Conservation Tips

Cooling

  • Keep your thermostat set at 78 degree Fahrenheit; or higher, and on "auto," not "on." Each degree can mean up to 9% savings on cooling costs.

  • If your central or room air conditioner is more than 10 years old, it could be doubling your cooling costs.

  • Use ceiling fans to circulate air. They use about as much electricity as a light bulb and can make you feel comfortable at higher thermostat settings. Oh, and do not forget to turn fans off when you leave the room.

  • Clean or replace your air conditioner filter monthly so your air conditioner runs efficiently.

  • Plan ahead! Schedule heat-producing activities like laundry, ironing, and cooking at cooler times of day when possible.

  • Turn off lights when not needed, especially incandescent and halogen types.

  • Be aware of temperatures! If it's cooler inside than outside, then close all windows and drapes. If it's cooler outside, open everything up to ventilate and let the outside air cool your house.

  • Use drapes, shades, awnings and reflective materials to reduce the heat entering through glass.

  • Use room exhaust fans in the kitchen, laundry and bathroom to pull hot, humid air up and out.

  • Apply weather stripping and caulking around all doors and windows to keep the chilled air inside your house.

  • Install a setback thermostat (Clock thermostat) that automatically switches your air conditioner to a higher cooling setting while you are away.

Lighting

  • Turn off lights that are not needed.
  • Benefit from natural daylight as much as possible.
  • Use Induction Lamps and LED for outdoor lighting because of their longer lifespan and higher-efficiency compared to equivalent conventional lamps.
  • Use LED, CFL light lamps and T5 fluorescent light tubes for indoor lighting because of their longer lifespan and higher-efficiency compared to equivalent conventional lamps and tubes.
  • Clean your light bulbs regularly, since dirt limits diffusion of light and decreases illumination.
  • Use timers or motion-detectors with lamps where applicable.
  • Make sure to dispose the lamps properly.

Major Electrical Appliances Usage

Cooking

  • Use your microwave oven in place of your range oven whenever possible.
  • When you have to use your oven, cook more than one item at a time.
  • Use flat-bottom pans for best contact with the heat, with tight-fitting lids to keep the steam in the pan.
  • Clean or replace your air conditioner filter monthly so your air conditioner runs efficiently.
  • Use smaller amounts of water for cooking; use the lowest possible heat to maintain boiling or steaming.
  • Preheat oven only 5 to 8 minutes when baking; do not preheat oven for broiling or roasting.
  • Self-cleaning ovens have thicker insulation and will retain heat, making these models more energy-efficient than regular ovens.
  • Use the self-cleaning feature on your oven only when absolutely needed.
  • Pressure cookers use much less energy than ordinary pots and pans.
  • Use small cooking appliances (electric fry pans, toaster ovens, etc.) whenever possible.

Refrigeration / Freezing

  • Keep your refrigerator temperature at 38 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Freezer temperature should be maintained at 10 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Defrost your freezer when ice or frost buildup is 1/4" or thicker.
  • Check your refrigerator/freezer door gasket periodically for signs of deterioration.
  • Vacuum or brush the cooling coils (in back) at least every six months.
  • Allow hot food to cool for no longer than a half hour before placing in refrigerator.

Major Water Appliances Usage

Dishwashers:

  • Only run your dishwasher when it is full to make the best use of water, energy and detergent.
  • Cut down on the amount of rinsing you do before loading the dishwasher. Most modern dishwashers do an excellent job of cleaning dishes, pots and pans all by themselves.
  • When purchasing a new appliance, look for one offering several different cycles. This will allow you to select more energy and water efficient cycles when heavy duty cleaning is not required.

Clothes Washers:

  • Wait till you have a full load of laundry before running the machine to save both water and energy. If you can't wait for a full load, use the right water level to match the size of the load.
  • When in the market for a new machine, consider a high efficiency model that will use an average of 30% less water and 40-50% less energy.

Other:

  • Insulate your hot water pipes and your electric water heater. Insulation will reduce the amount of time it takes for hot water to reach the tap, saving water and energy.
  • If in the market for a new water softener, consider one with a "hardness sensor" that will automatically trigger regeneration as needed. This type of softener will make the most efficient use of both water and salt.

Facts:

  • Clothes washers can use as much as 30-35 gallons (114-133 liters) of water per cycle and dishwashers as much as 7.5 gallons (35 liters) per cycle.
  • A full dishwasher is more water efficient than washing the same load by hand.
  • Energy efficient appliances are usually water efficient too.

Showers and Faucets

  • Take a quick shower rather than a bath and save an average of 20 gallons (76 liters) of water.

  • Install a water-efficient shower head with a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons (9.5 liters) per minute. (Replace an existing shower head if a one gallon bucket placed under the flow takes less than 20 seconds to fill).

  • Install aerators on your kitchen and bathroom faucets to reduce indoor water use by as much as 4%.

