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Posts Tagged ‘water’

You’ve always dreamed of having a swimming pool in your house like the celebrities on MTV Cribs, but you probably didn’t imagine it in your basement, caused by a broken pipe.

Let’s take a quick trip back to middle school science class. When water freezes, it expands. When that happens in your pipes, your pipes can burst. Interestingly enough, it’s actually not the formation of ice or radial expansion of ice in the pipe that causes the breakage. Rather, a complete ice blockage will cause a buildup of water pressure downstream. It’s that buildup of thousands of pounds of pressure that ultimately causes a pipe to burst.

Now, fast-forward to adult life. Your pipes burst on a cold winter night. That can translate to major property damage and major wallet damage. In fact, frozen or broken water pipes are second only to hurricanes in terms of the cost and the number of homes damaged across the country (Insurance Information Network of California). Here’s what you can do:

1) Locate your water shut-off valve and know how to use it in case pipes freeze and break. To locate the valve, find your outside water line; this usually flows directly from the water meter to a location inside of your house.

2) If your pipes are in cabinets (e.g. under a sink), it’s a good idea to keep interior cupboard doors open during cold spells to let the warm air circulate around the pipes. This is especially important if the water pipes are adjacent to an exterior wall. 

3) When temperatures drop below 20 degrees F overnight, let a faucet drip. This provides relief from the pressure that builds up. When both hot and cold lines serve a spigot, make sure each one contributes to the drip.

4) If you turn on a faucet and no water comes out, your pipe is likely frozen. Keep the faucet open, because the pipe will still need pressure relief. Call a plumber to get advice on how to safely thaw a pipe or for help with fixing the problem.

5) DO NOT try to thaw a frozen pipe with an open flame. This will damage the pipe and may even start a fire. Rather, use an electric hair dryer or portable space heater.

6) If you go out of town, leave your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees.

Thanks to brightnest

 

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The Problem with Plastics

Studies have shown that water and other beverages in plastic containers may not be safe or desirable. Chemicals in the plastics can leak out into the water. These chemicals may cause a variety of health problems such as cancers, an increased risk of miscarriage, and interference with the body’s hormonal system.

The manufacture of plastic bottles uses large amounts of energy and generates toxic pollutants. Plus, although these plastics may be recycled, millions of plastic bottles end up in landfills each year.

Metal Water Bottles Are a Better Choice

A healthy goal is to stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. It’s still a good plan to carry water with you as you travel, play sports, or go to the gym. In this era of green practices, the new focus is on staying hydrated in the most eco-friendly way.

•    Instead of buying spring water, use filtered tap water.

•    Replace those plastic bottles with portable metal water bottles.

•    Aluminum bottles, such as those made by Sigg, are safe to use and can be reused repeatedly. They can also be recycled eventually

•    Stainless steel bottles, such as those made by Klean Kanteen, are easy to clean and maintain. They can also fit into bicycle water bottle cages.

There are many sources for buying the new metal water bottles. Look in health food and natural food markets. Check out camping and backpacking supply stores. Some coffee shops carry both hot and cold bottles. And, of course, there are many online sources.

As metal bottles become more popular, there are many new brands popping up. Be sure to choose bottles that have non-toxic and non-leaching liners. Metal bottles come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and patterns. Ideally they should be both durable and lightweight. A wise consumer always researches brands and product quality before buying.

In Summary:

– Be certain that you are choosing a bottle that does not leach, check the recycling symbol on your bottle.

–  If it is a #2 HDPE (high density polyethylene), or a #4 LDPE (low density polyethylene), or a #5 PP (polypropylene), your bottle is fine.

–  The type of plastic bottle in which water is usually sold is usually a #1, and is only recommended for one time use. Do not refill it.

–  Better to use a reusable water bottle, and fill it with your own filtered water from home and keep these single-use bottles out of the landfill. Unfortunately, those fabulous colorful hard plastic lexan bottles made with polycarbonate plastics and identified by the #7 recycling symbol, may leach BPA.

Useful Tips

•    You can carry drinking water in those metal travel coffee mugs, also.

•    Recycle your old plastic Nalgene bottles.

•    Rinse your water bottles frequently and thoroughly.

•    Cut in lemon or lime slices for extra flavor.

•    Add electrolyte powder mixes for that sports drink boost.

