The Lowdown On Water Conservation – Save The Planet And Save Money Too!

With population levels expected to increase exponentially over the next 50 years, water is one of our most precious natural resources. But when it’s quite literally on tap, it’s easy to slip into bad water usage habits which can result in significant and unnecessary wastage – not to mention astronomical utility bills. So if you’re looking for some great ideas to help conserve water, we’ve compiled our top 10 tips for saving water below.

Top 10 ways to conserve water
Take these 10 easy steps to reduce water consumption in your household:

• Turn off the faucet or tap. When you’re preparing vegetables, doing the dishes, shaving, washing your hands or brushing your teeth, be sure to turn the faucet off. Many of us have got into the habit of leaving water running when we’re doing basic household chores or taking care of our personal hygiene. Running water is really not necessary for most of these tasks. Reminding yourself to turn off the tap is a great way to save gallons of water.

• Check for leaks. Some water leaks can go undetected for months. So be sure to check the integrity of taps, pipes and radiators in your property. One easy way is to take a water meter reading in the morning – take off for the day, and then check your meter when you get home. If there’s been a change in the reading, you’ve probably got a leak! Find it and fix it.

• Water-saving toilets. Believe it or not, toilets can guzzle up to 30% of your household water supply every year! Toilets have come a long way, and many new models include a dual-flush function, which allows you to select a half or full flush, thereby saving more water than conventional WCs. If you have an older model, why not fill a bottle with sand and stones and place it in your toilet tank to displace water and reduce the flush and fill of your tank.

• Avoid baths, take shorter showers. It might be hard to give up your luxurious candle-lit bath. Showers are more efficient by a mile – you can rinse and switch off, lather up, and then switch on again to rinse…and you’re done. Half the water, half the time!

• Change your shower head. Some shower heads can release up to 80 gallons of water per minute, depending on the design. So, measure your shower output and if you’re surprised by the results, you can easily purchase a low-flow showerhead for between $10 to $100.

• Invest in pipe insulation. Insulating your water pipes helps to deliver hot water fast, and keeps your water hot – especially in the morning, when the shower is in demand! Pipe insulation is widely available, cheap and easy to install.

• Stay cool. Keep a jug or bottle of cold water in the fridge. This will help you avoid running the tap until the water runs cold.

• Full loads only. When you’re using the washing machine or dishwasher, always aim for full loads. Most machines now have options for half-loads or economy cycles that will use less water – but where possible, avoid switching your machine on until it’s completely full.

• No butts. Purchase a water butt to collect rain water from your garden. You can use the water you collect to feed your lawn and flowers, as well as cleaning the patio or washing the car.

• Be water aware. Small changes in water usage and consumption can make a huge difference to your pocket – and the planet. Share your water tips with others and encourage them to join you in conserving one of our most important natural resources.

Advertisements

Free eBook – 133 Ways To Save The Planet

Remember 100 Ways To Save The Planet? Well we’ve made it 33% better with making 133 Ways To Save The Planet now available as a free download.

Updated and redesigned, the eBook yours free by entering your email address and signing up to our weekly mailing list. It contains tips and ideas of how to start making small steps to becoming more environmentally friendly. There’s nothing too taxing in there, being eco-conscious is easy.

133 Ways is also focused on saving money so we home you find the tips both useful and frugal. A couple of sample tips are below, so you can try before you buy, even if it is free!

“Buy used nappies for your baby. Clean, reusable ones anyway. www.usednappies.co.uk is an auction site that specialises in, you’ve guessed it, nappies. Buying previously used nappies is better for the environment and I would have thought, cheaper too.”

“Use a drain sieve. Keeping food and other bits out of your drains will mean they won’t become blocked and lead you to pour chemicals down it to unblock it. Also never pour grease or fat down there as it will solidify and block your drains and the main sewage system.”

“Be gentle with your boiling. A pan gently boiling and a raging cauldron will actually be the same temperature, so turn down the heat a bit and save some energy. You can actually turn the heat off after boiling with vegetables and pasta. Just keep the lid on the pan and check after a few minutes to see if it’s done as you like.”

Get it for free below.

Retro Cleaning – Some Useful Tips

These days, more and more products are available to apparently make our lives easier, do laundry quicker, faster and better. The problem is, convenience is great but the chemicals we use are not good for the environment.

Our previous generations used only a handful of products to do all the jobs we do today, but there’s value in looking back at what used to be done, and learning from the past. In tougher times of old, people sought out products that were cheap, effective and harmless.

So, here are a few green tips taken from my grandmother’s handbook on cheap, world-friendly ways to get things done…

Washing dishes

Instead of using washing-up liquid, why not try using a tablespoon of Borax in a sinkful of water– for very greasy dishes; maybe add a little washing-up liquid as well. Use a tablespoon of Borax in the rinsing water for glassware to prevent water streaks.

Borax was discovered over 4000 years ago, and is usually found deep within the ground, although it has been mined near the surface in Death Valley, California since the 1800s. Although it has numerous industrial uses, in the home borax is used as a natural laundry booster, multipurpose cleaner, fungicide, preservative, insecticide, herbicide, disinfectant and dessicant.

One of the beauties of Borax is that it can happily mix in with other household cleaning agents, and is really effective.

Cleaning pans

A strong solution of soda crystals is very effective for removing burnt-on grease and food from pans, dishes and grill pans. Soak stubborn debris overnight. Soda crystals are not suitable for aluminum pans, so it’s best to revert back to Borax for tough stains on this kind of metal. Sprinkle Borax on pots and pans and rub with a damp dishcloth – and don’t worry about scratching because Borax is not abrasive. Rinse items thoroughly.

