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More Energy and Water Saving Tips

Energy Saving Tips

CFLs have come a long way
The earliest generation of CFLs had issues that discouraged some from using them. The bluish quality of the light and a tendency to flicker for a while when first turned on were annoying to many.

The good news is that both these problems have been largely resolved. Although CFLs still need 30 seconds or so to reach full brightness, there is no more flickering and the quality of light is more natural.

Even better news is that you can now purchase 3-way and dimmable CFLs, expanding the places that these energy-saving bulbs can be used.

Get the most from your water heater
Mineral sediment accumulations can greatly reduce the amount of hot water that's available.

  • Have your tank flushed once a year. You can do this yourself, but be careful.
  • Replace the anode rod every 5 to 10 years. This will extend the life of your tank
  • Adjust the water temperature to meet your needs
    120 degree water at the tap is safe and adequate for most purposes. Hotter water is needed only if you have a dishwasher that does not have a pre-heat function. Water temperature in the tank should not be below 130 degrees (about midway between low and medium setting).

Should you insulate your tank?
Newer tanks (less than seven years old) are already insulated on the inside. If your tank feels warm to the touch, you may benefit from adding a fiberglass tank wrap. Be sure to check the tank or manufacturer's information for restriction on adding a tank wrap.

Is it time to retire your refrigerator or freezer?
Refrigerators and freezers are one of the largest energy users in the home. Today's Energy Star® rated refrigerator uses 40% less energy than one manufactured in 2001. Models purchased in 1993 use twice the energy of today's energy efficient models.

Don't know how old your refrigerator is? Use the refrigerator retirement calculator (in Links Leaving DEC's Website at right) to help you find out if it's time to get a new one.

Water Saving Tips

Detect and eliminate toilet leaks
Seventy-nine percent of water lost in the home is from toilet leaks. Often silent, these leaks can waste up to 300 gallons of water per day. If you pay for water, this can quickly become expensive. If your water is from a well, your pump will run more often, upping your electric bill.

To check if your toilet is leaking:
Add 10 drops of food coloring to the toilet tank (remove any products that color the tank water first). You can also use instant coffee or powdered grape drink. Wait half an hour (don't use that toilet) and check to see if any coloring has appeared in the toilet bowl. If it has, you have a leak.

The question is now - which part of the toilet is leaking? Here's another simple test:
Turn off the water to the toilet by turning the handle on the water inlet valve to the right. Draw a pencil line at the water level on the inside back of the tank. Check back later. If the water level is unchanged, your leak is in the refill valve. If the water level has gone down, the flush valve is leaking. Both these parts can be replaced.

Try using greywater on your landscape
Water that's recycled from showers, baths, sinks, and washing machines is called greywater. Greywater is good for use on your trees, flowers and shrubs, but NOT on your vegetable garden or lawn. Use greywater the same day that you collect it.

The exact nature of greywater will vary from household to household. Do not use water from automatic dishwashers or wash water where liquid fabric softener or bleach has been added.

Collection and distribution of greywater can be as simple as lugging buckets of water from the tub to your yard. If your house is at a higher elevation than the area you want to irrigate, you may be able to devise a gravity-feed system. Beware of pumping greywater. Dirt particles, hair and other solids may quickly clog pump filters as well as soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems.