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How to Decrease Your Water Bill

For many households, their water bill is a big expense, and with drought conditions in various parts of the country, penalties for excessive water use are being added to many water bills.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an average family of four uses 400 gallons every day. On average, approximately 70 percent of that water is used indoors, with the bathroom being the largest source of that usage (a toilet alone can use 27 percent).

That’s why since 2006, the EPA has sponsored WaterSense, a partnership program that helps people save water with a product label and tips for saving water indoors and out. Products bearing the WaterSense label have been independently certified to perform well; help save water, energy, and money.

So what can you do to reduce water usage? Plenty!

Here’s some tips to help you lower your water consumption (and your bill):

Older toilets can use as much as 3.5 to 7 gallons per flush; newer standard toilets use 1.6 gallons per flush.

•    Replace your old toilet with a WaterSense labeled toilet. They use 1.28 gallons per flush or less, and can reduce the amount of water a family uses for toilets by 20 to 60 percent.
•    Also, check for leaks! A running toilet can waste about 200 gallons every day.

Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons per minute.

•    Replace showerheads with WaterSense labeled models; replacing just one showerhead can save the average family 2,900 gallons of water. Your utility may even offer rebates.

Bathroom faucets use 2 gallons per minute.

•    Turn off the faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth (savings- more than 200 gallons of water per month).
•    Replace faucets and aerators with WaterSense labeled models to save even more.

Washing machines and dishwashers

•    Trade-in that old washing machine for a high–efficiency model which uses less than 27 gallons per load (vs. traditional models which use between 27 and 54 gallons).
•    Don’t rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher (could save up to 10 gallons per load).
•    Wash only full loads of laundry or use the appropriate water level or load size selection on the washing machine

Tips for the kitchen

•    Plug up the sink or use a wash basin if washing dishes by hand.
•    Run full loads in the dishwasher
•    Scrape plates instead of rinsing before loading them into the dishwasher.
•    Thaw food in the refrigerator overnight instead of running a stream of hot water over food
•    Don’t use the garbage disposal; start a compost pile in your yard.

Outdoor water-savings tips

According to the EPA, nearly 7 billion gallons of water (which accounts for 30 percent) is used daily by households in the United States just for outdoor water use. In the hot summer months, or in dry climates, a household’s outdoor water use can be as high as 70 percent. Here are some things you can do today:

•    Sweep driveways, sidewalks, and steps; don’t use your hose.
•    Wash cars with water from a bucket, don’t leave your hose running; use a commercial car wash that recycles water.
•    If you have a pool, use a cover to reduce evaporation when pool is not being used.

Have you reduced your water usage? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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