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Be Water-Wise

Summertime is fun time—with vacations, school holidays and more free hours to enjoy what you love. Yet, in Texas, it also can be sweltering, which can lead to more water consumption.

Particularly, in the heat of summer, lawns, gardens and swimming pools demand a lot of water. Yet, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), “during summer, even indoor water costs are still 50 to 70 percent of your monthly water bill.”

There are some easy steps you can take to save this precious resource. Saving even drops can add up to gallons over time and result in savings on your water bill, too! Try these tips:

Laundry

  • Use an Energy Star® washing machine. A full-sized Energy Star washing machine takes 13 gallons of water per load, compared to the 23 gallons used by a standard machine. They also use about 25 percent less energy, which saves you money on utility bills.
  • Wash clothes in cold water to save energy. Almost 90 percent of the energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating water.
  • Use the washing machine only when you have a full load.

Bathroom

  • When brushing your teeth or shaving, don’t run the water. Put the sink stopper in for water to rinse your razor. You could save up to 300 gallons per month.
  • Install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators. Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons per minute, but a showerhead that earned the WaterSense label uses no more than two gallons per minute. By switching, your family can save thousands of gallons of water per year.
  • Take shorter showers. Aim for about five minutes if possible. Make it fun by creating a playlist to listen to and time your water usage.
  • Turn off the water when washing your hair.
  • Install a high-efficiency toilet if you don’t have one. Newer, high-efficiency toilets can save up to 13,000 gallons of water a year.
  • Test for leaks. A good practice is to put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak that needs to be fixed.

 Kitchen

  • If you don’t have an Energy Star dishwasher, install one. They are about 30 percent more water-efficient than other models.
  • Run the dishwasher only when full to save water and energy.
  • Scrape food without rinsing and use a “light wash” feature whenever possible to conserve water.
  • Check your faucets and fix any leaks you find. A faucet leaking at a rate of one drop per second can waste up to 3,000 gallons of water per year. According to the TCEQ, that’s the amount of water needed to take more than 180 showers!
  • Collect water. When you wash fruits and veggies, collect the water and use it to water houseplants.
  • Don’t use running water to thaw food. Defrost your items in the refrigerator.
  • Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator, rather than running the tap.
  • Place leftover ice cubes in potted plants.

Outside

  • Choose drought-resistant plants and trees for your landscaping. Native plants create a more natural look and require less water.
  • Layer several inches of mulch around trees and plants to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cooler.
  • Schedule watering early in the morning or late in the day to prevent water loss from evaporation.
  • Catch runoff from rain, and use it to water your plants.
  • Install drip irrigation systems to regulate water use.
  • Regularly check sprinkler systems for broken and clogged sprinkler heads. Replace broken heads right away.
  • Prevent runoff. Consider installing pathways made of a porous material, such as gravel, instead of non-permeable concrete, so the soil can absorb water before it runs off.
  • Add gaps between pavers to provide spots for water to soak in.

Ready to explore a home with water-saving, energy efficient features? Our New Home Specialist, Kim Bennett, would be happy to help! Click here to learn more about our Houston communities or click here to learn more about our Austin communities.

 

 

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