Summer months are vital, as this is the time when the most water is consumed
for watering lawns, filling swimming pools, preventing heat strokes, and
for various recreational activities. Here is some helpful advice on summertime
Your Lawn Needs It
Don't Over Water - A good rule of thumb for most lawns is that a lawn needs about one inch
of water a week while perennial plants and shrubs need between 1 - 2 inches
of water a week. For most plants and annuals, the tag from the nursery
will tell you how much water, sun, soil, and pH requirements.
If in doubt, trial and error work by keeping the soil around the plant
lightly moist to see how it responds while adding water gradually without
overdoing it. If conditions are particularly windy and hot where you live,
drying the soil quickly, keep a watchful eye out for wilting. If it wilts,
add water to the ground, but be careful not to drown the plant.
Don't Waste Water - Well that is what we are talking about, after all, isn't it? When
watering, don't soak the plant's foliage. The roots need water,
not the leaves. If you see the water puddle or running off, stop. This
is water waste. Let the water soak in before proceeding. If it is running
off, it has had all it can drink. Likewise, when running lawn sprinklers:
water your lawn, not the street, driveway, or side of your house. A good
plumber or landscape specialist can assist you in placing and installing
sprinklers where they will be most efficient and effective.
Some watering tools are more useful than others, and correctly installing
and using these tools makes a world of difference in water conservation.
A standard garden hose and nozzle are the less efficient or effective
means of watering lawns and plants because of the amount of water wasted
in application, runoff, and evaporation. A sprinkler, wand, or soaker
hose provide the best results and least water waste.
Use the Proper Tools -
Test For Moisture - Not many people test their soil for the moisture level, but this is an
excellent proactive measure you can take before watering your lawn. You
can purchase a gauge to check your soil's moisture level at a local
home improvement store, nursery, or from a horticultural supplier. However,
in the absence of an actual moisture gauge, a large straight blade screwdriver
will work. Only poke it into the soil; the drier the soil, the more resistance
Water In the Morning - The local weatherman, plumber, and expert gardener alike will agree that
the best time of day to water is in the morning. If you water while it's
still cool outside, water is able to soak into the ground before it evaporates
on the surface. Watering in the morning also helps the lawn and plants
to take in the water throughout the day. Watering your yard at dusk or
early evening is an option, but this increases the risk of fungus growth
because these organisms thrive in damp, dark places.
For the Love of Cars
Summertime means more traveling and adventure, meaning more time in our
vehicles. For the love of our car, and the sake of saving money, many
of us opt to spend more time outside and wash our cars. However, forget
the hose and instead, wash your car with a bucket and sponge. EPA WaterSense
reports that as much as six gallons of water per minute can be wasted
by a hose left running; alternatively, a bucket and sponge uses only a
few gallons to get the job done.
For the most efficiency at home, run washing machines and dishwashers only
when they are full. Adjust the water level of your washing machine to
match the load size. If you have a water-saver cycle, use it. Many new
machines automatically sense the load size for you.
Quench Your Thirst - By keeping a reusable bottle of cold water waiting in the fridge, you'll
have cold water handy to quench your thirst, all while avoiding the cost
of buying bottled water or running up your meter.
To Bathe or Not to Bathe - A short shower is far better than a bath! A quick 5-10 minute shower uses
only about 10 to 25 gallons of water while a full bathtub can use up to
70 gallons of water. For the little ones that need baths, run only a quarter
or half tub full instead of a full tub. They will enjoy this more for
play time, anyhow.
Brush It Off - Don't leave the faucet running. Did you know that you can save up
to 8 gallons of water per day by turning off the tap when you brush your teeth?
Maintenance Is Key
You should check your faucets, toilet, and pipes regularly for leaks, and
have them fixed promptly. EPA WaterSense provides an easy test for toilet
leaks: Simply place a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the
color tints the water in the bowl without needing to flush, there is a
leak. An alternative method is to check your water meter before and after
an approximate two-hour period when water is not being used. If the meter
changes any, you likely have a leak.
For maintenance and repairs, it is advised to call in the professionals
and let them take care of the work for you.
If you suspect a leak in your Sterling VA home, call Cardinal Plumbing, Heating
& Air Inc. at (703) 997-1120 today.