Posts tagged "water"

How can I use up/reuse snow?

winter-houseTeehee, a bit of a silly one – the white stuff does have a tendency to bring out the excitable child in me but it’s kinda valid too…

For the last few days, we’ve a few inches of snow – as much as most of the UK ever gets really but since I grew up on a largely snow-free warm coast, I’m making the most of what we’ve got. It is, of course, an excellent entertainment source – snowballs, snowmen… I’ve also been watching it fall with lovestruck eyes, crunching about on it outside with glee and *repeatedly* commenting on how wonderful everywhere looks. Many many hours of free entertainment.

But what else is it good for? In rain-strapped places, it would probably be worth scooping it up from snow banks and putting it in a water barrel for its water content. You can also take advantage of its coolness – I remember when we were discussing saving energy someone said they pre-freeze items outside before putting them in the freezer, or turn their freezer off entirely, just using the big blue room and an insulator ice box for freezing stuff for a few days. Of course snow itself is a good insulator – is it possible to make a reverse hay box for freezing stuff and keeping it frozen?

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle brine?

olives-jarFinishing up our week of water themed posts, here’s a culinary question – what can I do with leftover brine?

I had some awesome olives the other day – sharp and tasty – and the leftover brine smelled herby and was a lovely purple colour – a really developed flavour. It seemed a waste to throw it away but I thought it might be a little too salty to use in other cooking.

You guys impressed me with your multiple uses for post-pickle vinegar – is there anything similar for brine?

How can I reuse or recycle rainwater?

rain-puddleContinuing our week of water themed posts, we’ve had an email from Chris:

Being a good green hippy, I’ve got two waterbutts in my garden, which I use to collect water for my garden. But now it’s winter my garden doesn’t need watering and the butts are nearly full even though it’s only November. I imagine I could use all the water now and they’d fill up again within a couple of weeks. Can you or your readers make any suggestions?

One answer might be to plumb in the water butts to feed your households non-drinking water needs such as toilet flushing and perhaps even laundry – not just for this time of year, but for use all year around when you’ve got the water to supply it. I really want to set up a greywater system, including rainwater, to feed the toilet cistern if nothing else but I suspect it would too problematic in this awkwardly tall house as the water would have to be stored two storeys below the bathroom – but if we have another toilet put in lower down in the house, I’ll definitely look into it.

I remember someone telling me at some point that rainwater is also good for cleaning windows as it typically has less mineral deposits in it than tap water (so will leave less residue) – but Googling doesn’t seem to confirm or deny that — anyone know?

Staying outside, you could use the water if you need to clean paths of stuck-on leaf mulch or cleaning out the greenhouse ready to shut it down for winter.

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle water from washing out paintbrushes?

paintbrush-waterWe had a water week – a week of water themed posts – in honour of World Water Day back in March but I’ve had a run of water-related questions recently so I thought we’d have another wet week. “Water Week 2: This time it’s personal damp.”

A couple of weeks ago, Tyler asked a question on a random old post:

What should I do with the water I use to wash of my paint brushes?

It’s a good question because it uses a surprisingly large amount of water to get paintbrushes clean – and even more if you’ve been using a roller for large scale decorating.

Can anything be done with the very, very watered down paint – particularly the first rinse which is really quite paint-y?

Do you have any tips for reducing the amount of water used to clean them? I try to squeeze out as much paint as possible before washing – old newspaper works well as a wrapping material but quickly gets soaked, plastic bags is less absorbent but you’ll be able to squeeze it for longer.

(Picture by basheertome)

How can I reduce the amount of time I spend in the lovely, hot shower?

showerThe next Reduce This question from Alice:

I need help to get out of the shower quicker – I take long hot showers that actually use more water than a bath would, just because it’s so nice in there. Costs a fortune in gas bills!

Mmm, hot showers…

I could suggest getting a timer (or if you’ve already got some sort of music set-up in the bathroom, a playlist/CD of songs/ all about the right length) so you know when you’ve been in there a set amount of time – but obviously you’ll still need will power to get out ;)

Thanks to our then-broken boiler, our shower used to go icy cold after a couple of minutes – even though we knew it would get warm again eventually (usually after another minute or so), it was enough to get us out – no will power required. Is there something you can attach to boilers/showers that can mimic that?

Any other suggestions?