Much like your home’s electric bill, your monthly water bill is entirely dependent on how much of that resource you use. Every single ounce consumed adds up, and there are a number of practices and plumbing factors homeowners don’t acknowledge when thinking about their everyday water consumption.
In this article, we tackle those often overlooked consumption areas and highlight five simple, highly effective ways you can reduce your regular water use and, in turn, your monthly water bill.
“Waste” Water Isn’t Wasted
How many gallons of water do you think you use every month for day-to-day tasks like washing fruits and vegetables, or tending to your lawn? If you’re like most Canadians, using water this way probably seems insignificant in terms of consumption; however, the gallons add up.
One way you can lower your consumption and water bill is by reusing rinse and “waste” water (such as the water used to clean food products during meal prep.) when watering plants in and around your home.
Additionally, recirculating water pumps can greatly decrease the water consumed by pools, artificial ponds and other outdoor water features.
Stop Leaks at the Source
This applies to any and all plumbing fixtures in your home, toilets especially. A leaking toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons in a single week, resulting in significant water bill spikes. More troublesome, if your toilet leaks quietly, you may not even notice the problem until it’s too late.
If you suspect your toilet is leaking, try dripping a few droplets of food coloring into your tank, waiting 20 minutes or so, and check your bowl for coloring. If there’s any coloring in the bowl, you’ve got a tank leak, most likely due to a faulty or loose flapper valve. Fortunately, this is any easy – and affordable – fix. Flapper valve replacements can be found at your local home improvement store for a few dollars.
Install High-Efficiency Plumbing Fixtures
One very effective way to cut a high home water bill is replacing your old faucets, shower heads and toilets with low-flow, WaterSense-certified models. Conventional shower heads could use as much as 5+ gallons of water per minute (gpm). Today’s WaterSense-labeled models more than half this number, using only 2.5 gallons of water per minute.
Swapping out your old plumbing fixtures with higher-efficiency models can help you reduce your monthly water bill by as much as 60%.
Additionally, one of the most common ways homeowners waste significant amounts of water every year, especially during rainy seasons, is by letting their home irrigations system run while mother nature is doing the job for them.
While you can turn your home sprinkler system off manually to avoid wasting water this way, you won’t always be present to do so. This is the primary function of irrigation rain sensors, which electrically shut off sprinkler systems when rain is detected. This not only conserves water and reduces run-off, but also limits how much of your monthly water bill is attributed to waste.
Avoid Washing Dishes by Hand
You may think of your kitchen’s dishwasher as a consumption-heavy burden and major contributor to your monthly water bill. While many believe washing dishes by hand conserves water that would be wasted by dishwashers, the opposite is, in fact, true.
A standard, Energy Star-certified dishwasher will only consume 4 gallons of water per washing cycle. Conversely, standard sink faucets flow at a rate of 2 gpm (or more, if faucet aerators are not installed). Running your kitchen faucet for two minutes conserves an equal amount of water as a single Energy Star-labeled dishwasher load.
Save Washing Machines and Dishwashers for Full Loads
While it may come as no surprise, washing machines consume a lot of water. Modern washing machine models consume as much as 40 gallons of water per load; even high-efficiency models require as much as 15-30 gallons for each wash load. One way to limit how much of your home water consumption goes toward your washing machines (and dishwashers, while we’re at it) is waiting for until loads are full to begin a wash.
Whether you’re running a medium or large washing machine load, you unit will use about the same about of energy and water. Always wash full loads whenever possible.
By following these five easy tips, you should be able to greatly reduce the amount of water you consume throughout your household – bringing noticeable reductions to your monthly water bill.
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