conserve water http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12269/all en-US Save Hundreds by Getting Yourself Out of Hot Water http://www.wisebread.com/save-hundreds-by-getting-yourself-out-of-hot-water <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/save-hundreds-by-getting-yourself-out-of-hot-water" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/3406535350_33fb5d6216.jpg" alt="inside washer" title="inside washer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An average household spends about $300 a year on hot water &mdash; about 12% of a family&rsquo;s total annual energy budget. But if you have family members who take long showers and generate loads of dirty laundry, that expense could easily double. If hot water expenses are putting the family finances in hot water, it&rsquo;s time to make some changes. The good news is that if everybody pitches in with some minor behavior alteration, water-heating expenses will definitely diminish.</p> <h3>1. Find a Better Way to Start the Day</h3> <p>Raise your hand if you use the shower to wake up every morning. If you don&rsquo;t need a shower to get clean, there are better ways to get your body going in the morning &mdash; like taking a few minutes to stretch or do light exercises, for example. This new wake-up regimen will save you time and money, and it could even help you lose weight and get in better shape.&nbsp;</p> <h3>2. Try Sponge Baths</h3> <p>If exercise or other activities make you feel like you need a shower, consider a quick, targeted wipe-down instead. This isn&rsquo;t always the answer, but you&rsquo;ll be surprised at how effectively some speedy sponge work can get you clean. Saving time and money is good motivation for making this change.</p> <h3>3. Start Singing in the Shower</h3> <p>By the time you finish belting out one of your favorite songs (in 3-6 minutes or so), you should be just about done washing up. There are exceptions to this rule, of course. Shaving in the shower takes more time, for example. But for your basic shower, sticking to the single-song rule will add up in savings.&nbsp;</p> <h3>4. Upgrade Your Showerhead</h3> <p>A low-flow showerhead uses 30% less water than a conventional version. Don&rsquo;t let the &ldquo;low-flow&rdquo; label on these showerheads get you down. The best water-saving showerheads produce an invigorating blast while delivering just 1.5 gal. per minute or so. They do this by blending air into the water stream and using pulsing technology. For maximum savings, buy a showerhead with a built-in valve that shuts off the water flow while you soap up.</p> <h3>5. Clean Up at the Club</h3> <p>Are you paying for a health club membership without enjoying all the benefits? If you belong to a health club that has showers, shower more at the club so you can shower less at home.</p> <h3>6. Rinse and Reuse</h3> <p>Ever notice how many different coffee cups get used over the course of the day? Instead of filling up the dishwasher with multiple cups and glasses, try rinsing a single glass or coffee cup out when you&rsquo;re finished and simply reusing it later. Combine this rinse-and-reuse strategy with the practice of doing full rather than partial loads in your dishwasher, and you&rsquo;ll maximize your savings.</p> <h3>7. Give Your Clothes the Cold Treatment</h3> <p>About 85% of the energy consumed by your washing machine goes into heating water. If you do lots of laundry, you&rsquo;re looking at major savings potential here. Switch to a detergent designed for cold water and use the &ldquo;cold/cold&rdquo; setting on your machine.</p> <h3>8. Call in a Pro</h3> <p>Even the most frugal hot-water habits can&rsquo;t compensate for the extra money an inefficient hot water heater is going to cost you. If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it&rsquo;s worth considering an upgrade to a new Energy Star model. If you have a tank-type water heater (the most common variety), a full-service plumber can assess the condition of this appliance and help you weigh the pros and cons of replacement. Less costly energy-saving upgrades include insulating your existing water heater, insulating hot water pipes, and simply turning the temperature setting down to 120 degrees or even lower. On most electric tank-type water heaters, you&rsquo;ll find the temperature setting dial beneath a metal cover plate on the side of the tank. The &ldquo;factory&rdquo; setting of 140 degrees uses more energy than necessary.</p> <p><em>For more ideas, check out Wise Bread's </em><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-lower-water-heater-costs"><em>7 Ways to Lower Water Heater Costs</em></a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Tim Snyder. A journalist specializing in sustainability, energy efficiency, and home building topics, Tim writes frequently for <a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/">Dr. Energy Saver</a>, a nationwide network of energy improvement contractors. Read more about saving energy on Dr. Energy Saver:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/blog/2010/10/how-good-is-burning-wood/">How Good Is Burning Wood?