04 Aug Summer Water Quality and Conservation Tips(Last Updated On: August 4, 2016)
Water is an essential part of summer. From pools to plants and games to grass, we all want a little water to stay cool in the summer. However, due to sizzling summer temps, water conservation is a necessity. Fortunately, there are some commonsense things to keep your health and home safe while maintaining your water quality.
Why is water conservation and preserving your water quality so important?
- Depending on the region, homeowners use between 30-70% of water outside.
- Experts estimate that 50% of the water used outside goes to waste due to evaporation, wind or runoff due to overwatering.
To help reduce water usage, which also helps reduce your utility bill, then review water bills and compare winter and summer usage to understand how much water you use outside.
Along those lines, the Water Quality Association provides a free limited edition of Water Treatment For Dummies to answer common questions about the quality of water in your home or business.
Plus, the EPA offers some helpful water conservation tips to save water during the summer.
Commonsense Water Conservation Actions
According to the U.S. EPA’s WaterSense program, water consumption in the average American home on summer days can spike to 1,000 gallons per day, compared to 260 gallons per day during “off peak” season.
How do homeowners preserve water usage in the summer? Simple, follow some of these water conservation tips.
- Set your lawn mower one notch higher to make your lawn more drought-tolerant.
- Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your sidewalk, driveway or patio.
- Run dishwashers and clothes washers only when they are full and use cold water.
- Keep a bottle of cold tap water in the refrigerator.
- Turn off the tap while you brush and save 8 gallons per day.
- Regularly check your toilet, faucets and pipes for leaks and have them fixed promptly.
- Collect rainwater in barrels to water gardens.
- Re-use water from dehumidifiers or air conditioning condensers for irrigation.
How to Keep Your Lawn Green and Water Usage Down
For many homeowners, part of the joy of owning a home is showing off a beautiful lawn. In the summer, this means water.
As a general rule, remember that it is better to water your lawn large amounts of water for longer periods of time vs frequent applications of small amounts. As Popular Mechanics points out, shallow watering encourages shallow rooting. In very hot weather, a ballpark range for watering is every other day for perennials and every three to four days for shrubs.
Here are some smart ways to conserve water and help reduce your water bills at the same time.
- Adjust sprinklers to ensure they water the lawn, not the sidewalk.
- Water early in the morning (before 10 AM) or later in the evening (after 6 PM).
- Inspect your overall irrigation system for leaks, broken lines or blockage in the lines.
- Consider replacing some turf area with low water use plants and ornamental grasses.
- Group plants with like watering needs.
- Add a shut-off nozzle to the hose to save about 5-7 gallons each minute of use.
- Adjust your mower to a higher setting because taller lawns provide shade to the roots and help retain soil moisture, so the lawn requires less water.
In addition to ways to save around the yard, there are also some simple ways to save water during the summer.
- Save at the Car Wash
Hand washing a car uses about 150 gallons of water versus about 50 gallons at an automatic car wash. Plus, the automatic wash is quicker and much easier.
- Shorter Showers
Shortening your shower by 2 minutes can save 150 gallons per month. Plus, it’s summer so there are many more things to enjoy compared to an extended shower.
- Rinse Fruit the Right Way
Summer is a great time for fresh fruits and vegetables. However, instead of rinsing produce under flowing water from a faucet, consider filling a bowl of water to wash produce. Plus, pour the leftover water on a plant outdoors instead of down the drain.
How to Prevent Water Damage and Ensure Water Quality During Vacation
Accidents happen. The last thing any homeowner wants is water damage to occur while the family is on vacation. To help, here are some basic plumbing tips from the friendly folks at Family Handyman.
- Shut off the water
Shutting off the main valve that controls all the water for your home is the best protection against catastrophic water damage.
Everyone in your home should know where the main water shutoff valve is located so they can stop the water in an emergency. To find the water valve, then look for the water meter and the main shutoff will be located nearby.
There are two types of main shutoff valves, the gate valve and the ball valve.
The gate valve is common in older homes and has a round handle that must be turned a number of times to open or close the valve because gate valves are designed to be fully open or fully closed.
The ball valve is more common in newer construction and has a lever handle that needs to be turned 90 degrees to turn the water on or off. You can immediately tell if it’s open or not because in the closed position, the lever is perpendicular to the pipes and in the open position the lever parallel.
If you’ve never shut off the main water valve before, test it before you leave on vacation. If you have any questions, the valve is stuck, leaks or fails to completely shut, then contact a licensed plumber.
- Shut off water supply valves
It is also important to shut off individual water valves for water-using appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.
If you can’t shut off the main water supply because you have an automatic sprinkler system or someone watering the plants while you’re gone, shut off the valves to the most common sources of water damage such as dishwashers and washing machines, in case a hose cracks or breaks.
Individual shutoff valves or “stops” are installed on the supply lines leading to most appliances as well as to toilets and faucets. Typical supply stops have a small round or oval handle that you turn clockwise to shut off the flow of water.
- Test your sump pump
Sump pump systems help keep groundwater out of your basement. Before a vacation, test your sump pump by filling the sump pit with water and making sure the pump is actually pumping out the water.
To test your sump pump, simply dump water down the sump pit to raise the water level, and make sure the pump is ejecting the water properly.
If the sump pump is not working, then:
- check to see if it is plugged, along with checking the breaker.
- clean the hole in the discharge line and check that the motor is running smoothly.
- consider adding a backup battery to your sump pump so that it functions during power outages, which seem to go hand-in-hand with heavy rainstorms.
- Shut off the water to exterior faucets
Outdoor faucets are the first plumbing parts to freeze (in the winter) and burst when the temperature drops.
During vacations or times you’ll be away from home, always close the supply shutoff valve inside the house. After turning off the supply shutoff, open the outside faucets to drain the remaining water out of the pipes. Never leave a hose connected to an outdoor faucet because it traps water in the faucet, which can freeze and crack open the faucet (in the winter).
Water Quality Solution Experts
Water is vital and clean water is incredibly important. It may seem out of mind, but the water that is being used to water your lawn and garden is what makes your plants grow. Families play outside and eat fruits from the garden, so it is important to ensure your water quality is up to par.
No matter what the water condition problem is, SolvIt has the experience and skill to bring about long-lasting solutions. We install the very best water softening and filtration equipment plus we repair all makes and models should anything go wrong with your current system.
For a free in-home water analysis and proposal on the water treatment solution that’s right for you, contact SolvIt today. SolvIt provides our water quality solutions to all of our local service areas.