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When you think of extreme weather, what springs to mind? Hurricanes? Tornadoes? Flash floods? While sudden, violent weather events may spark more anxiety than the relative “calm” of a period of drought, the latter can cause significant harm, such as crop failure, stress on local wildlife, severe economic problems, and of course, reduce access to safe drinking water.

A drought, or period of low precipitation conditions resulting in water shortages, stems from decreased rainfall and snowfall and can be influenced by the local climate, irrigation use, and the area’s reliance on thermoelectric power.

The four types of droughts include:

  • Meteorological: lack of precipitation

  • Agricultural: lack of moisture in the soil

  • Hydrological: low levels of water in lakes and reservoirs

  • Socioeconomic: shortages of running and drinking water

A home’s resilience, or ability to withstand extreme weather and natural disasters, is a key element of its performance. If you live in a drought-prone area, there are a few other things you can do to shore up your home’s defenses and keep your family safe and healthy.

Invest in Water-Efficient Appliances

When it comes to preparing your home to withstand droughts, the name of the game (not surprisingly) is all about conserving water. ENERGY STAR® appliances significantly reduce your water consumption compared to less efficient models.

“Use that ENERGY STAR dishwasher,” says Kerry Harp, senior sustainability analyst at Pearl Certification. “Washing dishes by hand is more wasteful than an efficient dishwasher.”

When your duds need some suds, opt for an ENERGY STAR clothes washer, which uses about 30% less water than regular washers. Pool filters also come in water-saving models.

Related Post: 10 Ways to Improve Your Kitchen’s Efficiency and Sustainability

Shop for Energy- and Water-Efficient Appliances


Keep Showers Short

Low-flow toilets, showerheads, and faucets require less H2O while not compromising efficiency or effectiveness. But even the most efficient showerhead won’t conserve our precious agua if it’s overused.

“Limit the length of time relaxing in the shower,” says Harp. “The average shower lasts about eight minutes, which can use 16 gallons of water or more. Consider a shower timer to go along with the low-flow showerhead.”

Related Post: 5 Upgrades That Will Improve Your Bathroom’s Efficiency and Sustainability

Lock Down Leaks

Don’t ignore that monotonous plop…plop…plop from your faucet. Even a faucet with a slow drip can waste 3,000 gallons of water per year! Log in to Pearl’s free Green Door app to hire a Pearl Network Plumber right away to repair your leak and save money on your water bill. Take the opportunity to have the plumber check for leaks in indoor and outdoor plumbing just to make sure you’re not shedding water anywhere else.

Connect with a Local, Vetted Plumber


Keep Your Foundation Strong

When the water’s away, the soil will play. When soil lacks water, it expands, which can wreak havoc on your home’s foundation. Use a drip hose or soaker hose a few feet from your abode to soak your yard.

Create a Maintenance Reminder in the Green Door app in order to routinely check your foundation, as well as brick, stucco, tile, or drywall structures, for damage and cracks and have them repaired. Even your chimney is susceptible, so be sure to be thorough.

Slow-moving, structural foundation damage due to changing soil conditions is often not covered by standard insurance policies. Login to Green Door to obtain your free ClimateCheck® score to assess your specific home’s risk of drought. If your home is at high risk for drought, you may want to consider obtaining an insurance policy to protect yourself.

Look for Cool Materials

Your home’s facade can help keep you cool in drought conditions.

“If you live in a climate with excessive heat, consider ‘cool’ building materials, such as stucco, brick, or concrete,” says Harp. “Installing light-colored materials will help to deflect solar energy from the sun.”

The same goes for your home’s lid. A “cool roof” deflects more sunlight than a conventional roof and therefore absorbs less solar energy. Standard roofs can reach a scorching 150°F or more on a sunny summer afternoon, whereas a “cool roof” could stay at a mere 50°F under the same conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

For homeowners with green thumbs, xeriscaping is a great option in drought-prone areas! No, that’s not a typo. Xeriscaping refers to the practice of landscaping in a manner that requires little-to-no irrigation. Select plants native to your climate and drought-tolerant plants, which require about a third less of the water.

If your lawn begs for a drink, consider implementing a water-efficient hydrating method, such as collecting rainwater or drip irrigation controlled by smart technology.

Mulch can keep more moisture in the soil than alternatives, and cutting the grass at a higher setting also helps keep that valuable water in the dirt. Strategically plant trees, shrubs, and other plants to create shade and limit moisture evaporation.

Be Prepared for Power Loss

Due to the correlation between droughts and hot temperatures, electricity can become a limited resource when water is scarce.

“Often droughts and excessive heat come hand-in-hand,” says Harp. “Extreme temperatures result in increased electricity use due to the increased need for air conditioning. If you live in a climate with reoccurring hot temperatures, be prepared for this electric demand. This demand may influence the price and availability of electricity. Prepare by having a battery-powered fan, plenty of water, and shield windows from direct sun by using interior or exterior shading devices.”

Pearl Certification has partnered with ClimateCheck to provide homeowners with a custom report scoring their specific home’s unique risk to weather-induced threats. Log in to Green Door to obtain your report and create a Home Investment Plan to formulate your custom approach to a more resilient and high-performing home.

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