Conserving Water — Outdoor Use

While indoor water use can exceed 100 gallons per day based on the size of your family and your daily habits, outdoor water use can outpace that measure tenfold if you don't practice conservation. Your outdoor water use may not seem excessive if you live in an area with ample rainfall, but watering your lawn or washing your car can translate into a huge water footprint.

Here are our top outdoor water conservation tips:

Only water your lawn during times of low wind and moderate temperatures.

Want to know how to keep your lawn green with less water? Learn how much water your lawn uses so you can make critical changes to your landscaping routine. Make your lawn drought-resistant by adding mulch to plants and bushes, watering early in the morning or at dusk, and measuring your soil's water collection to gauge how much water your lawn needs.

Change the way you irrigate.

Install a drip water system for your garden instead of setting up sprinklers or using a hose. Water your lawn and shrubs by hand if you have time. Switching to hand watering can slash your water usage in half. Ensure your plants aren't exposed to chlorine and other chemicals when you water by hand – install a Whole House Water Filter System.

Install a rain barrel underneath your gutter.

If you live in a rainy climate, a rain barrel can catch several gallons of water you can use to water your plants, aid your drip irrigation system, or wash your car. Save money on your lawn by recycling what nature provides! Avoid the possibility of mosquitoes breeding inside your rain barrel by covering it with a mesh net porous enough for water to get through. Some states do not allow rain barrels — check your local government's website to verify that they allow rain barrels in your city before installing one.

Always cover your pool with a pool cover.

Natural evaporation can remove as much as a quarter of an inch of water from your pool every day. This loss translates to hundreds and even thousands of gallons of wasted water per year based on the size of your pool. Protect your pool with a pool cover when not in use to cut evaporation down drastically.

Conduct a bucket test often to check for leaks in your pool.

Fill a bucket with pool water about one inch from the top and shut off your pool pump. Place the bucket on a pool step, partially submerged in the pool, and mark the water level inside and outside of the bucket. Turn on your pump for 24 hours and compare the two water levels. If the water level outside of the bucket drops more than the water level inside the bucket, your pool could be leaking.

Go elsewhere to get your car washed.

Instead of washing your car at home, make the trip to a commercial car wash that completely recycles the water they use. You can also go to a self-service car wash where the high-pressure hose doesn't turn on automatically. Call ahead before you go to verify the location recycles water – car washes in California are required to recycle 60% of the water they use, but laws vary by state.

Use a squeeze nozzle for your hose if you wash your car at home.

These nozzles, also called "pistol grip" nozzles, stop the flow of the hose when it is not engaged. This innovation overcomes the impracticality of walking to the tap and turning off the water every time you're not using the hose.

Redirect your air conditioner downspouts and other drain lines.

You can redirect all water that leaves your gutter or appliances to sustain a flowerbed or your lawn. Taking steps like these can significantly help cut down on waste and prevent future drastic water restrictions and cutbacks.

Water is an essential component of your outdoor maintenance and chores. Ensure your home's water is clean and prevent hard water scale from accumulating in your pipes and appliances with a Water Softener Alternative & Filter Combination System. The choices you make directly impact the sustainability of our limited supply of water, from what to eat to how often you shop. Read more about how you can make specific lifestyle changes to decrease your virtual water use.