How to Reduce Your Water Bill
If you’re looking for ways to cut expenses, you may be wondering how you can reduce your water bill.
The average person uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). From showering and washing dishes to watering the garden, water usage can quickly add up. If you unnecessarily leave the water running or ignore a leak, that number could soar, adds the USGS.
The good news is that you may be able to reduce your water usage — and your water bill — by taking steps such as installing water-efficient appliances and adopting habits that require less water.
Here are some tips to help you save water and potentially reduce your water bill.
Minimize Water Use Indoors
If you’re buying new appliances, consider water-efficient fixtures marked with a WaterSense label. WaterSense is an EPA-backed program that identifies products like toilets and showerheads that use 20 percent less water without sacrificing performance. You may also qualify for rebates on certain WaterSense-labeled models, depending on where you live.
Using a more water-efficient toilet, for example, may help you significantly reduce your water usage. Toilet flushing accounts for almost 30 percent of the average household’s indoor water use, says the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). If you have an older toilet in your home, it may be using as much as 6 gallons per flush. Today’s models, though, typically require no more than 1.6 gallons, the EPA says. Upgrading to a more efficient toilet may save the average family more than $100 per year, according to the EPA.
Is your washing machine using too much water? When it’s time to replace it, look for Energy Star-labeled models and pay attention to their water efficiency, suggests the EPA. The EPA offers the same advice when it comes to choosing a dishwasher. Modern machines often require less water to get the job done.
Some other water-saving tips:
Check for Leaks
Leaks can account for more than 9,000 gallons of wasted water in your home each year, according to the EPA. Fixing constantly running toilets, dripping faucets and showerheads can help keep your water bill down.
Insulating the pipes that deliver hot water from your water heater may help prevent heat loss as the water travels to your faucets, says Energy.gov. This means you may have to run water for a shorter period of time as you wait for hot water to flow — and that reduction in water use may help you save money.
Reduce Outdoor Water Use with Xeriscaping
Watering your lawn or garden can also contribute to an increased water bill. You may be able to reduce your outdoor water use through xeriscaping.
Xeriscaping is a type of landscape design that minimizes the need for irrigation. Xeriscape considerations include choosing a landscape design and plants that thrive in a location’s natural climate without additional watering, National Geographic explains. For instance, choosing drought-resistant plants and features like rocks and mulch that retain moisture can reduce the need for you to water with a hose, National Geographic says. If watering is needed, consider using a soaker hose instead of a sprinkler to help avoid wasting water through evaporation, the organization says.
Water is essential for many aspects of everyday life. But taking some proactive steps may help keep your water bill down while also conserving an important natural resource.
Originally published on April 10, 2013.