Save money by reducing your home energy costs
- 2001 8 Aug
At this time of the year many municipalities are facing serious water shortages. You can do your part - not only in times of shortages - as part of energy conservation. It will save you money and make you a better steward of this valuable resource.
How to conserve water use:
- Place mulch around trees, shrubs, and flowers to help the soil retain moisture and retard weed growth.
- Use natural landscaping that requires little water.
- Control your family's outdoor use of water, particularly when washing the car or playing in the sprinkler.
- Water your garden or lawn early in the morning or late in the evening when the water will not evaporate as quickly. In the heat of the day almost 50% of the water from a sprinkler is evaporated before it hits the ground.
- Water the lawn and garden more thoroughly and less frequently.
- Let your grass grow a little taller during hot months to increase moisture retention and protect the roots.
- Put only as much water into the tub as you need.
- Take brief showers instead of baths.
- Turn down the hot water instead of turning up the cold water when you want to cool the temperature of water coming from the tap.
- Install a flow restrictor in the shower head or a combination flow restrictor/aerator.
- Don't run the water constantly when you brush your teeth or shave. Turn it on and off as you need it.
- Wash fruits or vegetables over a pan or bucket and use the dirty water on indoor plants or in the garden.
- Refrigerate a pitcher of water so you don't have to run the tap every time you want a cool drink.
- Turn down the water heater thermostat. For every 10-degree reduction, you'll save more than 6% in water-heating energy. Start at 120 or 126 degrees unless you own a dishwasher that requires a higher temperature. Heating water is expensive and may account for 20% or more of your utility costs.
- Consider replacing an inefficient water heater with one that has a high Energy Efficiency Ratio. Even if you pay more up front, a high-efficiency model will save you money year after year. Some utility companies offer rebates when you upgrade to a high-efficiency unit.
- If you leave home for longer than a weekend, turn the storage water heater down or off. If it has a pilot light, be sure you know how to relight it safely.
- Always load your dishwasher properly and run it only when it is full. The typical dishwasher uses 14 gallons of hot water per load.
- Select cold/cold or warm/cold instead of hot water cycles when you wash your clothes.
- Run cold water rather than hot water into the garbage disposer.
From Living Smart, Spending Less Workbook by Stephen and Amanda Sorenson, copyright (c) 1994. Used by permission of Moody Press, Chicago, Ill., 1-800-678-6928.
Amanda S. Sorenson and Stephen W. Sorenson have worked through the issues presented in Living Smart, Spending Less Workbook and have gained control of their own personal finances. As author and editor of numerous books and hundreds of articles, Stephen has worked for Compassion International and NavPress. Amanda is a former editor of Bookstore Journal. They operate Sorenson Communications in Colorado Springs.