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Mar 19, 2009

Save Water, Energy, and Money by making a few quick fixes around the house.  Check out our latest blog for tips on saving our resources!

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Posted: Mar 19, 2009 10:47am
Mar 19, 2009

There are some things it's hard to get around to doing -- even when they're making a 'drip, drip' noise. Celebrate 'Fix a Leak' week by checking your faucets, showers and toilets for leaks and then putting a stop to the flow. The EPA estimates that leaks waste more than 1 trillion gallons of water every year in the U.S.

Even if you live in a place that doesn't suffer from drought, there are plenty of reasons to use water more efficiently. Supplying and treating water for your home requires a significant amount of energy. And efficient water use can reduce the amount of energy needed to treat wastewater and preserve existing streams and rivers.

Fix leaks

Old and worn faucet washers and gaskets frequently cause leaks in faucets and showers. If your shower is leaking from the showerhead, apply a little pipe tape around the pipe stem and then screw the showerhead on. Leaky faucets that drip at the rate of one drip every second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year.

Check your toilet for leaks

A leaking toilet can waste anywhere about 200 gallons of water every day. To see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the dye shows up in the toilet bowl after 10 minutes or so, the toilet has a leak. Leaking is usually caused by an old or poorly fitting flapper valve, which is cheap and easy to replace. New and improved high-efficiency toilets use less than 1.3 gallons per flush-that's at least 60 percent less than toilets made before 1992.

Watering the Lawn

If you have an in-ground irrigation system, check it each spring to make sure it wasn't damaged by frost or freezing. An irrigation system at 60 psi with a leak the thickness of a dime can waste about 6,300 gallons of water per month. Check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter changes at all, you may have a leak.

Don't waste water

Letting your faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours. Low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators can reduce the amount of water you use while increasing water pressure. Heating hot water is responsible for 11 percent of home energy use. Remember to use cold water rather than hot to save energy. Get more tips on increasing your water heater's efficiency and reducing the amount of hot water you use.

  • Turn on the cold tap and save energy by using less hot water. Heating hot water is responsible for 11 percent of home energy use.

  • Fix leaks around your home. To check toilets for leaks, put a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the dye shows up in the toilet bowl you may need to replace the flapper valve.

  • If you have a conventional in-ground sprinkler system, consider replacing it with a drip irrigation system. They use between 20 to 50 percent less water.
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Posted: Mar 19, 2009 10:34am
Mar 11, 2009

Are you pouring money down the drain every time you turn on the hot water? Reduce your utility bills by  increasing your water heater's efficiency and reducing the amount of hot water you use. In most homes, heating water consumes as much energy as lighting. Here are four basic things you can do to save energy and money.

Use Less Hot Water

By replacing old showerheads with new water-saving designs you can save energy without shortening your shower. Low-flow showerhead models use an average of 2.5 gallons per minute compared to the 5 to 7 gallons used by a conventional showerhead.

Install a low-flow aerator on your kitchen faucet. Most aerators include spray settings that making washing easier and more efficient.

Don't turn the hot water knob on your faucet unless you actually want hot water.  If you turn it on to wash your hands but your system is slow in getting the hot water to the faucet, then you have just wasted money to heat your pipes.

Lower the Temperature on the Water Heater

Set your water heater to 120 degrees. That should provide most households with enough warm water for showering and washing. If you live alone, you can set it lower -- each 10 degree reduction in water temperature can save between 3 and 5 percent of your water heating costs. When you are going away on vacation, turn the thermostat down to the lowest possible setting.

Insulate Hot Water Pipes

Insulating your hot water pipes will keep water hot as it flows through the pipes to your faucet and the water will stay warmer in the pipes. Even when pipes are insulated, the water in the pipes will cool but by staying warmer longer it'll save energy and water. It's easy to insulate the first 6 to10 feet of hot water supply pipe from the water heater. Pipe insulation is available at any hardware store.

Insulate Your Water Heater

An easy do-it-yourself project that should offer an immediate payoff in lower bills is to insulate your water heater. Particularly if your heater is in an unheated part of the house, a fitted water heater blanket can pay for itself quickly.

  • Set your water heater to 120 degrees or less. It'll keep your water hot without wasting energy.
  • Replace old showerheads with new water-saving designs and install low-flow aerators on your faucets.
  • Add insulation to your water heater and hot water pipes. A fitted water heater blanket can pay for itself. 
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    Posted: Mar 11, 2009 9:16am


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