Automatic dishwashing

Make your own automatic dishwasher powder by mixing a tablespoon each of Borax and bicarbonate of soda. Some people suggest it’s a good idea to use white vinegar in place of rinse aid, although this should only be done now and again. To clean the dishwasher, remove the filter and clean with liquid soda crystals, then clean the machine inside with white vinegar.

Cookers and worktops

Grease and burnt on food are easily ‘dissolved’ by liquid soda crystals – leave to soak for a few minutes on stubborn marks and dirt.

Cups and teapots

Tannin stains can be easily removed by leaving a regular solution of soda crystals to soak for one hour, or overnight. Then simply wipe away the film with a cloth and rinse with clean water. An alternative quick, effective method of removing stubborn stains from tea and coffee cups is to apply equal parts of white vinegar and salt into a paste and wipe around the cup with a cloth, and then rinse thoroughly.

Have A Green Thanksgiving

As this year will be my first real US Thanksgiving as a US resident, I found this interesting article from Ecologue aimed at “Greening up your Thanksgiving.”

An example tip is about decorating for the Thanksgiving feast:

Thanksgiving Turkey

“All flowers remind us of nature’s bounty, but not all flower companies are created eco-equal — most spray their crops with heavy loads of pesticides or ship their beauties in from far away countries. The nasty chemicals probably won’t end up in your digestive system — though carnations and chrysanthemums are tasty — but they will end up polluting soil and water. Turn over a new rose petal this year, and order a gorgeous Thanksgiving centerpiece or edible cornucopia platter from Organic Bouquet. They often pledge part of their profits to organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, and send your flowers in biodegradable, corn-based flower sleeves.”

Read the rest at: Ecologue.

Quick Water Saving Tips

Saving water at any time of the year is a good idea, but obviously in the summer and after there is usually a shortage. Some quick tips for saving water:

Water Drop

– Repair leaks. Leaking taps, sprinklers and hoses can add to your bill and use a surprising amount of water, around 20 gallons (76 liters) per day per leak.

– Water the garden before 6am or after 8pm. It takes about 20 – 25 gallons (76 – 95 liters) less water at these times of day, clearly depending on how large your garden is.

– Shorten showers. You’re clean enough already, 2.5 gallons (9.5 liters) per minute can be saved.

– Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. A surprising 2 gallons (7.5 liters) is wasted per minute this way.

– Use a car wash. Washing the car yourself uses a lot more water, plus car washes usually recycle the water. If you do wash it yourself, don’t leave the hose running – self-closing nozzles are cheap and handy.

Quick Tip Of The Day – Is Your Fridge / Freezer Running Well?

A reader (thanks Mathew! That’s not him pictured by the way.) sent us this little story a while back that I thought might be of interest to you all:

“Today my fridge/freezer packed up. Well, actually it is my landlord’s, so I did not get the back off of it straight away. I called the support line and they said that they could get the engineer out for £100. I told my landlord and he said he would handle it. I knew what this meant – a long time with warm beer! I decided to get the back off and see what was wrong. There was a huge ‘cat size’ quantity of fluff blocking the vent that had accrued over seven years or so. I removed this et voila! Fridge/freezer sprang back into life. Within minutes everything was tickety-boo. The only downside was that the compressor was no longer muffled as much as it used to be, hence more noise in the kitchen.

Lesson learned? Pull the fridge/freezer out and remove whatever fluff there is. The machine works more efficiently thereafter, therefore saving electricity. I advise you and all of your readers to do likewise, who knows it could be warm beer for you too if you don’t take the same precautions.”

And no-one likes warm beer do they? Another couple of tips he suggested were getting rid of any ice build-ups (sounds like a job for a quiet Sunday afternoon), and also checking the seal around the door is working properly. You shouldn’t be able to slid a piece of paper between the seal and the fridge or freezer.

Your Fuel Efficiency Checklist

I like getting press releases and corporate information sent to me, it helps me keep up to date. We get a LOT of it sent to us, and whilst they all are promotional, some are actually useful as well. Like this piece of information – Jiffy Lube have a list of driving tips that will help keep your vehicle’s gas/fuel bill down. Making small modifications to your driving habits can reduce the amount of fuel your vehicle burns and that’s not only good for the planet, but for your wallet too.

  • Keep it steady: Use cruise control and overdrive to maintain a consistent speed, and observe the speed limit to keep your vehicle moving at a steady pace, according to The Department of Energy (DOE).
  • No more stop and go: Avoid aggressive driving including speeding and rapid acceleration and braking for better fuel efficiency.
  • Junk in the trunk: Remove non-critical items from your trunk or truck bed to lighten your load, reducing the amount of fuel you burn. The DOE reports an extra 100 lbs in the trunk reduces a typical car’s fuel economy by 1-2 percent.
  • Breathe easy: As the vehicle’s lung, a clogged air filter will reduce the amount of air getting to the engine, thus reducing the engine’s ability to work properly. According to the DOE, replacing your vehicle’s motor oil with the recommended grade and viscosity can improve gas mileage by one to two percent
  • Stay pumped: Under-inflated tires result in more rubber hitting the road. The DOE reports keeping a vehicle’s tires inflated to the proper pressure can improve gas mileage by around 3.3 percent.
  • Make the grade: Check your vehicle owner’s manual to ensure you’re using the recommended grade of motor oil. According to the DOE, replacing your vehicle’s motor oil with the recommended grade and viscosity can improve gas mileage by one to two percent.
  • Get checked: Visit Jiffy Lube for fee Fuel Efficiency Review. Go to http://Locations.JiffyLube.com to find a service center in your area.