulation that wrap around the pipes.
- Weather-seal your windows.
- Check for air leaks around electrical outlets, dryer vents and pipes. Seal these leaks with caulking or insulation to keep cold air away from your pipes.
- Know the location of your water shut-off valve, it’s near your water meter. Keep the name and number of a qualified plumber on hand in case of emergency.
- Heat areas of your home containing water pipes so that warm air will prevent them from freezing.
- Set the thermostat no lower than 12°C (55°F) at night and when you are away. Ensure the area where pipes are near exterior walls and the area near your water meter does not fall below 5°C (41°F).
- Keep the garage door closed if there are water pipes inside.
- Open kitchen, bathroom and laundry cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
- If a pipe freezes and bursts, turn off the water shut-off valve immediately.
- If leaving for longer than a 24-hour period, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and open the taps to drain the water from your plumbing lines. Have someone check your home daily to ensure the heat is working.
What To Do If You Have No Water
Before contacting us, check the following:
Step 1: Check all cold-water taps throughout your home.
- If you have water at one or more taps in your home, there may be a frozen pipe within the home. Try thawing the pipe (see Options below) or contact a plumber.
- If you have no water from any taps within your home, proceed to Step 2.
Step 2: Check downstairs to see if the water meter or the pipe coming up from the basement floor and into the water meter is frozen or very cold.
- If the water meter and water pipe do not seem frozen or very cold, proceed to Step 3.
- If the meter or water pipe either appears frozen or is very cold, try heating the area. If that is unsuccessful, proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Contact Service Regina at 306-777-7000 and we will send someone to investigate.
Options for thawing your pipe
Before calling a plumber, you can try to thaw the frozen pipes yourself by turning up the furnace and opening doors to the area. This will allow warm air to circulate around the frozen pipe and may thaw it over time. Check the area regularly as a frozen pipe can crack or burst and create a leak once the water begins to flow.
Do not use a propane heater or open flame device (ex: blow torch, candle, butane lighter) to thaw the pipe.If the pipe or meter is leaking, or if there is water present on the floor, do not use space heaters, heat guns, hair dryers, heating pads or any other electrical appliances to thaw frozen pipes. Leaking water could cause an electrical shock
Who’s responsible for frozen water pipe/water meter repairs?
- Water service pipes are owned by both you and the City of Regina.
- The City owns the portion that runs from the water main on the street to the property line.
- You own the portion that runs from the property line into your home.
- The City of Regina repairs water meters but the property owner is charged for the cost of any damage to the water meter.