  • Turn off the water when brushing your teeth or shaving and save more than 5 gallons (19 liters) per day.

  • Clean vegetables in a sink or pan partially filled with water rather than running water from the tap.

  • Reuse the water that vegetables are washed in for watering houseplants or for cleaning.

  • If you wash dishes by hand, rinse them in a sink partially filled with clean water instead of under running water.

  • Instead of waiting for tap water to get cold enough for drinking, keep a bottle of water in the refrigerator.

Whenever possible, compost food scraps or dispose of them in the garbage rather than using the garbage disposal which requires a high level of water for operation.

Facts

The third highest use of indoor water is bathing, and because most of us like to use warm water when we bathe, it's also the second highest use of energy in the home.

Toilet

  • Toilets can account for almost 30% of all indoor water use. More than any other fixture or appliance.
  • Older toilets (installed prior to 1994) use 3.5 to 7 gallons (13-27 liters) of water per flush and as much as 20 gallons (76 liters) per person per day.
  • Replacing an old toilet with a new model can save the typical household 7,900 to 21,700 gallons (29,902 - 82,135 liters) of water per year, cutting both your water and wastewater bills.
  • An average of 20% of toilets leak.
  • Install an ultra-low-flow toilet that requires only 1.6 gallons (6 liters) per flush.
  • To ensure optimal performance, when installing a low-flow toilet in areas with a low drainage gradient (such as basements), consider a pressurized model.
  • Check toilets periodically for leaks and repair them promptly.
  • Reduce the amount of water used by an older toilet by placing a one gallon plastic jug of water, or two one quart bottles, in the tank to displace toilet flows. Or you can install a "dam" that partitions off a section of the tank so it can't fill with water. These methods can save over 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) of water per person per year.
  • Don't use the toilet as a trash can.

Irrigation

General Watering

  • Water before 8am or after 6pm and avoid watering on windy days.

  • Water in several short sessions rather than one long one. For example, three ten-minute sessions spaced 30 minutes to an hour apart will allow your lawn to better absorb moisture than one straight 30 minute session.

  • Only water when your lawn is thirsty. Over watering promotes shallow root growth making your lawn less hardy. (To determine if your lawn needs to be watered, simply walk across the grass. If you leave footprints, it's time to water).

  • Install moisture sensors in each irrigation zone (sunny, shady, etc.) to better determine irrigation needs.

Sprinklers/Sprinkler Systems

Check sprinkler system valves periodically for leaks and keep the heads in good repair. Adjust the timer on automatic sprinklers according to seasonal water demands and weather conditions. Install a rain shutoff device on automatic sprinklers to eliminate unneeded applications. Make sure your sprinkler is placed so it only water the lawn, not the pavement. Avoid sprinklers that spray a fine mist, which increases evaporation.

Drip Irrigation

Install a drip irrigation system for watering gardens, trees and shrubs. Drip irrigation provides a slow, steady trickle of water to plants at their roots through a network of hidden pipes and hoses. The systems are regulated by a controller that can be adjusted for different levels of watering according to the needs of the plants. Drip irrigation systems reduce over watering, inefficient watering, weed growth, and the time and labor involved in hand watering.

Facts

As much as 30% of water can be lost to evaporation by watering the lawn during midday. Homes with in-ground sprinkler systems use 35% more water outdoors than those who do not have an in ground system. One reason may be that system controllers are not adjusted according to seasonal irrigation needs.


Landscaping

  • Maintain a lawn height of 2 1/2 to 3 inches to help protect the roots from heat stress and reduce the loss of moisture to evaporation.
  •  Avoid planting turf in areas that are difficult to irrigate properly such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  • Aerate clay soils at least once a year to help the soil retain moisture.
  • Promote deep root growth through a combination of proper watering, aerating, appropriate fertilization, thatch (grass clippings) control, and attention to lawn height. A lawn with deep roots requires less water and is more resistant to drought and disease.
  • Mulch around plants, bushes and trees to help the soil retain moisture, discourage the growth of weeds, and provide essential nutrients.
  • Plant in the spring or fall, when watering requirements are lower.
  • When choosing plants, keep in mind that smaller ones require less water to become established.
  • Use porous materials for walkways and patios to keep water in your yard and prevent wasteful runoff.

Facts

Landscaping account for 20-25% of all residential water use and provides the best opportunity for water conservation at home.

General Outdoor

  • Wash your car with a bucket of soapy water and use a nozzle to stop the flow of water from the hose between rinsing.
  • Clean driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of the hose.
  • Check for leaks in outdoor faucets, pipes and hoses.\Prevent the creation of leaks by shutting off and draining water lines to outside spigots in the winter.
  • Cover your spa or pool to reduce evaporation. An average size pool left uncovered can lose as much as 1,000 gallons (3,785 liters) of water per month.
  • Also, check your spa or pool for leaks and have them repaired promptly.
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