How to Save Money & Water This Winter

Jan 8, 2015 by

by Casey Coates Danson

We all could use a little extra cash in our pockets, and saving money is even better when you conserve Earth’s valuable resources at the same time. People usually talk about conserving water in the summer, but the winter months can be the perfect time to cut back on water use and update your plumbing and appliances to be more eco-friendly. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American household uses around 300 gallons of water each day. Make a few changes around your home, and you’ll save both water and money.

Winterize the Pipes

To prevent leaks and bursts due to freezing, wrap outdoor pipes and meters during particularly cold temps. You should also insulate your shower and sink pipes. This not only helps prevent freezing, it will help the water get hot faster, so you don’t have to let it run while waiting for it to warm up.

Another way to prevent freezing, especially if you will be gone from the house for a while: Let your faucets drip. Care2.com suggests you save the dripping water in a large pot to use for flushing the toilet or watering plants.

Fix the Leaks

Check for leaks in your sinks, shower and toilets. A leaky toilet may waste up to 200 gallons of water every day, the EPA reports. You can check for a leak in your toilet by putting a couple drops of food coloring in the tank. If you see any color in the bowl after a few minutes, you have a leak.

Check for leaks regularly throughout the season, but especially after a freeze—extremely cold temperatures can cause pipes to leak. Repair any old pipes or parts that could cause a leak, or have a plumber check all of your pipes and replace any leaks.

Pool and Hot Tub Care

Whether you are using your pool or hot tub this season or not, make sure they are winterized to prevent freezing damage, leaks and wasted water (not to mention a lot of work come springtime). Check for problems in the pumps and pipes, just as you would around your house, and make sure to replace any leaking spa pump seals. You may wish to drain and blow water out of any piping and drain the pump, heater and filter. To blow out the water, you can use an air compressor or shop vacuum cleaner, or a specialty blowing tool for pools and spas. Make sure all the filters and pipes are clean and free of debris to avoid a mess in the spring.

Cut Back on Outdoor Watering

You lawn and plants don’t need watering as often in the winter. The soil around your plants holds moisture longer than it does in the summer, and overwatering can damage or even kill them. Turn off your sprinkler and irrigation systems to prevent over watering, especially during rainy seasons. According to San Diego County Water Authority, many systems can remain off for up to a week depending on rainfall and moisture.

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