Jane Cheetham - RE/MAX Acclaim

Posted by Jane Cheetham on 10/3/2017

Between 30 and 70 percent of the water used by homeowners is used outdoors. Water usage in the summer time skyrockets as the heat rises and the grass starts growing. People are watering their gardens, their lawns, and themselves as a means to fight back against the heat of the season. Water usage, however, is becoming an increasingly serious issue as global temperature rises. In recent years, droughts have affected much of the continental United States, from California to the Carolinas. Most of us have become familiar with the concept of local water bans; limits on water usage for things like watering the lawn, washing cars, etc. However one good practice to get into is conserving water usage even when your area isn't in a time of drought. Follow these tips to start conserving water. They'll help you save money and help you do your small part for the environment as well.

Tips for conserving water outdoors

Since water usage peaks during the summer when we spend more time outdoors, we'll begin with tips for saving water in the backyard.
  • Sprinkler systems. Homes with sprinkler systems use significantly more water than those without. Sprinkler systems often water the grass when it doesn't need it or it overwaters. Properly setting up your sprinkler system will keep your water bill down.
  • Watering the grass. Before you water the grass, determine if it needs water. Will it rain soon? Step on the grass and see if it springs back. If it does, you might want to hold off.
  • Keep the grass long. The roots grow deeper when the grass grows longer. Deeper roots mean the grass taps into groundwater deeper into the earth, so you won't need to water as much.

Indoor water conservation

  • Replace old faucets and shower heads. Upgrading to more efficient faucets and shower heads will significantly cut down on water usage. If you're concerned about water pressure in the shower, go with a shower head designed for such a purpose.
  • Use a shower bucket. When you're heating up water for your shower, catch it in a bucket and use it to water your indoor and outdoor plants. Or, take the opportunity to wash your tub with this water.
  • Only run the dishwasher when it's full. Many people don't want to wait to wash the dishes, but doing so will conserve a lot of water in the long run.
  • Turn off the faucet while brushing teeth and washing hands. These are habits that might take some time to break, but they're well worth the effort. Keeping the water running while washing your hands and brushing your teeth uses exponentially more water than is needed.
  • Go to the car wash. Instead of washing your car at home where the water you use runs off into the ground, head to a car wash that utilizes recycled water to wash cars.
  • Wash dishes by hand efficiently. If you don't own a dishwasher or only have a few dishes that need to be washed, do so efficiently. Don't keep the water running while you're scrubbing the dishes, or fill the sink with a couple inches of water and use this for washing all the dishes you have.

Posted by Jane Cheetham on 11/21/2016

Once the leaves have turned and begin to fall from the trees, it’s a sign that winter is surely coming. There’s many things that you need to do to get your home ready for winter. You want all parts of your home to be secured in order to survive the season with minimal need for repairs. Heed the tips below for a painless winter. 

Change The Filters In Your Furnace

This can be one of the most overlooked areas in the house. It’s so important to replace or clean the furnace filters once a month while the heating is turned on. A dirty filter can restrict airflow and in turn increase your energy demand. Just set a monthly reminder during winter months to change the filter.

As an alternative, you can switch to a permanent filter. This can reduce the need to continually change filters and is better for the environment as it reduces waste.

Put Fans On Reverse

Fans may seem like a summer-only appliance, but many times, putting your ceiling fan on reverse direction can make the room warmer. Warm air that is near the ceiling will circulate back to the living space, bringing the temperature up and reducing your heating costs. All you need to do is flip a switch. 

Mind Your Water Lines And A/C Units

If you want to save money in the summer, do this in the winter: drain exterior hoses and pipes that lead to air conditioning units. Also be sure to turn off any exterior water units for the season. Seal any water leaks that may be around your home as well. To keep out cold drafts, remove window A/C units for the winter. 

Don’t Waste Energy On A Drafty House


A draft or two in your home can cause you to waste between 5 and 30 percent of your total energy usage. You can place draft snakes on doors to block cold air which you can easily make yourself. Also, a draft in your home can give your thermostat a false reading. 

Maintain Your Heating System

Just as cars need periodic tune-ups, so too do heating systems. Be sure you have all of the yearly recommended maintenance tasks performed on your heating system to keep it in good working order. Without the right care you could be driving up your energy costs and risking damage to your furnace. 

There’s many different things that you can do to save money, save energy and stay safe this winter. Most of these actions are fairly simple and straightforward. A little precaution can go a long way when it comes to preventative maintenance in your home.