Category: At Home (page 3 of 6)

Why do we talk about rainwater harvesting?

Credit: HarvestingRainwater.com

Credit: HarvestingRainwater.com

You may have noticed an abundance of rainwater harvesting articles as of late. There is a reason for that. Water that falls from the sky is yours to do with. It would be wise to keep it on your property and put it somewhere that won’t affect the foundation of your house. The best place to put it is in the ground, where plants can utilize its resources later in the year.

The fundamental principles established here are exactly what people have done for centuries.

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DIY: Flush the crud from your hot water heater

I am a homeowner with a hot water heater. I also living in a water service area with dissolved solids in the water supply. Combine the two in a hot water vessel and something happens. The dissolved solids drop out of suspension and form a coating on the bottom of the heater. Unfortunately, this also reduces the efficiency of the heat transfer from burning natural gas into heating water for showers or laundry.

But did you know, using the tools you probably already have at home, you can flush this crud out of your hot water heater, water the plants in your yard and increase efficiency and the life span of your hot water heater? I’m going to show you how.
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Capturing Rainwater for Landscape Plantings

Hydrologic Cycle (image: Beaver River Watershed)

Hydrologic Cycle

Percolation. This may be new rainwater term to most homeowners, but it is a term and activity that we need to embrace. Simply put, it refers to keeping rainwater on the land and letting it flow into the ground, ultimately replenishing ground water.

An inch of rain falling on about 1600 square feet of rooftop will produce about 1,000 gallons of run-off. Capturing this water on the property at the start and end of the rainy season will lessen irrigation needs and help plants cope with drought conditions.

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Build a Better Rainbarrel

Capturing rainwater is easy to do. All you need is rain and a bucket. Capturing rainwater for re-use in the yard becomes helpful when using large containers and rain gutters from your roof. A 1,000 square foot roof will capture about 625 gallons of water when an inch of rain falls. For a 1/4″ to 1/2″ rain storm, those totals can quickly add up to 150-300 gallons of water, significantly more than my rain barrels hold.

When its not raining and the barrels are full, it becomes an excellent source of water for irrigating the plants in the yard, providing savings on potable water use at home. Plus, rainwater doesn’t have all the chemicals in it that you find in the normal drinking water supply.

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Recycled Water in the Vegetable Garden

Tomato plants water with recycled water.

Tomato plants watered with recycled water.

Last summer Bret hauled a lot of recycled water. His front yard was lush and green while his neighbors’ yards were brown. Given the mandatory water rationing California experienced due to drought, he had to find new ways to water his vegetable garden. If recycled water made his grass really green, what would it do to tomatoes, bell peppers, squash, sunflowers, kale, or romaine lettuce?

“I was nervous at first, but decided to use recycled water anyway due to the city watering rations. I read about other places that used it on crops so I figured I would give it a shot,” said Bret G., recycled water hauler and friend of the blog.  Continue reading

DIY Solution to Ponding Water

Ponding water.

Ponding water.

Is water ponding on your property after El Niño rains? Do pools of water sit for long periods of time and don’t drain? RecycledH2O visited The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California and discovered what they did to resolve their ponding problem.

There were multiple ponds that would always form when it rains across the 3.5 acre drought tolerant garden, nestled in the heart of Walnut Creek.

A number of factors have created a hardpan under the topsoil which impedes percolation. Once water is directed below the hardpan it is better able to percolate into the soil, recharging the water table.

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Clear Leaves from Storm Drains

Leaves blocking drain after rain.

As homeowners, we are responsible for the trees on our property. That means when trees decide to lose their leaves, we are responsible for where they go. If you’re anything like my neighbors – your mind says “if the leaves are in the street, it’s not my problem.”

Except, they are your problem. Too many leaves blocking a storm drain can cause flooding in heavy El Nino rains. Flooding leads to impassable streets, safety hazards and possibly property damage.

You have the power and ability to help keep your community safe during winter storms. If you feel up to the task, jump in and help out.

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Homeowner cuts water usage 76% by hauling recycled water

waterscoreTwo months ago I wrote an article about Chris Rossiter, a Danville resident who needed 2,000 +  gallons of water per day (GPD)  to keep his backyard paradise thriving. Enter the drought of 2015 and Chris was faced with a requirement to reduce his usage by 20% or face an Excessive Use Penalty from his water company. His usage was nearly twice that and he knew he had to do something about it.

Chris borrowed a trailer, setup a tank hauling system and put in temporary irrigation all over his yard. Chris streamlined everything to make watering with recycled water from two area fill stations, a breeze.

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Delivering recycled water to the masses

Recycled water hydrant.

Recycled water hydrant.

As we learned for #recycledwaterwednesday, “Water is cheap, maybe too cheap.” The biggest take away is hauling recycled water in 300 gallon loads is not economical. Even if you went with a larger truck load, like with Drought Savers, its still not priced appropriately. At no point in time will it be economical as you will exceed the weight limit on the road first. Better solutions must be found.

Today – lets discuss other ways to bring recycled water to the masses.

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“Freak” rainstorm refills dry rain barrels

Hurricane Dolores – the same one whose moisture just ravaged I-10 near the California/Arizona border spawned some isolated storms in SF Bay Area. Those storms arrived around 1AM on Sunday morning as signified by a tweet from @NWSBayArea.


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