If you’re not paying close attention, a high water bill can really sneak up on you.
Long showers, frequent dishwasher cycles, and constant lawn watering may be common culprits, but it’s important to consider the full spectrum of ways you could save on your monthly bill. And while it may pain you to dial back your water usage, don’t forget that saving water could save you money while helping the environment—a win-win!
Adopting a few simple changes can help you make a habit of saving water. Here’s what you need to know.
Understand How Much Water Is “Normal”
Your “normal” amount of water usage will likely vary based on a number of factors. Our water bills in the US tend to creep up a little in summer when sweaty outdoor activities are popular and the lawn needs watering. You may also have high water bills when you have visitors staying over.
Estimates vary, but most people will use between 80-100 gallons of water each day. Factor in the number of people you have in your household, and you have a good ballpark to work from.
Next, make sure you understand your water bill and the charges on it. For example, if seasonal rates are in effect, it may become more important to dial back your water usage.
If you’re still left scratching your head and wondering, “Why is my water bill so high?” you may have other issues at play. Problems with plumbing in your water main line or other major leaks can wreak havoc with your water bill, so if you can’t figure out the cause for the high costs, you may need to call in an expert for an inspection.
However, for basic strategies to minimize your water usage, there are a few simple tricks to keep in mind.
1. Fix Faucet and Toilet Leaks
Household faucet and toilet leaks are one of the most common high water bill causes. Leaky faucets may not seem to have a big impact initially, but those steady trips can add up! According to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey, a faucet releasing a single drop of water per second can waste over 2,000 gallons of water per year. Luckily, this is a common issue you can fix yourself with a trip to the hardware store.
2. Wash Full Loads
If your washer isn’t full, it may be better to wait until you have more dirty clothes to wash. Not only can frequent wash cycles waste water, but they can also cause wear and tear on your clothes and the washer itself.
The same is true of your dishwasher if you have one in your home. Make sure the unit is full before letting it run, or wash the odd dish by hand to save wasted water.
3. Shower With Care
Older, inefficient showerheads can waste a significant amount of water. Modern versions must come with a flow rate of no more than 2.5 gallons per minute, so upgrade an older model for best results, as newer models can pay for themselves in under a year.
In addition, limit your time in the shower itself. Showers account for about 17 percent of residential indoor water use, according to the EPA, and that’s before you spend a long time luxuriating in the warm water. Try to limit your shower to just a few minutes, and don’t take more than one a day when possible.
4. Water Your Lawn at the Right Time
Watering your lawn in the heat of midday is a sure way to waste copious amounts of water. But when is the right time to turn on the sprinkler system? As it turns out, sunrise is the best time for water absorption, so try to take care of the lawn as early as possible.
In addition, make sure not to over-water: most types of grass need just an inch of water a week, though you can divide this into several days.
When it comes to your flowers and any potted plants you water by hand, consider collecting rainwater instead. Rainwater is the best way to water plants, as it contains more oxygen and nutrients that tap water can’t deliver.
5. Replace Energy-Guzzling Appliances
Just like with your showerhead, replacing older appliances can really help you save money. The increasingly popular WaterSense and EnergyStar seals indicate the water and energy savings, respectively, and appliances bearing these seals can be a great choice. Don’t forget to consider a front-loading washer, as these use less water than their top-loading relatives.
6. Turn Off the Water
Americans waste a ridiculous amount of water while brushing their teeth, with one in three people admitting to leaving the tap running. Turning off the tap for two minutes could conserve eight gallons of water per day, making it an important thing to teach any kids in the family.
Know How to Lower a High Water Bill
At the end of the day, following the simple strategies above can add up to a lower water bill over time. No matter how you reduce your wasted water, the environment—and your wallet—will thank you for it!
If you’ve followed tips like these to no avail, we’re happy to help you check for household plumbing issues and find better ways to lower your high water bill. Check out our services and contact us for more information.