First, I thought about posting my recipe for homemade conditioner here, but decided to post it on my kitchen blog instead. For you DIYers out there, take a minute and check it out if you'd like:
Our house is very old. You can't just always make repairs. The house tends to fight back sometimes. We have a spigot outside under our sunroom, and it has leaked for many, many years. Since Mom lived here before us, I can honestly say that damn thing has leaked for as long as I can remember - so close to twenty years is a fair guess.
There it is. The damn leaking spigot. It used to just drip. We couldn't fix it because we couldn't get to the other side (it isn't like no-one has tried over the last couple decades!) - this is where an old house can really kick your ass. Recently it went from just dripping to running. Not full fledge, tap open all the way running, but still running. We figured we were probably losing a gallon within an hour or two.
It isn't running in the photo because *TADA* Justin went down in the basement and turned the water off for the spigot. It was rusted and took a lot of effort, but he was finally able to get the thing turned off.
So, the spigot is no longer running. Here we were celebrating and delighting in how much water we would be saving, how much $$$$ we would be saving, when we found out how the house would fight back. For absolutely no reason that would fall under "common sense", when Justin shut off the water to the spigot it turned off the water to the toilet in our bathroom. It also turned off the cold water to the sink, but not the hot. Just the cold water and the toilet.
We decided to try something I've been wanting to do for a while anyway. Justin unhooked the drain under the sink and put a bucket underneath. The idea was to collect sink water and use it to flush the toilet!! Simple, right??
Like I said, I had been wanting to do this, not to flush the toilet but just to see how much grey-water could easily be collected and re-used. This was just a chance to do this and have it be practical and really useful!
This just happened this past weekend, so obviously I can't write about $$ savings just yet, but we have learned quite a bit already.
1)The tank on our toilet holds 5 GALLONS of water!! On average, we flushed that toilet 5 times a day. In a year, that is 9125 gallons of water!! WOW! All that for a (sometimes) small pee. Geez! Talk about making you feel extremely wasteful! So, we filled a 2 liter Coke bottle with water and put that in the tank.
2)We don't use the sink that much. Even with brushing our teeth, washing hands, and everything else. Definitely not enough to fill up the toilet tank. REALLY definitely NOT enough to fill up the toilet tank for (on average) five flushes a day!! The tank, especially with the Coke bottle in there, HAS to be filled up ALL THE WAY to actually flush down stuff.
Luckily, we have a couple rain barrels outside, so I've been able to fill up the 5 gallon bucket there. We've decided to try to keep #2s to the "big bathroom" so that we can minimize the number of flushes needed.
I've managed to get it down to about 1 flush a day, but the bucket still wasn't full! So .. more thinkin' needed.
This evening after the boys' baths we took the empty milk jugs in there. The boys kinda freaked about me swiping the water at first, but then we started explaining how we were re-using and recycling the water, so we could use it to flush the toilet in the 1/2 bath ~ we also gave them some cups and let them help fill the jugs. They became immediate advocates of re-using the water!
There was enough water that we also used 2 gallons for water for watering plants in the sunroom. From that one little bath we managed to set aside 7 gallons of water (two went to the plants) with water to spare! I even got to flush the toilet. Ok .. I splurged and did #2 in there and so got to flush twice. I couldn't resist. Oh yea, I AM a WILD-WOMAN and I am breaking BAD!!!! OH YEA!!!!!
ok, yea I know, it's pretty pathetic when getting to flush your toilet and do as I please in the toilet I please is a sincere higlight of my day.
I am proud to be saving water. I'm proud to be teaching my kids about the value of water. We may live in a society where water is taken for granted, but a majority of the world doesn't, and we have no assurance that our luck will stay the same. Knowing what you need to live and how to get it (even if we're still on a small and superficial level here), how to make it last longer.
In the meantime, stay tuned. I'm pretty much 110% positive that we have many more lessons to learn, and though the utility bill should be coming in the mail within a week, the real savings won't be seen until next month. More blogs to come, I can guarantee that!