When you step into the shower or turn on your sprinklers in the yard, you may be using more water than you think. It might not seem like a big deal, but if you stop and pay close attention to just how much water you are using and for what, it may surprise you just how much water you are wasting. This water waste adds up to more money out of your pocket in your monthly water bill. There are ways to lower your water bill, and all it takes are a few steps from you to start some new habits that will ultimately reduce your water use and end up saving you some money.
Check for Leaks
Leaks are one of the biggest ways you are wasting water without even knowing it. There can be sneaky leaks that show up around toilets and sinks. Having even a small leak around your toilet bowl or faucet can waste as much as 75 liters of water in a single day!
Start by checking for leaks in the obvious places, like the base of your faucet or around the bottom of your toilet bowl. There are also a couple of less obvious places that you may be losing water. You can simply place a dry paper towel under your sink to see if those pipes are leaking, as this can be a harder place for you to detect a leak by sight. Also check inside your toilet to make sure it is all working properly and you are not wasting water there.
Only Run Appliances with a Full Load (and Use Energy-Efficient Appliances)
This a very simple habit to get into. The concept is that the less you use your dishwasher and washing machine, the less water you are using. You can use even less if you wait to run them only when you have a full load.
If you want to go that extra mile on saving water usage, you can stop doing the pre-rinse/wash of dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Most dishwashers are pretty effective in removing food particles, and this will save you water and time if you just load them into the dishwasher without the pre-rinse. This is especially true of newer units, which are designed to remove even the toughest food particles without a pre-rinse.
It can be tempting to go ahead and wash that small load of sports practice clothes or gym gear on its own, but it can save you a ton of water usage if you just wait until you have a full load to run that washing machine.
Also, using an Energy Star qualified appliance will save you over $135 a year in wasted water cost compared to an unqualified unit. Make sure you have one of these qualified appliances, and you can instantly save money on your water bill. In addition, some washers have a water adjustment feature that allows you to adjust your water usage according to your load. These are things to look for as you shop for new appliances and want to lower that water bill.
Install Water-Saving Shower Heads
It sure feels great after a long day to get into a nice hot shower and stay in there for a good long soak. However, a little-known fact is that those extra-long hot showers is where up to 30% of water is wasted. Showering for a longer period of time can use over 15% of the fresh water in your home and send 30% that is unused down the drain. This results in more money on your water bill that is not needed.
To save this money, you can simply install a water-saving showerhead. These are modestly priced and help reduce the flow rate of the water coming out (while still keeping decent water pressure), meaning you waste less water even as you take a longer shower. You can go to a local home improvement store and ask to see these water-saving showerheads and pick out the one that will work best for you.
Water Outside Earlier
Take these good habits outdoors and start running your sprinklers in the early morning hours instead of the middle of the day. Doing this in the early morning hours helps reduce water waste due to evaporation in the hotter times of the day.
Another benefit to morning watering is that it reduces fungus growth and garden slugs because it’s cooler out, and these organisms prefer the warmth. So creating this habit gives you a two for one: a lower water bill and fewer garden pests!
Place and Replace Mulch Around Plants
It has been found that as much as 50% of your fresh water bill is used to keep your lawn and plants alive. This would seem like the obvious place to start and try to reduce your water bill. This can be accomplished by placing mulch around your plants.
Using mulch helps reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool underneath. Mulch also helps hold water for your plants as well as reduce weeds that will absorb extra water, and it will keep your plants healthy. When you see how much simply placing mulch around your plants will save on your water bill, it is a fairly cheap investment in the long run.
By simply taking on even one or two of these water-saving habits, you can save hundreds on your water bill over time. Start slow and don’t feel like all of this needs to be done at once, but steadily create these habits and watch your water bill decrease!