Georgia Magazine - November 2011 - (Page 38C)

Web exclusive WSaving water can save energy T Spring is a good time for a house safety check Fundamentals hen the last traces of winter fade away, many homeowners can’t wait to begin tinkering around the house. Georgia’s electric cooperatives urge all ambitious home improvers to heed these guidelines: he less water you use, the less energy is required to get that water to your home. If it’s hot water • One of the first places to look for trouble is the roof. Watch for loose or missing shingles and leaks around flashings. Don’t begin repair work unless you’re confident of your do-it-yourself abilities. Think about calling a professional. you’re saving, you also could see a dent in the waterheating portion of your energy bill. Here are seven ways you can save water: • Be sure to inspect your gutters before April showers begin. If they are clogged, rainwater will overflow onto the siding of your house and could cause moisture problems. Downspouts should carry rainwater safely away from the foundation of the house. If they pour water out on the ground, it could seep into the basement. • Replace your old toilets. If your toilet is from 1992 or earlier, it probably uses 3.5 gallons of water for every flush. Newer models use as little as 1 gallon. Those that use less than 1.28 gallons per flush—60 percent less than your older toilet—can save a family of four more than $90 a year on the water bill. Sprinkler systems can save lives M ost fire departments urge homeowners to install sprinkler systems in new homes, or when they • Fix leaky faucets. One drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year. Even if you don’t see a leak, check your water meter twice over two hours. If the two readings don’t match, you probably have a leak. remodel their existing homes. Fire spreads so quickly that you could have as little as two minutes to escape before it’s too late. A fire sprinkler system can buy you a few more minutes. When it senses a fire, the sprinkler system auto- matically sprays water on the flames. Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will spray. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that 90 percent of deaths in residential fires can be prevented by sprinklers. If you’re buying a new home, March 2011 is installed behind your walls, similar to plumbing, and is connected to your home’s water supply. A plumber should do the installation. Inventory the inside • Clean off stairways and steps. Check treads, risers and carpeting and replace worn coverings. • Inspect your air-conditioning system and have repairs made now, before summer begins. Give the fireplace a thorough cleaning and close the damper. Consider calling a chimney sweep. • If your exterior paint job appears healthy, but it’s just a little dirty, don’t apply a fresh coat. If all your home needs is a cleaning, wash it. • A special reminder to parents: Never leave a container of liquid unattended near a small child. This includes wading pools, scrub buckets, toilets and bathtubs. The curious youngster can lean over to play in the water or drop something in a bucket and fall in head first. • Be sure patios, porches and driveways are free from cracks and holes. • Check for damage as you take down storm windows and put up screen doors and windows. • Trim broken tree limbs and prune shrubs. Remove dry leaves and debris from under porches, wooden stairs and window wells. Pick up all junk, cans and other litter. • Buy a high-efficiency washing machine. The average washing machine uses about 41 gallons of water per load, while highefficiency models need less than 28 gallons. To save even more, run the washer only when it’s full. • Take a shower instead of a bath. You will use 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub, but only 10 to 25 gallons during a five-minute shower. • Turn off the faucet while you brush your teeth. Two gallons of water flow out of a faucet every minute it’s turned on. That’s water down the drain if you let it run while you brush your teeth. You could save 240 gallons of water a month if you turn off the tap while brushing your teeth in the morning and at bedtime. • Stop your toilet from running. A leaky toilet can waste about 200 gallons of water every day. Here’s how to tell if it’s leaking: Place a drop of food coloring in the tank. If the color shows up in the water in the bowl before you flush, you have a leak. choose one that has a sprinkler system. If you’re remodeling your home, add a system. The sprinkler system • Switch to “drip” irrigation. If you’re running a sprinkler system to water your lawn, about half of the water it sprays is “watering” your patio, driveway or street. A drip irrigation sys tem, which literally drips water right on the plant that needs it, uses between 20 percent and 50 percent less water. You could save more than 2,000 gallons over the drip irrigation system’s lifetime. There’s still time for energy tax credits I f you need new windows, roofing or air conditioning, try to buy them before the end of 2011. That’s when the fed- eral government’s tax credits for energy-efficient home improvements will expire. Bigger, better tax credits for insulation, roofs, doors, windows, heating/air conditioning and water heaters—up to $1,500—have expired. But the government extended smaller tax credits through this year. They include a credit for 10 percent of the cost, up to $500, for biomass stoves; heating, ventilating and air conditioning; insulation; metal and asphalt roofs; non-solar water heaters; and windows and doors. Through 2016, you can take a credit of 30 percent of the cost with no limit for geothermal heat pumps; small, residential wind turbines; and solar energy systems. You’ll need to have the product installed by Dec. 31 to take the credit on your 2011 taxes. For more details, visit November 2011 November 2011 More online at 38C

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - November 2011

Georgia Magazine - November 2011
Picture This?
Georgia News
Calendar of Events
Special Energy Report
Generations of Growing
A Productive State
Around Georgia
My Georgia
Georgia Cooks
Bonus Snapshot Submissions
Gardens Plant of the Month: Liberty Notes
Energy-Efficiency Tips
Second Helping: More Great Recipes

Georgia Magazine - November 2011