Why not divert shower water to the lawn, instead of sending it to the sewer? Plants don't mind a little soap and, well, skin cells. And the savings aren't hard to imagine when you consider that even with all those low-flow fixtures installed, the potable water you lavish on shrubs draws significantly on your fresh-water supply. So does that clean water you tap for flushing, which in some states can be substituted with the effluent from your sink.
Redirecting gray water for such uses isn't always easy. See what expert advice ReWater Systems manufacturer Steve Bilson shares about installation and how much you can save annually.
MORE: How to Collect Water With Rain Barrels
Consider three retrofits Bilson approves of:
A. Sink-Fed Toilet Tanks
Flushing toilets with water draining from showers, sinks, and tubs is allowed in International Plumbing Code states (it's prohibited by the Uniform Plumbing Code in 17 others, mostly in the West). This sink-to-toilet tank hookup, from Water Saver
Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine
Why not divert shower water to the lawn, instead of sending it to the sewer? Plants don't mind a little soap and, well, skin cells. And the savings aren't hard to imagine when you consider that even with all those low-flow fixtures installed, the potable water you lavish on shrubs draws significantly on your fresh-water supply. So does that clean water you tap for flushing, which in some states can be substituted with the effluent from your sink.Read More »from Water the Lawn With Your Saturday Night Bath
Pros Know Best! A bath remodel is no small undertaking. So before you start tearing up the tiles and picking out the tub, get a little advice from the people who make bathroom makeovers their bread and butter. We polled contractors, designers, and other pros for their top tips and insider tricks for getting every detail right.-JOSH GARSKOF, This Old House magazineRead More »from Read This Before You Remodel Your Bath
See all of our pro tips for renovating your bath at thisoldhouse.com!
1. No-Regret Tile Floors
If you want an easy-care floor: Go for porcelain or glazed tiles, and avoid porous natural stone tiles like limestone. Unless sealed vigilantly, they'll absorb drips and spills and become stained over time.
If you want a nonslip floor: Choose tiles with textured surfaces, matte finishes, or sand-containing glazes. Another option: small tiles with lots of grout lines, which offer better "grip" than large tiles.
MORE: Wake Up to a Warm Floor: Radiant Heat
MORE: What Should Go Under a Tile Floor
2. Get a Top-Tier Toilet
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Thu, Sep 15, 2011 3:49 AM EDT
rban living for young families is on the rise, but with it comes a need to think creatively about making the most of limited space. Karen Shen and Kevin Costello loved the extraordinary craftsmanship of their four-story 1904 Renaissance Revival brownstone in Brooklyn, New York, site of the current This Old House TV project. Here are some pointers from their big remodel.
SEE ALL 9 SMALL-SPACE SOLUTIONS FROM THE TOH TV NYC HOUSE
Use Paint to Open Up a Room Paint crown molding to match the ceiling to widen a narrow room. Painting both the crown and ceiling white in this skinny space creates the illusion that the ceiling is wider than it is, minimizing the tunnel-vision effect. Here's another trick: Install flooring, whether it's wood or tile, in a diagonal pattern to help make rooms appear wider than they are.
TOH Tip: Keep compact rooms simple by using small-scale furniture instead of overstuffed pieces.
MORE: Gorgeous Period Details in the TOH TV New York City House
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Mon, Sep 12, 2011 11:04 PM EDT
Read More »from Attic Before-and-After: The Ultimate Kid's Bedroom Suite
Ask kids, and they'll tell you the ideal place to sleep is in a tree house or on a sailboat, like Max in Where the Wild Things Are. Architect Darren Helgesen incorporated that spirit in this attic redo at a century-old house in East Hampton, New York, where he used warm finishes and smart details to turn the dark, sloped-ceilinged space into a shipshape two-bedroom suite. The homeowners, Bill and Cory Laverack, had already renovated the rest of the house. "We used a lot of beadboard and liked it," says Cory, an interior designer, so Helgesen continued it here, calling on general contractor Ronald Gray and carpenter Paul Stisi to fit together beaded boards and built-ins as neatly as jigsaw pieces. The team also rejiggered an existing bath and put down a pine floor. "It was always their favorite place," says Cory, recalling how the couple's four kids would hide out upstairs with friends every chance they got. "And now it's the ultimate sleepover space." SEE THE ENTIRE GALLERY FOR THIS
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Thu, Sep 8, 2011 9:38 PM EDT
So you've swapped your incandescent lightbulbs for CFLs, turned down the thermostat, and only wash clothes on cold. Then why are your utility bills still so high? Air leaks are likely culprits, but so are "phantom" power suckers, such as flat-screen TVs, which draw energy even when they're off.Read More »from 5 Easy Things You Can Do Today to Slash Your Utility Bills Forever
To help pinpoint exactly where you are burning through resources-and cash-we polled energy consultants across the country. The simplest route, they agree, is to have a professional auditor detect leaks with sophisticated tools, such as blower doors and infrared cameras. Your local utility may offer this service for free, but if it doesn't, the cost is typically $400. Or you can do some easy tests yourself and put your money toward addressing the problems. "There are many steps homeowners can take before calling a pro," says Jeffrey Gordon, spokesperson for the New York State Energy Research Development Authority. "With a little knowledge and determination, you might be surprised by your next
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Tue, Sep 6, 2011 10:45 PM EDT
Since inspectors always seem to find something wrong, it stands to reason that any homeowner who uses their kind of thorough thinking as a model during a once-a-year maintenance review-preferably in the fall, before rough weather sets in, and with a notepad in hand-will catch small problems before they balloon into major expenses. You don't need to hire a pro, though it may be warranted under certain circumstances. But just knowing where and how to look will help you create a didn't-miss-a-thing repair list, from which you can check items off one by one to keep your house in good health. "You won't be able to do everything a pro inspector does," says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, "but you'll stay one step ahead of the wind and the rain."Read More »from CHECKLIST: How to Do Your Own Fall Home Inspection
MORE: Easy Fall Prep for a Warm and Cozy Home
Here's our full 5-step plan of attack for looking at your house with the careful eye of a pro.
1. JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER
The logical place to start any fall maintenance inspection and
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Tue, Sep 6, 2011 9:18 PM EDT
We all know the drill: You wake up on a Saturday with every intention of doing some pre-winter maintenance but ditch your best-laid plans as soon as you feel the late-summer sun on your shoulders. Take a tip from the experts and avoid putting off till next Saturday (or next year) what you can do in a snap today-whether it's replacing old weather-stripping or adjusting the pitch of the gutters. You can always put your feet up later, when it's time to rake the leaves.-SAL VAGLICA, This Old House magazineRead More »from Button Up Your House for Fall and Slash Heating & Energy Bills
See ALL of our Fall Upkeep tips at thisoldhouse.com!
How to Do It:
Seal gaps larger than 1/8 inch around windows and doors to cut your winter heating bill by up to 15 percent. On windows, press adhesive-backed closed-cell foam onto the bottom of the sash. Secure a loose sash by applying a strip of plastic V-channel weather stripping in the groove the sash slides in, securing it with finish nails. Use foam strips on the sides and tops of doors, and install a door sweep on the bottom.
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Sat, Sep 3, 2011 10:33 PM EDT
You can do it! TOH general contractor Tom Silva walks beginners through some simple home center projects, including how to build a desk with easy-to-find stock materials, a tool bench with basic lumber, and more.Read More »from Quick & Easy Building Projects You Can Start (and Finish!) This Weekend
How to Build a Desk With a Storage Hutch. If you lack a dedicated spot for paying bills and stashing loose papers, a good desk is a must. And you can make one yourself with basic materials. To simplify construction, This Old House general contractor Tom Silva came up with a compact, drawer-free design. It'll take less than a day to build. Here's How to Build a Desk.
MORE: Inspirational Kitchen Office Design Ideas
How to Build a Tool Bench. Amy Paladino is a pro at juggling the demands of her job and family. But as with many of us, when it came to organizing tools for DIY projects, she needed a little assistance. Enter This Old House general contractor Tom Silva, with a plan for a size-it-to-your-space tool-storage bench that doubles as a work surface. Though it may look
- This Old House Magazine | Back To School – Thu, Sep 1, 2011 8:50 PM EDT
By outfitting your kid's study station with the coolest new essentials and gadgets, your little learners just might find themselves enjoying homework time. Here are a few kid-approved picks for smart students everywhere.-TABITHA SUKHAI & KAREN ZIGA, This Old House onlineRead More »from 5 Back-to-School Must-Haves You Didn't Even Know You Forgot
See all our back-to-school shopping essentials at thisoldhouse.com!
1. Posture In Style Ergonomic Chair and Desk
If you're investing in new furniture for your study station, this is as good as it gets. Posture in Style's ergonomically designed desks and chairs promote proper posture to prevent back-pain and fatigue, all while encouraging good penmanship. All of their pieces are adjustable, so they'll grow as your child does. You can create a truly custom space with changeable seat covers and desk system additions. Pricing and how to buy
MORE: How to Outfit Your Home to Help Your Kids' Study Habits
2. Under-the-Bed Storage Organizer
Stash all those extra supplies you scored at back-to-school sales under the bed.
- This Old House Magazine | Work + Money – Wed, Aug 31, 2011 6:41 PM EDT
Even though school is beginning and Labor Day weekend is upon us, there it is still technically a little summer weather left before Autumn rolls in. These step-by-step, do-it-yourself projects only require a weekend and will help prep you for fall.Read More »from 7 Weekend Projects to Tackle Before Summer Really Ends
See all of our weekend DIY projects at thisoldhouse.com!
1. Brick Path
When crossing your muddy yard to fetch the daily paper turns into an obstacle course of slips and slides, perhaps it's time to think about an alternative path-literally. Instead of sinking up to your ankles in the name of the morning stock report, take a weekend to lay a brick walkway.
As This Old House senior technical editor Mark Powers shows, in just one weekend you can turn a swath of dirt into a ribbon of elegance, able to withstand anything from a winter gale to a summer lawn mower. See How to Lay a Brick Path to get started.
MORE: Follow the This Old House Home Solutions Calendar
2. Garage Floodlight
We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but fall-with her longer