Does the approach of summer fill you with joyous thoughts of barbecues, vacations, and sunbathing—or anxiety over the water bills you're likely to receive? Many homeowners dread the increased water usage that usually accompanies rising temperatures and drier days. Here are three strategies you can implement to control your water expenses.
1. Install a Drip Irrigation System
As you probably know from past experience, regular watering can make all the difference between a green lawn or flourishing garden and a wasteland of dead plants. Many homeowners install sprinkler systems for just this reason—without thinking about the huge amount of water lost through indiscriminate spraying. If you'd like the water you pay for to go toward your plants, not into the atmosphere or onto the driveway, you're better off investing in a drip irrigation system.
A drip irrigation system consists of a series of plastic tubes perforated with tiny holes or sporting multiple emitter units. Your drip irrigation service attaches this network of tubes to a main water line. The system feeds water in little dribbles directly into the soil instead of shooting it all over your yard. This minimizes runoff and evaporation so you don't have to waste large quantities of water just to keep your plants green under the blazing summer sun. Contact a representative from a service like H2O Lawn Sprinklers to get started.
2. Start Harvesting Rainwater
April showers bring more than May flowers—they also bring savvy homeowners a bounty of free water that they can store and use well into the summer months. You might be amazed at how much water you can gain from this simple, low-cost strategy. Up to 500 gallons of rainwater can be captured from a 1,500-square-foot roof after only half an inch of rainfall. You can't (or shouldn't) drink this water without running it through a filter first, but you can use it for all kinds of other activities, from washing your car to watering your plants. Since such activities tend to use lots of water, rainwater harvesting can make a dramatic dent in your utility bill. But the time to start harvesting is during the spring, when rains are plentiful; if you wait until summer to implement your plan, you may not get much free water out of it.
A rudimentary rainwater harvesting system is nothing more than a closed, watertight barrel or drum with a hole in the top. The hole receives rainwater runoff from a downspout attached to your roof's gutter. While the barrel or drum can be made of all kinds of materials, make sure it isn't translucent to prevent algae from growing in the harvested water.
3. Rethink How You Clean Your Car
It may be a priority of yours to keep your car clean and beautiful at all times. You may also wash your car by hand, in the relative comfort of your driveway, in an effort to save the money you'd spend at a commercial car wash. But bear in mind that that a home car wash isn't "free" as long as you're paying for the water you use. If you're already spending too much on your summertime water bills, this expense is adding insult to injury. Water harvesting would obviously help, but what if you can't set up a harvesting system for whatever reason?
The answer is to rethink your summertime car washing routine. Modern car paint finishes and sealants do a pretty good job of protecting a vehicle's outer skin from the elements, so you can afford to approach a summertime wash as a touch-up, not a bath. Focus on small, water-sparing aesthetic improvements, such as these:
- Cleaning the windshield and windows with glass cleaner
- Spray detailing the most visible surfaces such as the hood, trunk, roof, and rear bumper
- Cleaning and detailing the wheels and tires
- Cleaning out the car's interior and adding protectant to the dashboard surfaces
Don't let the summer heat and sun dry out your bank account—put these strategies for saving water into effect. You'll be glad you did!