Spring into water, energy-efficient summer

By Colorado Springs UtilitiesApril 26, 2023

Image of underground sprinkler system
Spring into water, energy-efficient summer (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

(Editor’s note: The following article and courtesy graphic were provided by Colorado Springs Utilities, Fort Carson’s utility provider.)

COLORADO Springs, Colo. — Soon cold and windy days will give way to sunshine and warmth. For a lot of people, that means it’s about time for spring cleaning – indoors and out. According to Colorado Springs Utilities (Springs Utilities), some home improvement activities can also result in energy and water savings.

 Prepare indoor spaces

The change in weather is always a good reminder to replace the air filters in heating and cooling systems. A dirty clogged filter can strain furnace and air conditioning systems, but a new filter will make the system run more efficiently.

An easily overlooked task is to change the direction of ceiling fans. In warm weather, ceiling fans should turn counterclockwise to create a cooling downdraft effect. By flipping that switch on the fan, the thermostat can be set a few degrees higher this summer.

One of the best ways to maintain a home’s energy efficiency is to ensure that conditioned air is not seeping out through poorly sealed areas, such as windows and doors. Invest in some quality weather-stripping, caulking and other sealing aids to help keep cool air in and warm air out.


Prepare outdoor spaces

Cleanup and cut back any dead, crispy, brown growth as close to the ground as possible. This growth won’t green up again, and cutting it back allows grass and other plants to maximize sun exposure. Top off mulch areas with shredded wood, wood chips or bark. A new layer that’s 3-4 inches thick will keep weeds down and improve moisture in the soil throughout the growing season.

For areas with rock or gravel, consider weed preventer to stop new weeds from multiplying. Apply this only in areas that will not be seeded.


Sprinkler startup tips

Once the water to the sprinkler system is on, turn on each zone and watch it operate. Look for leaks and broken, sunken or misaligned sprinklers. Listen carefully for flowing and bubbling sounds since leaks may be heard before seen. Make needed repairs before the system is scheduled to run regularly.

As the watering schedule is set, make sure to water for the current season. For example, in spring start with one day of watering per week and increase to two days when the weather is dry and warm. Per Springs Utilities’ water-wise rules, landscape irrigation is limited to three days per week.

Run each zone long enough for a half-inch depth of water each watering day. Lastly, watch for any runoff. If water is not properly soaking into the soil, visit Springs Utilities website at csu.org to learn how to improve watering techniques.

Follow water-wise rules

Living in a dry climate with a growing population means we need to use water responsibly. A vibrant, healthy landscape can be maintained with responsible watering practices. Following Springs Utilities’ water-wise rules will benefit the community and the overall water supply. The six rules are:

  • Water up to three days a week. Off post water customers choose the days.
  • From May 1 to Oct. 15 only water before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. to reduce evaporation.
  • Don't let water pool on hard surfaces or flow down gutters.
  • Repair leaking sprinkler systems within 10 days.
  • Use a shut-off nozzle when washing anything with a hose.
  • Clean hard surfaces (such as driveways, sidewalks and patios) with water only if there is a public health and safety concern.