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Helpful Tips
Experts offer the following tips for preventing pipes from freezing, or for thawing frozen pipes:

To prevent pipes from freezing:

? disconnect & drain outdoor hoses
? insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas
? seal off access doors, air vents & cracks
? be sure everyone who may need to find it knows where the master shutoff  
  valve is located.
? if you will not be home for several days, set your thermostat no lower than 55 

To safely thaw frozen pipes:

If despite precautions, your pipes do freeze, experts recommend you hire a Licensed Plumber to thaw them out.  However, if you try thawing them yourself:

? DO NOT use a torch or electric welder.  The following devices can be used; 
   electric iron, hair dryer, heat lamp, soldering iron, or heating cable.
? Leave the main valve open and a faucet running, which will help remove ice once 
   it is loosened.
? Be aware that pipe may already be broken and be ready to shut off the master 

If a water line suddenly ruptured right now, under your sink or behind a wall, and was doing serious damage to your home...  What would you do?  The logical answer is to turn the water off.  But where?  Do you know where your main water valve is located?

If you don't know, now is an excellent time to find it, before an emergency situation occurs.  Being able to quickly turn your water off in an emergency will save money and minimize damage.  It's the smart thing to do.

Where is it?  If your home has a basement, your main water line most likely comes in through your basement wall, with your main valve located close to where the line enters the wall.  If you do not have a basement, the meter should be located in a utility room, bathroom or kitchen, most commonly next to a water heater or furnace.

A shutoff valve is required on both sides of the meter, and while the main valve is the one between the meter and where the line comes through the wall, either valve should work to turn off water for the rest of the house, unless the leak is at the meter.

Once you locate your main valve, paint it a bright color or tag it so you and others can locate it quickly and easily in an emergency.  Next, you should test it by turning the handle clockwise, then opening a faucet to see if is the correct valve, and if it stops the flow of water. 

Finally, show other family members where this important valve is and how to turn it off, because any family member could be home alone one day when a water emergency occurs.

- Don’t ignore leaking faucets; they are usually easy & inexpensive to repair. Turn off the water under the sink until you get around to repairing the leak. A slow drip can waste as much as 170 gallons of water each day. 
- Insulate hot water pipes. You won’t waste water waiting for it to get hot & you will save energy too. 
- Buy water & energy efficient appliances.

- Replace your showerhead with a water efficient model. This saves as much as 6 gallons of water per minute! 
- Recycle your old toilet and replace it with a water efficient toilet. This saves as much as 5 gallons per flush. If you can’t make yourself part with that old toilet, you can purchase new tank parts that allow you to adjust the level of the water with a plastic bag or bottle filled with water, still allowing enough for flushing (do not use bricks) 
- Don’t waste water when brushing your teeth. Shut off the water until it is time to rinse. 
- Don’t waste water while shaving. Fill the sink with hot water instead of letting the water run continuously. 
- Take a shower instead of a bath. Showers with water efficient showerheads often use less water than taking a bath. If taking a bath, do not fill the tub.

- Never run the dishwasher without a full load. Use appropriate cycle settings for each load. Ask for a water saving model when purchasing. 
- Dry scrape dishes instead of rinsing. 
- Soak pans rather than scrubbing them while water is running. 
- Don’t leave water running if not using. 
- Install faucet aerators. You’ll never notice the difference and you’ll cut your usage in half. 
- Drinking water is more refreshing by keeping a container in the refrigerator or using a refrigerator with a water dispenser. 
- Rinse vegetables in a pan of cold water. 
- Use rain water or recycled water for fish tanks or to water your houseplants.

- Wash only full loads. If you must wash partial loads, match the load setting on the machine with the amount to be washed. 
- Buy a high efficiency washer. They use at least 40% less water and energy as conventional washers. Also, they are gentler on clothes, extract more water during the spin cycle, and use less detergent. 
- If your clothes are not heavily soiled, use the short wash cycle.

- Don’t over-water your lawn. One inch of water per week in the summer will keep most common grasses healthy. To determine how long you should run your sprinklers, place straight-edged cans at different distances away from the sprinkler and time how long it takes to fill an average of one inch of water in each can. 
- Don’t abuse the benefits of an automatic sprinkler system by wasting large amounts of water. Set it to provide thorough, but infrequent water. Check sprinkler heads regularly to make sure they are working properly. Install rain shut-off devices and adjust sprinklers to eliminate coverage on pavement. 
- Prevent evaporation of water by only watering early in the morning or in late evening during the hotter months. Never water on windy days. Use drip irrigation systems for bedded plants, trees or shrubs and use low angle sprinklers for lawns. Cover pools and spas. 
- Plant water-wise, well adapted and/or native shrubs, trees and grass. Choose plants that are drought tolerant, heat tolerant and are tolerant of the minimum winter temperatures in your area. In odd shaped areas, use drought tolerant ground cover instead of grass. 
- Harvest the rain to water your potted plants. 
- Don’t use your water to clean streets or sidewalks, use a broom. 
- Don’t scalp lawns when mowing during hot weather. Taller grass holds moisture better. Keep grass 3 inches tall during the summer and don’t cut more than 1/3 of its length at one time. Leave lawn clippings on the lawn instead of bagging. 
- Use lots of mulch around your shrubs and trees to retain moisture, reduce run off, moderate soil temperatures and help with weed control. 
- Do not over fertilize. Contact your County Extension Office or your local nursery professional to determine what nutrients your soil needs. If you apply fertilizer only in the spring and fall, your grass will be healthy, use less water and need mowing less frequently. 
- Use a car wash that recycles water. If washing at home, use a bucket of soapy water and use a hose nozzle that shuts off the water while you scrub.

How do I measure the amount of water being used?

Newton WaterWorks uses meters that measure in cubic feet.
Billing is in even 100 cubic foot increments.
There are 7.48 gallons per cubic foot (100 cubic feet = 748 gallons)
Minimum billing is -0- to 200 cubic feet (-0- to 1496 gallons)

Average usage per person is 1500 to 2200 gallons per month (gpm)

Activity                          Average Usage
Automatic Dishwasher       15 gals (full cycle)
Brush Teeth                    2 gals (tap running)
Clothes Washing               30 - 60 gals
Dish Washing                   20 gals (tap running)
Outdoor Watering             5 - 10 gpm
Shaving                          3 - 5 gals (tap running)
Shower                          25 - 50 gals (5-10 gpm)
Toilet Flush                     5 - 7 gals
Tub Bath                        36 gals (full)
Wash Hands                    2 gals (tap running)