Lower Your Water Bill With These Simple Tips
Recent drought conditions across several regions of the country have caused many people to re-think their water usage. As rivers and lakes began to dry up here in the Midwest, I too began to wonder if my household was using too much water. Not only is it important for us to use only the water we need, but it helps the budget when we reduce spending. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to lower your water bill, either. Here are five simple and easy ways to lower your water bill.
Stop watering the lawn
One of the first things we did to conserve water was stop watering our lawn. This was extremely tough for me to do because I’ve always taken so much pride in keeping a nicely groomed lawn. I over-seeded the lawn with a more drought resistant seed variety, but the new seed takes a lot of water to take hold. So halfway through the summer as the rest of the neighborhood dried up, I just gave up on the green lawn. I stopped wasting water in a losing battle and let the lawn go dormant. I’m sure I’ll have some damage to repair this spring but I should also be able to take advantage of early spring rains to establish the new layer of drought resistant grass.
Use low flow shower heads
My kids both have one thing in common with me: we all love to take long showers. My daughter has a low-flow shower head in her bathroom that allows her to turn off the water at the head during the shower. The rest of the shower heads in the house were normal ones, which poses a problem when long showers are the norm. Normal shower heads use 2.5 gallons per minute. That adds up over the course of a year.
We recently purchased new low flow shower heads that use 1.5 gallons per minute. Over the span of a year, that’ll save us at least 9,000 gallons of water. It’s hard for me to visualize how much water that is, but I’m told it’s about half a swimming pool. That’s a lot of water!
Turn off water while brushing teeth
This sounds like it wouldn’t save a lot of money, but do you really need to leave the faucet running while you brush? An average faucet uses 2 gallons per minute so if it takes you a minute to brush your teeth, you’re using about 700 gallons per year. Our dentist tells our kids to brush for two minutes each time, twice per day, so that’s almost 3,000 gallons per year per kid.
They say turning off the tap while you brush your teeth can save up to 8 gallons of water a day (pretty much the same 3,000 gallons per year number I just used above). I think that’s a little high on a per-person basis because you have to run some water to brush your teeth and not everyone brushes for two minutes twice a day. It definitely makes you think about your water usage though. For a family of four, you’re talking a water savings of over 10,000 gallons of water a year. Wow. Talk about an easy tip to lower your water bill!
Don’t pre-rinse dishes
This is a bit of a sore subject in our house, but experts say you shouldn’t pre-rinse your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. The dishwasher is designed to get the food particles off your dishes. Those food particles help provide an abrasive to clean the other food off your dishes. So when you rinse your dishes before loading the dishwasher, you end up using extra water to do what the dishwasher was designed to do on its own.
However, I’ve found that certain food stains require a short soak to make sure they will come clean later. I don’t take the time to “wash the dishes” before I wash the dishes with the dishwasher. I do, however, give them a really quick rinse to soften up the food before placing them in the washer. That seems to prime them just enough to help them come clean.
Turn off water while showering
Not the easiest thing to do, but there are shower heads that have a shutoff valve built into the head itself. This lets you turn off the flow of water without changing the temperature. You have to be diligent about it but think about all the water that you use when you’re shampooing your hair or scrubbing your body parts.
It’s a technique that reminds me of my military days when they regulated how long you could run the water, then made you shut it off while doing anything other than rinsing off the soap or shampoo. While I didn’t particularly enjoy that experience, I did learn how quickly one could take a shower while using a ridiculously small amount of water.
So what do you do in your home to lower your water bill? Do you have a magic formula or special secret? Have you used any of the techniques listed above? Leave a comment to share your tips!