How to Save Water
Are you wondering how to save water and reduce your utility bills?
Does it feel like your water bill goes up every month?
It probably does! Drought, aging infrastructure, and increasing needs for infrastructure have sent water prices soaring. In fact, rates have increased 48 percent since 2010.
I don’t mind purchasing groceries, because I take them home, fill my fridge and pantry, and feed my family. I don’t mind purchasing clothing, either, because I’m pretty minimal about what I buy and I can see that my kiddos need what I purchase. Taking care of my family makes me feel like a great mom, so I don’t mind spending money on it.
But utility bills? I feel like I spend half of my life turning off lights that my children have left on. And I spend the other half knocking on their bathroom doors telling them to hurry in the shower. Probably half of what I’m paying in utility bills is quite literally going down the drain.
How about you? How do you think your water usage stacks up against others?
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The average American household uses 400 gallons of water per day! The average household includes 4 people, so that’s about 100 gallons per person per day. That’s a heck of a lot of water!
Average water bill
The average water bill where I live is about $50 per month.
The average water bill for Seattle is $171. 48. Your water bill really depends on where you live, how many people are in your home, and how well you conserve water.
Hot water is the second-largest expense in powering most homes, according to the Energy Department. Cutting back on your hot water usage can make a sizable dent in your electric bill (if your water heater is electric) as well as your water bill.
While we (by we I mean my children) may waste more water than we should, we actually aren’t doing too bad. According to my water bill, we actually use only about 30 gallons per day per person, which is less than average. We also water cows, chickens, cats and dogs.
I’ve got some tips for you, in case you’re looking for ways to save water.
Here’s how to save water in daily life.
Save money on your utility bills now with these easy ways to reduce your water bill:
1. Send your kids off to boarding school ASAP.
Totally kidding. Though in all seriousness, you could focus a couple of dinnertime conversations around utility bills and how you could probably take them to Disneyland every year with the amount of money they waste on their 40-minute showers.
2. Install a low-flow shower head.
Speaking of lengthy showers, installing a low-flow shower head can reduce the amount of water you use while showering by as much as 50 percent. This is one of the very best ways to conserve water.
An efficient showerhead can reduce your water usage by 2,700 gallons per year. Look for one with the WaterSense label, which is certified to meet efficiency criteria set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Oh, and fix any leaky faucets! That drip, drip, drip isn’t just annoying, it wastes gallons of water.
3. Take shorter showers.
You can save almost 4,000 gallons of water per year by reducing your shower by 4 minutes! Imagine how that would add up if every member of your family participated.
My dad always told us to get in and get wet, then turn the water off while we lathered, then turn the water back on to rinse. Focus on getting in and getting out.
This can save as much as $100 per person annually and will also save you a tidy sum on other utility bills, such as gas and electricity, because you’ll be heating less water.
4. Don’t let the water run when shaving, brushing your teeth, and washing your hands.
When brushing your teeth, turn off the water until you need to rinse. When shaving, plug up the sink and run a little hot water into it. Use that water to rinse your razor and to rinse your face when finished.
Never leave the water running, when it isn’t being used. You can waste thousands of gallons of water that way, because it all adds up.
5. Run ONLY full loads of laundry.
It takes nearly the same amount of water to wash a full load of dirty laundry as it does to wash a small load. My new washing machine actually measures my loads and how dirty the clothes are, and adjusts the water usage accordingly.
But older washing machines use the same amount of water and energy for every load. So washing only full loads is one of the very easiest ways to conserve water.
You can also cut your per-load energy usage in half by using the cold-water setting on your machine. Most clothes will actually last longer when laundered in cold water.
6. Don’t hand-wash dishes.
Running a full load in the dishwasher uses, on average, less than 1/6 the amount of water you would use to wash those same dishes by hand. Most energy-efficient dishwashers don’t require you to rinse your dishes before loading the dishwasher, either, as long as you load the dishes properly.
Of course, it goes without saying that you should only run your dishwasher when it’s full in order to maximize your water savings.
According to my kids, using the dishwasher instead of hand washing the dishes is one of the most enjoyable ways to conserve water.
7. Choose efficient fixtures and appliances.
Purchasing a Water-Sense rated dishwasher and washing machine can add up to big water savings and money savings. Aerating your faucets, investing in a low-flow toilet, choosing efficient shower heads.
If you’re in the market for a new washer, dishwasher or water heater, buy an energy efficient model for long-term water savings. Over the lifetime of they appliance, you’ll save a bundle on water and energy bills, too.
Dishwashers with the Energy Star label are required to use less than 5.8 gallons of water per cycle, compared to older models that used over 10 gallons per cycle.
Older toilets use a lot more water, too. If you have an old toilet that still works just fine, you can reduce your usage by sinking a half gallon jug of water in the toilet tank. Do NOT use a brick, because it will break down and the sediment can damage your tank.
8. Store cold water in the fridge.
Instead of running the tap and waiting for the water to cool off each time you want a cold glass of water, fill up a pitcher or two and store them in your fridge. You’ll save water by not letting it run.
9. Add a rain barrel to collect rainwater.
Harvesting rainwater is a great way to conserve water and save your money, too. Many different tank sizes and shapes are available these days to fit either below or above the ground. Some states even offer rebates and/or tax incentives for home owners who install rainwater harvesting systems.
If you’d like to know more, Brad Lancaster shares other simple ways to save water at Harvesting Rainwater. He is someone who really understands the importance of water conservation.
10. Reuse grey water.
Check to make sure that this is legal where you live, but in some areas you can do things like re-route the water from your washing machine and shower for use in your landscape. Of course, you have to be careful of harsh detergents.
11. Water outdoor plants in the early morning.
Because you will be losing less water to evaporation, you’ll use less water when you water in the cool of the morning. If you landscape your yard with plants appropriate to your climate, you’ll also use less water. You can find lists of water-wise plants for your particular climate and zone online.
Save water = Save money
Even if you only reduce your water bill by $25 each month, that’s an extra $300 you’ll have in your checking account at the end of the year. Plus you can feel good about caring for our precious natural resources.
What other ways can you think of to save money on your water bill? Please share in the comments below!
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