Now that so many folks are spending more time at home than ever before, people are getting the highest water bills they’ve seen in years. If you’ve found yourself in this particular boat, don’t worry. There are several ways to start reducing your water costs and consumption around the house, from easy habits you can begin today to basic plumbing improvements that will pay for themselves in short order.
1. Add aerators to your existing faucets.
Frequent handwashing is a critical part of preventing the spread of illnesses, and while you certainly should not decrease your handwashing, you can reduce the amount of water it uses. An aerator separates the flow of water from your faucet into numerous tiny streams, simultaneously allowing less water out and letting air in. This means that the faucet can run the same amount of time as before while using less water--and with no decrease in water pressure.
2. Start using a shower bucket.
While waiting for your shower to heat up, collect the cold water in a bucket or other large container that’s easy to carry. You can use this clean tap water for shaving, housecleaning, handwashing delicate laundry, and watering plants. You’ll save around two and a half to three gallons each time!
3. Opt for your dishwasher over handwashing.
If you own a fairly new dishwasher, simply use it to start saving money because it requires less water and energy than handwashing dishes. If you own an ENERGY STAR rated dishwasher, you’ll use less than half as much energy as washing dishes by hand. This can add up to nearly 5,000 gallons of water saved yearly.
4. Use the “two sink trick.”
Even if you don’t own a dishwasher, you can still reduce your water usage while washing dishes. Begin by scraping the food off of the plates first, and start washing before the food has a chance to dry up. Don’t bother rinsing the dishes first, as this will needlessly use water. The trick is to use two sinks. Fill one with hot, soapy water for scrubbing, and use the other side to give the dishes a quick rinse.
5. Wash only full loads of laundry.
Wait to start your laundry until you have full loads to wash. Also, contrary to the age-old advice of separating the clothes by color, it’s okay to mix dark and light clothes in most cases. The only time you don’t want to mix light and dark clothing is when:
- You’re adding bleach or vinegar to brighten whites; this can bleach your dark clothes.
- You’re washing a brand new, dark item of clothing; if the clothing item hasn’t been washed before, the dark dye can discolor your light clothes.
6. Repair small, pesky leaks.
Don’t let “small” leaks get away from you. This includes dripping showerheads and faucets and toilets the run continuously. WaterSense reports that the average household’s leaks can account for over 10,000 wasted gallons of water yearly! Instead of letting leaks continuously drain your bank account, it makes more sense to get them repaired.
7. Upgrade with WaterSense labeled plumbing fixtures.
While many people are familiar with ENERGY-STAR products, fewer people know about WaterSense labeled plumbing products and just how much water, energy, and money these fixtures save. To earn the WaterSense label, products and services must be “certified to use at least 20 percent less water, save energy, and perform as well as or better than regular models.”
Here are some examples of those savings for the average family if they replace their old, inefficient plumbing fixtures with Watersense labeled models:
- Toilets: 13,000 gallons of water and $130 in water costs saved yearly
- Showerheads: 2,700 gallons of water and $70 in water and electricity costs saved yearly
- Faucets and aerators: $250 in water and electricity costs saved over the faucets’ lifetime
According to the EPA, upgrading to a WaterSense labeled faucet aerator, showerhead, and toilet in your home’s main bathroom can pay for itself in as little as one year.
Not feeling confident in your DIY skills? You can count on Rudd Plumbing for a high-quality plumbing installation that’s done right the first time. Contact us today online or by phone at (903) 290-0851.