Some water-saving tips for cold weather

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Even though it looks like the Lehigh Valley region is in for some heavy rain over the next few days, we’re nowhere near out of the woods when it comes to the DEP’s drought warning. That calls for all of us to make some smart decisions when it comes to water use.

As we’ve stated earlier, at this stage of a drought (the “warning” category) water use restrictions are voluntary. The target is a 10 to 15 percent reduction in non-essential water use. Customers will not be penalized if they fail to follow the request for water conservation measures, but we do ask for all customers to consider ways to conserve — the EPA has some great tips listed here.  

We’ve come up with a few more, especially since we’re rapidly heading toward winter — and the holiday season.

1.)  One huge waste of water is pipes that burst due to freezing. To avoid that, wrap them in heat tape — available at hardware and big box stores — if they’re exposed to outside air. Also know where your shut-off valve is. If a pipe bursts, you’ll waste hundreds of gallons if you can’t find where to turn off the water.

2.)  Can’t wrap them? When the weather gets exceptionally cold, let them drip just a tiny bit. That will keep the water moving – and prevent it from freezing. Then stick a pot or bucket under that dripping faucet, and use what you catch to cook, wash hands or dishes, or even flush toilets.

bucket3.)  For hot water pipes, you can save some H20 — and energy — by wrapping them in pipe insulation (also available at hardware and big box stores). They’ll take less time to bring hot water to your shower and sink.

4.)  Stick a bucket in the shower with you. Use the water that you collect to flush toilets.

5.)  When things warm up outside, check your pipes and faucets for leaks. The expansion and contraction caused by changes in the weather can also cause leaks.

You can also save while cooking for — and cleaning after — a holiday party. For instance, running the water continuously while preparing food or washing dishes wastes water — up to two gallons a minute. When you’re cleaning up, scrape dirty dishes clean, instead of using water to rinse them before you put them in the dishwasher.

If you wash by hand, fill the sink or a washbasin with a few gallons of soapy wash water for cleaning, then rinse them all at the same time.

For more holiday water-saving tips, check out this information from the EPA.