With the cost of living increasing so rapidly, water consumption and the energy used to heat it have become much more than environmental issues. Reducing your consumption can save you money! There are several ways to significantly lower the water bill and cut costs.
When it comes to saving, it’s the little things that matter: Small savings add up. Small changes will do the trick if you want to conserve water and reduce your water bill.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average household spends as much as $500 per year on its water and sewer bills. By making just a few simple alterations to use water more efficiently, you could save a minimum of $170 per year.
There are three steps involved in lowering your water bills: changing your water usage habits, installing water-saving devices for your sinks, showers and toilets, and plumbing maintenance.
Step 1: Change Your Water Usage Habits
Changing habits can be challenging, and it won’t happen overnight. At first, change only a few of your water usage habits. Change some more habits after you become more comfortable conserving water in your home. Encourage all your family members to change their habits as well.
The more family members on board, the greater the savings will be. Young children learn their water usage habits from their parents. Setting an example for your children when they’re young will help them develop water-saving habits for the future.
Don’t let the water run while you brush your teeth. Most standard bathroom faucets use 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth could save hundreds of gallons of water each week.
Turn off the faucet while scrubbing dishes. A water-conscious way to wash dishes is to do it in two steps. First, scrub the dishes (the faucet should be off) and clean the sponge. Second, turn on the faucet and rinse the dishes.
Only run the dishwasher when it is fully loaded with dishes. Avoid using the pre-wash cycle, as this uses additional water. If you need a new dishwasher, purchase an Energy Star qualified dishwasher.
Energy Star dishwashers use 5.8 gallons of water per cycle. Older dishwashers (those purchased before 1994) use about 8 additional gallons of water.
Use your washing machine only when you have full loads. If you have a water level option on your washing machine, use it! Wearing clothes more than once will also help decrease the number of loads per week.
If you are in the market for a new washing machine, purchase a high-efficiency model. High-efficiency washing machines use less than 28 gallons of water per load (the average washing machine uses about 41 gallons of water per load).
Take shorter showers. Cutting down your shower time by just a minute or two will decrease the amount of water wasted and will certainly save money. Additionally, consider leaving the water off while you shave.
Limit the amount of water used during bath time for your children. You can save hundreds of gallons of water each week by teaching your children how to take a shower.
A full bathtub requires about 70 gallons of water while taking a five-minute shower uses 10 to 25 gallons. Children over the age of 6 can easily maneuver a hand-held showerhead. A quick shower for a child uses less water than a quick bath.
Keep drinking water in the fridge to avoid wasting water while you wait for the tap to get cold.
Water your lawn and garden in moderation. Decide on your landscaping priorities: Would you rather keep more money in your pocket or have a lush, green lawn? Just one hour of watering with an in-ground sprinkler system can use up to 250 gallons of water.
Consider drip irrigation systems. They are more efficient than conventional in-ground sprinklers because no water is lost to wind, runoff, or evaporation. According to the EPA, if your in-ground system uses 100,000 gallons annually, you could potentially save more than 200,000 gallons over the lifetime of drip irrigation, should you choose to install it.
That adds up to savings of at least $1,150. Use drought-tolerant plants in your garden. They’ll help reduce the need for watering. Consider harvesting rainwater. Simple collecting and storing rainwater for your lawn or garden will cut down on your water usage.
Step 2: Install Water Saving Devices
Water saving devices can be installed in toilets, showerheads, and faucets. Installing water saving devices is simple, even for beginner do-it-yourselfers. Most products come with detailed installation instructions. If you are unsure, contact your local plumbing company.
Low Flow Showerheads
Low flow showerheads deliver 1.6 gallons of water per minute. This is much less than the 4-5 gallons per minute than conventional showerheads deliver. You can purchase a good-quality low-flow showerhead for under $20.
Dual-Flush Toilet or Dual-Flush Toilet Switch
If your toilet is from 1992 or earlier, you probably have an inefficient model that uses at least 3.5 gallons per flush. If you are in need of a new toilet, purchase a dual-flush toilet. They provide two flushing options: full flush or half flush.
The full flush typically uses 1.6 gallons of water, and the half flush uses about .8 gallons. If you do not need to replace your toilet, you can purchase a flush adapter installed into the toilet tank. These cost about $100.
Low-Flow Faucet Aerators
Faucet aerators look like tiny screens and cost about $10. Low-flow aerators decrease the amount of water flowing from the faucet. Without an aerator, the water comes out in a gushing flow. An aerator spreads the flow, which saves water.
Step 3: Plumbing Maintenance
Checking for leaky pipes, toilets and sinks will help prevent costly leaks. Leaks often go undetected, and it’s a waste to pay for the water you aren’t even using. You’ll notice a lower water bill as soon as you fix any leaks.
Cover your hot water pipes with foam insulation to prevent heat loss. It will decrease the time you need to run the water to get it warm. Uninsulated pipes allow heat loss while transferring the water from the water heater to your faucets.
If you live anywhere like where I live, your water bill is probably one of the more expensive bills you pay every month. In fact, come the first of the year, our water bill here will increase by 80%. It’s a crazy thought, I know, so we have been doing everything we can to cut back on our water intake, not only because of the increase but because we want to be environmentally conscious.
However, water conservation has become a huge issue over the years, with many seeking ways to use less water as well as lower their bill.