Archives : 2014 : April

11 Ways to Save Water At Home

April 28th, 2014

Turn it off!
running faucetImage via Jenn Durfey (Flickr)

11 Ways to Save Water At Home

As our winters remain unusually dry in many portions of the country, water conservation is moving to the forefront of many people’s minds. Whether you live in a dry or wet area, you need to conserve water. America’s water supplies are dwindling, and we need to protect this precious resource. In fact, a recent NOAA report confirms that one in every 10 U.S. watersheds is short of water. On top of that, there are more Americans using water than there used to be.

Columbia University Water Center confirmed that global warming isn’t the only thing depleting our water supplies. Over the last 60 years, the United States has experienced a 99 percent increase in its population. We’ve basically doubled, and we cannot stick our heads in the sand any longer. If we keep consuming the water at the rate we are right now we’re going to run out, and some scientists believe that this will happen by the mid-21st century! Clearly, we need to be saving water. Here are eleven ways you can do so to help. Read more »

How Long Are Plastic Water Bottles In Landfills?

April 21st, 2014

This makes me so angry and sad…water bottle pollutionImage via Horia Varlan (Flickr)

How Long Are Plastic Water Bottles In Landfills?

Indefinitely. That is how long plastic water bottles are in landfills. These bottles do not biodegrade; they do not break down and go away. They sit in landfills and pollute our soil and our air. If you toss a plastic water bottle into your trash after you are done with it, you will find that water bottle in the landfill that became its final resting place as long as 1,000 years from now. I’m not kidding. I know you might be blinking at your computer screen thinking, “Lynn. That’s impossible. Everything has to decompose at some point,” and I wish that were true. Unfortunately, most plastic water bottles do not decompose, and this is why they are becoming such a huge environmental problem.

We’ve all said it, “Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time,” and the same can be said about plastic bottles for consumer packaging. Glass bottles are heavy; glass bottles break. Consumers needed something that was easier to handle and didn’t end up costing them an entire bottle of juice, for example, if they dropped the bottle and broke it. We work hard for our money and many of us need to make it stretch. You drop a glass bottle of juice and you’ve lost an entire bottle of juice, plus the money you spent on it. You drop a plastic bottle of juice and, provided the cap is still on, you haven’t lost the juice or the money. Great idea, right? Not so fast. Read more »

Different Ways to Naturally Flavor Your Water

April 10th, 2014

Berries are a wonderful way to infuse your water with flavor.
3207746195_8d56c48bab_zImage via Chris (Flickr)

Different Ways to Naturally Flavor Your Water

As a water expert, I understand the importance of choosing water over any other beverage to quench my thirst and properly hydrate my body. One of the challenges I face when people ask me about water is convincing them to give up their sodas, coffees, teas, juices – you name it – and drink water instead. There are numerous reasons why people prefer a soda to a glass of water, but it’s a safe bet that the primary reason boils down to taste. Even I’ll admit that a sugary beverage can be far more appealing than a plain ole’ glass of H2O.

The beverage manufacturers figured this out a long time ago and introduced “flavored” waters to the market. The stuff started flying off grocery shelves, and why wouldn’t it? After all, you’re drinking water and it’s tasty to boot! It’s much healthier than that can of cola… or is it? Unfortunately, no, it’s not. Flavored waters, sports drinks, fruit punches, I could go on, are all laden with sugar, and the sugar-free varieties are filled with unhealthy chemical “sweeteners.” Read more »

Keep Your Drains Flowing Free – Part 2

April 9th, 2014

Keep your drains flowing free

by Jerry Alonzy

Part 2 – Solving common drain problems

As we learned in Part 1 of this article, each drain in your home has special characteristics designed to minimize the chance of a blockage, while allowing maximum water flow. For example, some have reduced or restricted openings to keep small items out (such as coins or wedding rings). Toilets have the least restriction on flow, which I think you’ll agree needs no further explanation!

But, despite the designer’s best efforts, all drains have design flaws that can make blockages more likely. Likewise, small behavioral changes on your part can either limit or eliminate the chance of expensive plumbing calls!

I am going to discuss the simplest methods of repairing common blockages. I will not be discussing plumbing snakes, which would be an article in and of itself; but can be needed if these do-it-yourself methods fail.

Blockages caused by “acts of nature,” such as roots growing into your sewer pipes or earthquakes, are out of your control, but most other blockages are repairable by the home handyman.  Here are some do-it-yourself tips to keep your drains flowing. Read more »

9 Ways to Drink More Water

April 3rd, 2014
Follow your children's lead and take a sip from every drinking fountain you pass.
Follow your children’s lead and take a sip from every drinking fountain you pass.

Image via Katherine Johnson (Flickr)

9 Ways to Drink More Water

You need to drink more water! You need to drink more water! Are you tired of hearing that? I know; I am, too. The problem is you probably do need to drink more water. Statistics show that 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated. That’s a large number of people who are not drinking enough water. I’ve talked about how dangerous dehydration can be in previous posts. Now, I’m going to give you nine tips to ensure that you drink more water and do not fall within that 75 percent.

Tip #1 – Substitute other drinks with water. I know that this won’t be a very popular tip, but instead of having that soda with lunch, drink water. Make water your beverage of choice, and replace soda, tea, coffee, and alcohol with a glass of water instead. Your body needs the water. It doesn’t need the sugary soda. Read more »

Keep your drains flowing free – Part 1

April 2nd, 2014

Keep Your Drains Flowing Free

By Jerry Alonzy

Part 1 – Understanding how your drains work

We talk a lot about water quality and its relationship to health, but the fact is that only half of plumbing is water coming in. The other half is water going out, via your home’s drain or waste water system.

140326-delta-sink-trap

Image via Delta Faucet Company

Plumbing drains seem simple and I guess they are to those of us who have had their benefits for our entire lives. But your home’s drain pipes are not randomly placed… they follow design principles that have been in place for hundreds of years, ever since the recognition that gravity controls the movement of water!

A waste water drain system (regardless of the material it’s made from) must incorporate certain characteristics to function safely and effectively:

1) All drain pipes must slope downwards over their entire length. The slope must be steep enough so that waste-filled water will flow in the desired direction at adequate speed to allow all waste material to exit into the sewer or septic system.

If even a small section of drain pipe is level or, worse, sloped upwards, it will both slow the emptying of the pipe and become a “trap” where waste will tend to accumulate, leading to a blockage over time. Read more »

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