Wise water use is not only good for the environment, but it helps to save on water bills. With only one percent of the planet’s water available for human use, Loudoun Water encourages responsible indoor and outdoor water use. Our Aquiary exhibit, located in our Ashburn headquarters, emphasizes the importance of conserving and saving water. Now that the weather is warming up, Loudoun Water recommends wise watering at home. Now is a good time of year to check your irrigation settings to make sure you are watering smart. Overwatering a lawn can result in grass disease, fungus and unnecessarily high water bills. This includes checking your sprinkler settings to avoid over-watering. For most lawns, 15 minutes of watering is all it takes to maintain a healthy yard. The recommended outdoor watering schedule is: Even Number Home Addresses Odd Number Home Addresses Thursday & Sunday Wednesday & Saturday Take a couple hours to review your sprinkler settings. Consider adding a smart irrigation controller, which acts like a thermostat for your sprinkler system by telling it when to turn on and off, to save water. Small adjustments can have a big impact and that starts with you. Click on each of the tips below to see how much water you can save. Have a tip of your own that you think should be on this list? Email Aquiary@loudounwater.org. Outdoors Water early or late Avoid watering during the hottest part of the day, which is typically 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. In the hot weather, most of the water will be lost to evaporation or wind. The best time to water you lawn is between 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Don’t “set it and forget it” monitor the weather, temperatures, etc. “Set it and forget it” wastes both water and money. Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case of weather or malfunctions. Don’t water when it isn’t needed. Be sure your rain sensor is working correctly, and replace it if it's not. Consider installing a smart irrigation controller to help you avoid excessive outdoor water use. Check your irrigation system for leaks Look for patches of grass with standing water or extremely green patches of grass. If you notice either, consider consulting with a licensed irrigation specialist. Check for system leaks and repair them as soon as possible to avoid wasting water and damaging foundations or landscape features. Adjust sprinklers to they’re only watering your lawn and garden and not the street or sidewalk When watering your yard, look to see if excess water is landing on the street, sidewalk or driveway. Always do a quick check of your irrigation heads after mowing to ensure they are not damaged. Add a shut-off nozzle to your garden hose Shut-off nozzles allows users to control the flow of water. Instead of running water constantly, users can use water as needed. Adjust your mower to a higher setting Set your mower height to one and a half to two inches. Taller grass shades the roots and holds soil moisture better, requiring less watering. Watch the weather Make sure your irrigation system isn't watering unnecessarily if there has been a lot of rain or if it will rain later in the day. Grass only needs on to one and a half inches of water per week to stay lush and green. Use a pool cover Pool covers are great because they keep out unwanted debris and they reduce the amount of evaporation. The average pool takes 22,000 gallons of water to fill and without a cover, hundreds of gallons of water per month can be lost due to evaporation. Bathroom Install a high-efficiency WaterSense® toilet Thinking about installing a new toilet? Look for a WaterSense® label with shopping. These models reduce the amount of water used for each flush. Turn off water when brushing your teeth or shaving Turning off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving can save up to 3,600 gallons of water per year per person. Fix leaky toilets The toilet flapper is located at the bottom of the tank and seals the tank drain until the handle is pushed. If the seal is not tight, leakage can occur, resulting in the toilet unexpectedly refilling or making running water sounds. To check if the toilet flapper is working properly, there are two tests you can do: Shred some toilet paper and toss it into the bowl. Flush the toilet and see if all the paper is gone. If it is not, then the flapper setting needs to be adjusted. Add a few drops of food coloring to the tank behind the bowl. Wait one hour before flushing. If the color appears in the bowl, the flapper is likely defective or leaking. Loudoun Water has dye tablets available for customers to use upon request. For further information regarding how to replace the toilet flapper, consult your local hardware store. If you need to replace the toilet, visit EPA's WaterSense for a list of water efficient brands. Take a five minute shower instead of 10 Did you know that by cutting your shower time in half, it’s possible to save 4,500 gallons of water per person, per year? Set a timer to help getting in the habit of taking a shorter shower. Use a low-flow shower head Low-flow shower heads can save 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower. Look for them at your local hardware store. Only fill the tub halfway The average bathtub takes about 70 gallons of water to fill. Instead of filling the bathtub to the brim, consider only filling it halfway. Install aerators on bathroom faucets Aerators create no-splashing stream that delivers a mixture of water and air. Adding an aerator to your faucets can save 438 gallons of water per person per year. Replacing an old aerator takes less than five minutes! Take a shorter shower instead of a bath A typical shower uses about two and a half gallons of water per minute, or 25 gallons for 10 minutes. A full bathtub can use up to 70 gallons of water. Kitchen Only run the dishwasher when full Waiting for a full load of dishes can between five and 15 gallons per load. Use a dishwasher instead of hand washing Most modern dishwashers use less water than it takes to wash dishes by hand. Some EnergyStar certified machines use as little as three to five gallons of water per cycle. In comparison, washing by hand can use about three to five gallons per minute of washing. Laundry Wash only full loads of laundry Waiting for a full load of laundry can save between 15-45 gallons of water per load. Only water your lawn when needed Most yards don’t require an excess amount of water to remain healthy. In fact, most yards only need about one inch of water per week. Many lawn care professionals recommend watering about ½ inch twice per week, which can take between 15-30 minutes depending on the type of sprinkler you use. Loudoun Water provides rain gauges at our Ashburn headquarters and at events. A tuna can is also an easy way to measure how much water your lawn has received.