•    Get a bottle that can clip on to your belt or tote for easy transport.

Thanks to Who’s green

what kind of bottles you use? share your views in the comments section below.

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ImageYour water heater is not likely something foremost on your mind, but it can be a potential threat to your home if not given the proper attention. Here are a few things you should know about your water heater so that you can keep it well maintained.

First of all, most water heaters will only last from ten to fifteen years because they are used many times a day and have to work hard. Also, since the water heater uses so much water in a typical day, you need to check it at least once a month so that you can identify problems before they get serious. Due to the fact that water heaters pump so much water every day, most builders will put the water heater in the basement of a home, so that if there is a problem with the water heater, it does not result in water damage to the whole house. The negative effect of this placement is that it tends to create an “out of sight, out of mind” scenario, therefore it’s important to make a conscious effort to perform monthly checks. If your water heater is getting old, you may want to consider just getting a new one instead of waiting for it to break down.

You will need to inspect the water heater periodically, and here is how you do it. First, search for any wet spots or rust on the tank or anywhere around the tank. Either of these are signs of a problem. Rust can make your water heater break down and small leaks can lead to larger problems that can cause serious damage. Next, in the water heater’s main tank, sediment can build up, eventually causing it to perform below par. The water heater should have an instruction manual which will explain how to get this sediment out of the tank. Do this every few months to increase the longevity of your water heater.

Next, check both the pipes going in and out of the water heater. If you think there may be a leak, you should call a professional immediately. In most homes, your water heater will be located next to a floor drain, so that if there is a problem with the machine, it will not cause water damage to your home.

Finally, you should check the bottom drain valve. If there is any sign of rust or corrosion, this could cause problems with the water heater. Doing this quick inspection of your water heater will help you prevent your water heater from breaking down and causing water damage to your home.

Get a brand new Energy efficient water heater from morEnergy call us at 1-866-225-7204

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ImageWith the monsoon season upon us, we like to remind everyone to think about harvesting rain water.  Here is your simple guide to start saving our most sacred resource: water!

 

 

 

The Eight Principles of Successful Water Harvesting

Courtesy of Brad Lancaster-harvestingrainwater.com

1. Begin with long and thoughtful observation.Use all your senses to see where the water flows and how. What is working, what is not? Build on what works.

2. Start at the top (highpoint) of your watershed and work your way down.Water travels downhill, so collect water at your high points for more immediate infiltration and easy gravity-fed distribution. Start at the top where there is less volume and velocity of water.

3. Start small and simple. Work at the human scale so you can build and repair everything. Many small strategies are far more effective than one big one when you are trying to infiltrate water into the soil.

4. Slow, spread, and infiltrate the flow of water. Rather than having water run erosively off the land’s surface, encourage it to stick around, “walk” around, and infiltrate into the soil. Slow it, spread it, sink it.

5. Always plan an overflow route, and manage that overflow as a resource.Always have an overflow route for the water in times of extra heavy rains, and where possible, use the overflow as a resource.

6. Maximize living and organic groundcover. Create a living sponge so the harvested water is used to create more resources, while the soil’s ability to infiltrate and hold water steadily improves.

7. Maximize beneficial relationships and efficiency by “stacking functions.” Get your water harvesting strategies to do more than hold water. Berms can double as high-and-dry raised paths. Plantings can be placed to cool buildings in summer. Vegetation can be selected to provide food.

8. Continually reassess your system: the “feedback loop.”Observe how your work affects the site, beginning again with the first principle. Make any needed changes, using the principles to guide you.

Principles 2, 4, 5, and 6 are based on those developed and promoted by PELUM, the Participatory Ecological Land-Use Management association of east and southern Africa. Principles 1, 3, 7, and 8 are based on my own experiences and insights gained from other water harvesters.

These principles are the core of successful water harvesting. They apply equally to the conceptualization, design, and implementation of all water-harvesting landscapes. You must integrate all principles, not just your favorites, to realize a site’s full potential. Used together, these principles greatly enhance success, dramatically reduce mistakes, and enable you to adapt and integrate arange of strategies to meet site needs. While the principles remain constant, the strategies you use to achieve them will vary with each unique site.

For a thorough introductory description of water-harvesting principles and additional ethics see Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1 (Rainsource Press, 2006).

Thanks to Who’s Green?

If you have any great tips to rain water harvesting or water conservation, please do share in the comments section below.

