You may be using more water than you thought! Inspect your last few water bills. Did you know that the average family of four uses anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 gallons of water per month? Your lifestyle typically dictates the amount of water used. A running toilet can waste up to 7,000 gallons of water per month while a simple toilet flush could use up to 10 gallons of water each time! There are all sorts of water hogs in the home (including you) that could be raising that water and sewage utility bill through the roof! By following a few water conservation tips, you could enjoy a much lower bill.
Consider these handy tips:
- Replace all the dripping faucets in your home as you could be wasting 3,000 to 5,000 gallons of water a year by allowing those slow drips to continue. Sometimes all it takes is replacing the rubber gaskets into the faucet handle.
- Consider installing aerators that allow for flow restriction to reduce the output of water.
- Do not operate your dishwasher or washing machine with anything less than full capacity. You are wasting water running them only half full.
- Check for toilet tank leaks and replace sticky flushing handles that allow the water to run in the bowl. To test for leaks, put some food coloring in the tank. If you notice any color in the bowl within 20 minutes, you know there is a leak somewhere.
- The inner parts of the toilet tank may become corroded or require replacing as they wear out. Parts are quite inexpensive and easy to replace on your own. You should make it a habit to replace them every few years.
- Consider installing a low flow showerhead as this can save you some gallons of water each month. Or, you can take shorter showers.
- Conserve your water by recycling it. If you take a shower, bring a bucket into the shower with you to capture the excess and then use it to water flowers, mopping floors, or any other applicable chore around your home. The same principle applies for leftover water from boiling pasta or washing dishes.
- Because taking baths uses up to 10 or 20 gallons more water than showers, consider reducing your bathtub trips and shower instead.
- Install rain barrels outdoors to capture rainwater and use it to water the garden, flower beds, or container plants. This will reduce the need to use the garden hose and thereby reduce your water bill.
- Avoid using running water to thaw frozen foods. Instead, defrost in the refrigerator overnight.
If you incorporate many water-saving techniques and still feel you should have a lower water bill, consider contacting your city or municipality that handles water and sewage maintenance. Some city departments offer inspections of the home for free or at a nominal fee where a worker comes out to identify the sources of possible leaks that could be driving your water bill up. By doing what you can to reduce water consumption, you are helping save the environment.
Some resources for more water-saving tips and ideas: