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Outside Your Home

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  • Check water requirements of various models and brands when considering purchasing any new appliances. Some use significantly less water than others.
  • Check all water line connections and faucets for leaks. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water each day (5,000 gallons per month) and will add cost to your water bill.
  • Learn to repair faucets so that drips can be corrected promptly. It is easy to do, costs very little, and can mean a substantial savings in plumbing and water bills.
  • Check for hidden water leakage such as a leak between the water meter and the house. To check, turn off all indoor and outdoor faucets and water-using appliances. The water meter should be read at 10 to 20 minute intervals. Click on the "Leak Detection" page for more information. If it continues to run or turn, a leak exists and needs to be located and repaired.
  • Insulate all hot water pipes to reduce the delays (and wasted water) experienced while waiting for the water to run hot.
  • Be sure the water heater thermostat is not set too high. Extremely hot settings waste water and energy because the water often has to be cooled with cold water before it can be used. Setting the thermostat too high can also be dangerous, as too hot water can result in scalds or burns.
  • Use a moisture meter to determine when house plants need water. More plants die from over-watering than from being on the dry side.

Lawn and Garden

  • Water yards only when needed. Look at the grass, feel the soil, or use a soil moisture meter to determine when to water.
  • Do not over-water. Soil can absorb only so much moisture and the rest simply runs off. A timer will help - either a kitchen timer or an alarm clock will do. One and a half inches of water applied once a week in the summer will keep most Texas grasses alive and healthy.
  • Water lawns early in the morning during the hotter summer months. Otherwise, much of the water used on the lawn can simply evaporate between the sprinkler and the grass.
  • To avoid excessive evaporation, use a sprinkler that produces large drops of water, rather than a fine mist. Sprinklers that send droplets out on a low angle also help control evaporation.
  • Set automatic sprinkler systems to provide thorough, but infrequent watering. Pressure-regulating devices should be set to design specifications. Rain shutoff devices can prevent watering in the rain.
  • Use drip irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees, or shrubs. Or turn soaker hoses upside-down so the holes are on the bottom. This will help avoid evaporation.
  • Forget about watering the streets or walks or driveways. They will never grow a thing. Sweep - instead of washing down - sidewalks, walkways, driveways, etc.
  • Vehicle washing should be done with a hand-held bucket or a hand-held hose equipped with a positive shutoff nozzle for quick rinses.