5 ways to conserve water this winter
Water conservation is something that’s harped on during the summertime, but what about during the winter? When irrigation systems shut down, it’s easy to put conservation on the back burner while indoor water waste continues to occur.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the average person uses 80 to 100 gallons per day for everything from cooking, to showering and flushing the toilet.
While there are a number of ways to integrate water conservation into your daily routine, here are five tips from green water conservation firm WaterSignal that can prove useful to building owners and managers during the winter months:
Insulate water pipes in unheated areas.
When temperatures drop below freezing, pipes in unheated areas are subject to freezing causing messy, and often expensive, issues. The most common pipe freezes occur on those that are exposed to frigid temperatures such as outdoor hose bibs and water supply lines in unheated interior areas like basements, crawlspaces and even kitchen cabinets. To reduce the likelihood of freezing, wrap water supply lines in unheated areas with insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. For an extra layer of protection, apply heat-tape prior to wrapping pipes with insulation.
Drip your faucets.
Contrary to popular belief, dripping faucets during freezing temperatures can actually save you money on water by acting as inexpensive insurance.
A recent study conducted by Huntsville Utilities in Alabama found that a dripping cold water faucet only uses 5 cents worth of water in eight hours.
If you know where the water comes into your building, pull water through the entire system by turning on faucets at the opposite end. By keeping the water moving, you greatly reduce the likelihood of freezing.
For added conservation, collect the dripping water into a bucket or cup. You can use the collected water for watering house plants or flushing the toilet.
Check for leaks after the first thaw.
The drastic temperature changes between night and day during the winter cause pipes to expand and contract. As a result, when the thaw does come, pipes are likely to break above and below ground causing massive water loss and high utility costs. After the first thaw, have a plumber or a member of your maintenance staff walk the property to inspect water lines and ensure no leaks have occurred over the winter.
Locate the property shut-off valve.
In the event of a catastrophic leak, knowing the location of your property shut-off valve could save you money on water and water damage repairs. The faster you can turn off the water, the less goes to waste.
Install a water monitoring system for 24-hour leak alerts and real time data.
For added assurance during the turbulent season, consider using water monitoring technology. The solution can continuously read the water meter and wirelessly send real-time data to a website portal, allowing the manager to view the property’s water consumption by month, day, or even by hour.
If a major leak occurs, much like an energy surge popping a circuit breaker, the device immediately alerts the manager or engineer that a water spike above the preset limit has occurred. The alert can be sent to both a computer and a smartphone for the manager to act upon, and can be customized for business hours, as well as after hours and weekends.