Photo by PublicDomainPictures via Pixabay

Are you overpaying for water? 

You could be, if your home is not running as efficiently as it could, or if you have undiagnosed leaks or damage. Cutting your water consumption can help you save money every month, and in many cases, you won’t have to change your habits at all. Try one or more of the following ideas for an immediate reduction in your water bill every month:

Seek out Leaks

A running toilet, a slow drip from a faucet or even a leaky fridge can cost you money every month, but provides no benefit at all. in some cases, that leak will get even more expensive over time, as standing water can damage your floors and allow mold and mildew to develop. Take a walk through your home and check these areas for leaks — any problem you find and repair will reduce the water your home wastes each month and will prevent mold growth or damage, too:

  • Listen for leaks: Turn off anything that makes noise and visit the kitchen, bathroom and any room with a faucet. What do you hear? Ideally, you won’t hear anything — if you hear drips or running water, your home is wasting water. A single running toilet can boost your water bill by hundreds of dollars each year, so pay special attention to bathrooms.
  • Look for water damage: Appliances that have water or stains underneath could be leaking. The most common culprit is a fridge that has an icemaker and water dispenser. If you see or feel water, double check the lines to ensure there are no leaks. Check under sinks for moisture and note any problems. 
  • Head outside: Your outside faucets should be tightly closed and the ground below them should be totally dry. if there are drips or moisture, you are paying for a steady stream of water you are not using. You should also walk by your sprinkler heads and make sure the ground is not soggy; this could mean you have a costly leak in your sprinkler system,

Go Low Flow

Using less water when you flush, shower or wash dishes can help you save money every day. Simply switching your shower heads takes just moments, and can cut your water consumption without making a difference in your shower. Converting your toilets to low flow models or even adding some weight to the tanks can help reduce the amount of water used by each flush, according to Nerd Wallet.

Change your Habits

Your laundry and dish washing schedules will have a huge impact on your water bill. Reducing the amount of laundry you do (by decluttering and only keeping essentials you love) can help lower your energy costs and your water consumption. Hand washing small loads of dishes or rinsing and waiting for the dishwasher to be full before running allows you to use this power and water consuming appliance fewer times each week. 

Monitoring your home for leaks and running water, converting some areas to more conservative models and changing your own habits can have a significant impact on your water bill. Do all three and you’ll save hundreds of dollars each year — and run a more eco-friendly home, too.

Photo by Lee via Pixabay

Putting a new mailbox up? Be sure to follow the official guidance from the U.S. Postal Service.® 

Here are a few rules, tips, and suggestions to make your mail carrier’s day a little smoother.

Putting Up a New Mailbox

USPS-approved mailboxes have Postmaster General (PMG) approval labels. Have your post office approve your mailbox plans if you’re making your box. Its height should be 41-45 inches above the ground, and set 6-8 inches back from the curb. Your number should be clearly marked on the mailbox. It’s helpful to number your home as well. If on a corner, mark your mailbox with your complete street address.

Switching to a wall-mounted box? Get your post office’s go-ahead first. No PMG approval label is required. Just be sure the box can handle your normal volume of mail, including magazines. Place it in a spot that’s visible and convenient for the carrier. 

Tip: Think about your carrier (and the substitutes). If you put up wind chimes and garden lighting, hanging baskets and so forth, be mindful of the carrier’s path.   

Installing a Post for the Mailbox

A proper mailbox post is strong and stable, but will bend or fall if hit by a car. It’s two inches in diameter if made of metal. It’s four by four inches if made of wood.

Posts should be buried up to two feet deep. (Concrete-filled containers are not recommended.)

Tip: When inclement weather arrives, remember that your mail carrier needs a safe approach — free of mud, ice, or snow — to the mailbox or mail slot.

Best Practices for Door Slots 

If the mail comes through a slot, be sure the opening is 7 by one and a half inches, or larger. The bottom of the slot must be thirty inches above the ground.

Is the slot horizontal? The flap should open upward, hinged at the top of the slot. If vertical, it must be hinged opposite of the door hinge side.

Tip: Be sure the opening is clear for the carrier to deliver your mail without struggling. There are approved inner shields for slots to use, rather than stuffing anything in the slot to insulate your place from a draft. Oh, and do you happen to have a cat? With claws? Be sure the cat isn’t making a sport out of grabbing the mail or trying to catch the carrier’s hand through the slot! Being mindful might not be a rule, but it’s nice. 

Creating Carrier-Friendly Neighborhoods 

Sun, rain, snow, or wind… Mail carriers brave it all for us. Help your neighborhood stay carrier-friendly in return. Know the rules. Consider the mail from your carrier’s point of view. 

 

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