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  • Collect water used for rinsing fruits and vegetables and reuse it to water houseplants.
  • Throw trimmings and peelings from fruits and vegetables into your yard compost instead of using the garbage disposal.
  • Adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.
  • Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller water drops and mist often evaporate before they hit the ground.
  • Water your lawn and garden in the morning or evening when temperatures are cooler to minimize evaporation.
  • Wash your car on the lawn and you’ll water your lawn at the same time.
  • Turn off the water while you wash your car and save more than 370 liters.
  • Wash your pet’s outdoors in an area on your lawn that needs water.
  • When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your houseplants, trees or shrubs.
  • Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants retains moisture and saves water, time and money.
  • Collect and use rain water for watering your garden. Direct downspouts or gutters toward shrubs or trees.
  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean your driveway and sidewalk and save up to 300 liters of water!
  • Adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting. A taller lawn shades roots and holds soil moisture better than if it is closely clipped.
  • Mow your lawn as infrequently as possible. Mowing puts your lawn under additional stress, causing it to require more water.
  • When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it the most.
  • Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
  • Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
  • For hanging baskets, planters and pots, place ice cubes under the moss or dirt to give your plants a cool drink of water and help eliminate water overflow.

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In an effort to lower water bill, I’ve been researching different tactics. Hope it lowers your bill by 15% over the next few months. If you rent, forward this post or print it out for your landlord. Let them know that you’ll do what you can do help and they might just lower your rent, or at least not raise it!

  1. Only use the dishwasher when it’s completely full.
  2. Wash dishes in a large bowl or basin in the sink. That way, you don’t have to fill up the whole sink with water.
  3. Put a brick or water bottle with sand at the bottom in your toilet tank. (Put it in the tank opposite the flushing mechanism so that it will displace the water, therefore using less)
  4. Turn off the water after you brush your teeth.
  5. Turn off the shower when you are putting conditioner/detangling your hair.
  6. Use a low-flow showerhead.
  7. Use self-watering pots in the garden. (They don’t need to be watered as often)
  8. Fix a leaky toilet ASAP!
  9. Reuse your plate, cups and silverware at home. (Don’t grab a new cup every time you’re thirsty!)
  10. Re-wear some of your clothes for less laundry. (Jeans don’t have to be washed every time you wear them)
  11. Hand wash delicates.
  12. Insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam insulation.
  13. Wash clothes in cold water.
  14. Take a short bath instead of a long shower.
  15. Use a rain barrel to water your garden.
  16. Use energy-star rated dishwasher
  17. Use an energy star rated front-loading washing machine (They statistically use less water)
  18. Install aerators on all faucets (This is really cheap!)
  19. Use washers on spigots and hoses when watering.
  20. Wash your car with a bucket of water, not a constantly flowing hose of water.
  21. Spread organic mulch in your garden, and you’ll have to water less.

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Here are the latest “Summer Energy Tips” from morEnergy  to save energy. This top ten energy-saving checklist will not only save electricity, but save you money on your power bills over the hot summer months.  Since home energy costs can skyrocket during these months, keep the following tips in mind to keep your expenses under control.
Summer Energy Saving Checklist: 
1. Wash clothes in cold water to save $63 a year.
2. Install a programmable thermostat to save up to 10% on cooling and heating costs.

 3. Use your window shades. Close blinds on the sunny side in summer to keep out the hot sun, and open them in winter to bring in warm rays.

4. Turn off all lights, appliances and electronics not in use. A power strip can help turn off multiple items at once. (Sometimes the simplest things are really effective!)

5. Change to new and improved light bulbs. Reduce energy use from about a third to as much as 80% with today’s increasing number of energy-efficient halogen incandescents, CFLs and LEDs.

6. Look for the Energy Star label, the government’s symbol of energy efficiency, on a wide range of consumer products to save up to 30% on related electricity bills.

7. Use low-flow faucets and shower heads to save on water bills.

8. Clean or change filters regularly. A dirty furnance or A/C filter will slow down air flow and make the system work harder to keep you warm or cool.

9. Reduce water heater temperature to 130° F to save energy and money on heating water; and wrap the water storage tank in a specially-designed “blanket” to retain the heat.

10. Seal air leaks and properly insulate to save up to 20% on heating and cooling bills, while also increasing home comfort.

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