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Outdoor Conservation Tips
- Irrigation Tips
- Inspect and Tune-Up. Periodically review your irrigation system for leaks and broken heads or drip lines. Adjust sprinkler heads so they don’t spray walls, sidewalks or driveways.
- Time of Day. Water during the early morning hours between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. to minimize evaporation and interference from wind.
- Time of Year. Water according to current weather and season (bell curve) or install a “smart” controller that will automatically calculate the amount of water needed for each watering session. Shut off irrigation system during the wet winter months and water only as needed during abnormally warm and dry periods. Use the following guidelines for conventional controller settings.
- Turf Grass (Pop-Up Spray)
Spring Summer Fall Winter Days Per Week 3 4 2 Off Start Times Per Day 3 3 3 Off Minutes Per Station 5 5 5 Off Total Minutes Per Day 15 15 15 Off Total Minutes Per Week 45 60 30 Off
- Tips for Turf
- Cycle and Soak. Divide your watering cycle into shorter periods to reduce runoff by monitoring how many minutes you can run your spray irrigation system before water begins to run off the property. Stop the cycle at that point and allow the water to fully absorb for about one hour before running another cycle.
- Spot or Hand Water. Avoid turning on entire irrigation system to cover “brown spots” and instead choose to water those spots by hand.
- Decrease Pressure. Reduce pressure to avoid misting which results in water loss due to evaporation and wind drift.
- Drip Emitters. Use drip emitters instead of inefficient spray heads for non turf areas.
- Upgrade Nozzles. Improve overall efficiency by using High Efficiency spray nozzles and/or rotating or oscillating nozzles.
- Downsize Turf. Reduce lawn areas to a size just big enough for children, pets and recreation.
- Turf Replacement. Replace aesthetic turf with Santa Clarita Valley friendly drought resistant varieties.
- Outdoor Activities
- Outside Cleaning. Use a broom instead of the hose for cleaning sidewalks, patios, and driveways.
- Air Conditioning Units / Condensation Water Collection. Collect condensation from your air conditioner (if practical) for use in your garden, bushes, trees, or “Brown Spots” in turf areas. You may be able to collect up to 15 gallons or more per day.
- Car Washing. Check your local regulations for rules regarding car washing. When washing cars, use a hose nozzle that shuts water off while standing by or choose to wash your car at a car wash.
- Pools. Use a pool cover to prevent evaporation.
Visit Santa Clarita Gardens for more information and tips on gardening and landscaping in Santa Clarita.
Indoor Conservation Tips
- Kitchen Faucet. High efficiency kitchen faucet aerators use no more than 1.5 gallons per minute or less and can reduce the amount of water used to rinse dishes, prepare food, and wash hands. Check with your water retailer for programs that provide these at no cost to you. You probably won’t even notice the difference.
- Efficiently Rinse Dishes. Running the faucet while rinsing dishes for 10 minutes consumes between 15 and 30 gallons of water. Instead, before rinsing, put the sink stopper in place instead of running the water. This practice can save up to 25 gallons per rinsing event.
- Keep Drinking Water Cool in Your Refrigerator. Running the faucet until the water is cool can use between 3 to 6 gallons of water per glass of drinking water. Instead, keep a container of drinking water cool in your refrigerator.
- Defrost Food in the Refrigerator. Defrost food in the refrigerator or microwave oven instead of under running water.
- Fill the Dishwasher. The dishwasher uses the same amount of water whether or not it is filled to capacity. Avoid water waste by ensuring that for each load, the dishwasher is completely filled.
- Toilets. Install High-Efficiency Toilets (HETs) that use 1.28 gallons per flush or Ultra High-Efficiency Toilets (uHETs) that use 0.8 gallons per flush.
- Showers. Install low-flow showerheads that release less than 2.5 gallons per minute. Your water retailer frequently gives these away. Limit time in the shower with a shower timer (also frequently given away by water retailers).
- Hand Washing. Install low-flow aerators on all faucets. New aerators dispense 1.0 gallon per minute or less. Check with your water retailer for programs that provide these at no cost to you. You probably won’t even notice the difference.
- Teeth Brushing and Shaving. Keep faucet off while you are brushing and shaving until you’re ready to rinse.
- Don't Use the Toilet as a Wastebasket. Use the wastebasket instead of the toilet to dispose of tissues and other small articles of trash to save gallons of water that are otherwise wasted.
- Consider Installing a Hot Water Recirculating Pump. A hot water recirculating pump enables the cold water in the hot water pipes to be continually returned to the water heater and reheated before the faucets, or showers, are turned on for use. When used in combination with a timer, hot water will only recirculate during specified times of the day and will reduce energy loss used to reheat the cold water in the hot water pipes.
Install a high-efficiency washing machine. Typically, these machines use 50% less water and energy than standard machines. Use the settings on the washer machine to ensure that the right amount of water is used. Most clothes washers offer the ability to select the size for each load of laundry. Matching the load size will reduce the overall amount of water needed by the machine to get the job done.
Choose water-efficient Energy Star™ and WaterSense™-approved appliances, such as dishwashers and clothes washers.
To check your meter for leaks on your property, first make sure that all indoor and outdoor plumbing fixtures are turned off. Then check the meter and record the reading on the dial. Wait one hour. Then check the meter again and record another reading. If all indoor and outdoor plumbing fixtures have been turned off, the reading should not have changed. If the numbers have changed, you have a leak. Contact a plumber to help you locate the leak source.
To check leaks in toilets, drop a dye tab or food coloring in the tank. If the color seeps into the bowl, replace the flapper valve. Flush promptly when complete so that the dye tab does not color the toilet bowl or tank.
Three Main Types of Toilet Leaks
- Defective Flapper (1 – 750 gallons per day)
Is your toilet a victim of the “Phantom Flush,” where the toilet refills itself without having been used? If the answer is yes, than your toilet has a defective flapper. Toilet flappers are constructed of rubber and often crack over time resulting in an uneven seal between the toilet tank and bowl. Toilet flappers are relatively inexpensive to repair and can be done in as little as 5 minutes.
- Broken Flow Master or Overflow (1 – 1,500 gallons per day)
Broken floats and flow masters stop the toilet from setting at the right level post use causing water to run throughout the day. While floats and flow masters are inexpensive and easy fix, avoid future water waste by purchasing and installing a High Efficiency, or Ultra High Efficiency toilet.
- Unengaged Flapper (Up to 6,500 gallons per day)
Do you ever have to “jiggle” the handle to stop the toilet from constantly running? Toilets refill at a rate of 4 to 4.5 gallons per minute. With 1,440 minutes in a day, this type of leak could easily reach 6,500 gallons per day, or 194,000 gallons per month. Avoid future water waste by purchasing and installing a High Efficiency, or Ultra High Efficiency Toilet.
Replace defective washers on leaking faucets. These are often inexpensive and can stop (or prevent) leaks.
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- +Conservation Requirements
- -Conservation Resources
- +Irrigation Help
- +Inspiration and Plant Information
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- Fix a Leak Week