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Reduce Utility Bills

December 19, 2008

Know Where Water Turn Off Is

Filed under: Water, Helpful Hints — Jan @ 5:19 am

Do you know how to turn off the water to the house? It is best to know and locate the valve during nicer weather, but it needs to be done if you haven’t already done it.

A frozen pipe can burst and you can have water leaks in the house. Not only is the water bill going to rise drastically with a leak, water can cause a lot of damage fast. It is a problem any time it happens, but in the winter, nothing will dry out fast and mildew will start to grow right away. A burst pipe outside may not be noticeable until the weather warms. That can be in the afternoon in southern states or months in the northern states.

To avoid burst pipes, do the unthinkable…allow your faucet to drip. Moving water is less likely to freeze. Yes it will affect the water bill, but it is less expensive than burst pipes. Some pipes freeze, but never burst. No water for a shower in the morning while waiting for pipes to unfreeze can be bothersome and may be worth the cost of a dripping faucet.

If you can’t find the water turn off ask a neighbor or research online. It is usually on a main pipe into the home and also at the water meter. Each room that has water should have its own indvidual turn off. Know where these are in case of plumbing problems in just the bathroom or kitchen.

Knowing where you water turn off is should be something everyone in the house knows.

December 8, 2008

Clean Spouts

Filed under: Water, Electricity, Natural Gas — Jan @ 9:14 pm

A few weeks ago,  my son changed my very old water saving shower head. Not only was it easier and faster to rinse my thick curly hair with full pressure, I found out that it didn’t take as long to heat up the shower water.

So since the change of the shower head we have saved on our water and gas bill because of the follwoing:

  • Increased pressure of water
  • Less time running water to heat it up
  • Quicker showers
  • Hot water faucet only on part way with added hot water pressure

Checking other water spouts like in the kitchen sink and the bathrooms, I found the pressure wasn’t lessened due to the little screens being partially clogged on the water spouts. Allowing the water to flow freely also reduces pressure on the pipes. I live in an older home and I sure don’t need old pipes leaking.

Before buying new water spouts, clean them. For shower heads, soak in vinigar to remove deposits inexpensively and safely.  This will reduce your water bill and gas or electric bill (depending which is used to heat your hot water).

June 16, 2008

Green Plants With Less Water

Filed under: Water — Jan @ 9:41 am

Keeping plant and a lawn green in the summer can raise water bills. This is especially true in southern states where water costs go up at certain levels of use during summer months. Some communities and cities also restrict water use times. Here are a couple ways to reduce water use and still have green plants:

Keep water around plants

  • Reduce run off water by digging a lowered area (well) around trees and individual plants to hold water.
  • Build up (dam) outer area around edges of gardens, plants and trees to keep water where it is needed.
  • Build up area around edges of lawns to hole water in area

Reduce evapportation

  • Heavily mulch area around plants
  • Water in evening when the sun is down in dry areas
  • Water early morning in humid areas (to avoid mold)

Develop deep roots

  • Water heavily 1-2 per day for two days in a row. This allows the water to sink deep in the soil.
  • Allow water to stand (wells and dams described above assist in this) so it will sink deep into soil
  • Don’t water for 1-3 days (depending on heat and plant tolerance) to discourage surface root development

Shade area

  •  Use lawn chairs and tables when not in use to provide shade
  • Cover with shade cloth during hottest part of day
  • Put up temporary canapy
  • Plant in natural shade of house and trees

Plant heat/drought tolerant plants

  • Plants that do well during southern summers need minimal water
  • Put in pots if winters are long and cold, these plants will want to winter indoors

Harvest water run off from summer rains

  • Remove drain pipes to allow water to flow in large trash cans or other container to be used later for watering
  • Add collapsible hose or use drainage ditch to direct water to plants
  • Connect gardens and plants with shallow drainage ditches so water flows from area to another

A beautiful garden and green grass can be attained while minimizing water use and costs.

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