Texas is hot, that’s for sure, but shouldn’t that be reason to conserve, not waste water? In Dallas, we’re constantly appalled at the number of lawn sprinklers running throughout the hottest part of the day, or car washes around every corner, steadily spraying water down the drain. Not to put all the blame on Texas – according to EPA.gov, in the US, a typical household uses approximately 260 gallons of water every day. That just seems outrageous to us. Thankfully, conserving – or at least not wasting – water is a fantastic benefit of the fulltime RV lifestyle we’ve chosen.
Learning to Conserve Water
Living in an RV comes with a percentage of water conservation built in. We don’t have lawns to water (although the few RV parks we’ve lived in so far definitely overwater the few patches of landscaping they have). We have smaller appliances that use less water, and we have fewer linear feet of pipes to fill. As an example, the average household toilet uses 3.5 gallons per flush – ours uses less than .5.
One of our goals for the future is to require less time hooked up to water and power sources. So in addition to our general concern for using resources wisely, we’re trying to learn as much as we can about conserving now so we’ll have to make less of a transition later. Even if we didn’t live in drought-stricken Texas, we’d still conserve water, but living in an Airstream has brought this to a near competitive level with us. Regular checks of the tanks and high-fives (well, at least ‘good-job’ nods of the head) are telling us that we’re doing better at not only making water last, but using less of it in the first place. We’re now going into our 12th straight day of triple digits with no rain, or end, in sight.
Conserving Water Inside the RV
My favorite water saver inside the Airstream is the Oxygenics 130-XLF25 BodySpa SkinCare Handheld Shower. It uses almost half the amount of water as a regular shower head and it maintains fantastic pressure. It lowered our shower water consumption from ~2.5 gallons per minute to 1.5 or less! You should look into getting one of these.
We’re definitely still learning about how to best conserve water inside the Airstream. Our next project is to reduce the flow of water from our bathroom and kitchen faucets. We’ll start by experimenting with low flow aerating faucet heads, but ultimately we want to replace both faucets entirely. The standard faucets from Airstream aren’t really made for upgrading or adding low flow adapters. After that, we want to look at better ways to heat the water (tankless?), pump water into the RV, and use the fresh water tank more effectively.
Conserving Water Outside the RV
My newest favorite thing is collecting water from my air conditioner run off. It might sound a bit odd and extreme, but in the Weasel, the condensation runs from the AC unit through a tube that ends under the driver’s side wheel well. I started placing a bucket there about two weeks ago and was shocked at how much water drips out on a daily basis. It provides more than enough water for the plants, and really the neighbors plants as well, because it fills up to the top every day. I can’t imagine how much water is wasted from drippy RV air conditioner units!
We’re in city mandated water conservation mode here, and I didn’t want my plants to suffer, so I highly recommend doing it if you have an extra bucket lying around. Your plants will thank you for it!
Other informative links on conserving water:
- US EPA’s Conserving Water page
- 100 ways to conserve water
- LiveWorkDream’s boondocking tip to conserve water
- Technomadia’s tips for conserving water while living off the grid in an RV
- Frugal RV Travel’s tips for conserving water
That’s about all we’ve found so far, but we’re constantly looking for more ways to conserve water. We’d love to hear any tips and tricks you’ve found conserving water (or any other resource) in your RV.