</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/blog/2010/09/lessons-from-count-rumford/">Lessons from Count Rumford</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.drenergysaver.com/blog/2010/08/the-greenest-insulation/">The Greenest Insulation</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-snyder">Tim Snyder</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/save-hundreds-by-getting-yourself-out-of-hot-water">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-youre-wasting-electricity-without-realizing-it">8 Ways You&#039;re Wasting Electricity Without Realizing It</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-common-household-leaks-you-can-fix-without-a-plumber">4 Common Household Leaks You Can Fix Without a Plumber</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/landscaping-for-energy-conservation">Landscaping for Energy Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Xeriscaping to Promote Water Conservation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-easy-ways-to-lower-your-electric-bill">15 Easy Ways to Lower Your Electric Bill</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home conserve water energy costs hot water utilities water heater Tue, 11 Jan 2011 13:00:09 +0000 Tim Snyder 301975 at http://www.wisebread.com Xeriscaping to Promote Water Conservation http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000003737021XSmall.jpg" alt="Xeric Landscaping" title="Xeric Landscaping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Living in Southern California has made me well-aware of how precious fresh water is and how there is a great need to conserve it. However, standing on my front porch viewing green patch after green patch of well-watered lawns you'd think California wasn't experiencing a water shortage. To confirm we truly are going into our fourth year of drought, our local water and power company has put a moratorium on limiting the watering of lawns to two days a week. Though there are monetary incentives to switching over to a semi-arid, xeric landscape, only a few homes in my neighborhood have drastically changed out their lawn to a more drought-tolerant and arid-friendly garden.</p> <p>Why are so few people willing to alter their landscaping? Most likely because tearing out a pre-existing lawn is labor intensive, and some people really love their green, water-hungry lawn despite the water shortage. Yet, there are so many more benefits to what is known as Xeriscaping, or &quot;dry&quot; gardening. Xeric landscaping means planting native flowers and plants to your region that require very little water. These are the plants you see on the hillsides, prairies, or open spaces where no one has tended to them, but they flourish anyway.</p> <p>Before planting a Xeric garden, however, having a plan is essential so that your garden doesn't end up looking like an overgrown, scruffy lot. A couple of great online resources include <a href="http://www.sunset.com">Sunset.com</a> and <a href="http://www.bhg.com">Better Homes and Gardens</a>. Both of these online sites have gardening plans that help ease the stress of trying to figure out where to plant what. Better Homes and Gardens even has a custom Plan-a-Garden online application that lets you map out your yard based on its shape and size.</p> <h3>Benefits of Xeriscaping</h3> <p>An obvious benefit of a Xeric landscape is reducing the amount of water used on your landscape. Saving water means lowering your water bill, a two for one deal. A truly xeric garden needs very little water. A drip system that loses little water due to evaporation comes in handy for this kind of garden, since the point is to conserve water. If you are just getting started, new plants need a little more deep watering to help them become established. Once plants have been established, weekly watering during summer months or dry periods can help them flourish.</p> <p>Another benefit of Xeric gardening is a reduction in overall maintenance. Initially changing out any landscape can be labor-intensive and expensive. Once a Xeric landscape is established, less energy is spent tending to those plants. With Xeric gardening, many native plants need little fertilizing or pruning to help them bloom. Native plants often repopulate themselves on their own so replanting becomes a moot issue. Instead of spending an entire Sunday mowing, watering, weeding, and pruning, you could instead be enjoying your garden and relaxing.</p> <p>Many communities in the southwest also promote water-saving landscapes through incentive programs. Find</p> <p>To find native plants in California, visit Be Water Wise's <a href="http://www.bewaterwise.com/great_native.html">Great California Native Plants</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xeriscaping-to-promote-water-conservation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-easiest-plants-to-grow-indoors-and-outdoors">The 7 Easiest Plants to Grow Indoors and Outdoors</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-prep-your-garden-for-winter">10 Easy Ways to Prep Your Garden for Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-edible-garden-plants-anyone-can-grow">10 Edible Garden Plants Anyone Can Grow</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home conserve water drought tolerant plants gardening xeric landscaping Wed, 23 Jun 2010 13:00:03 +0000 Little House 146695 at http://www.wisebread.com