Using less water at home doesn’t just mean more money in your pocket for everyday expenses, savings, and fun—it’s also a way of helping out your community and the local environment. Though we might not realize it, water waste occurs in just about all of our homes, which means we’re all using more water than we actually need.
On the positive side, that means there are multiple ways for us to shrink our water usage—and utility bills. Learn more below!
5 THINGS THAT DRIVE UP WATER BILLS
If you’d like to reduce your water bill, first you’ll need to identify where the most water waste occurs in your home on a regular basis. Below are some of the most common sources of wasted water in a typical household.
1. Small leaks
Small leaks may not seem like an urgent problem, but a dripping faucet or a toilet with a loose flapper could be costing you a lot more money than you might think. Even one small drip adds up over the course of a year. Take these examples from the EPA:
- One showerhead that drips 10 times a minute can waste more than 500 gallons per year—enough water to run your dishwasher 60 times.
- One faucet dripping once per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year—enough water to take 180 showers.
If you see a dripping tap or hear your toilet run periodically when no one is using it, it’s best to call a plumber to fix the leak before that waste adds up.
2. Hidden leaks
One of the first signs of a hidden leak is an inexplicably high water bill. Hidden leaks can occur behind walls, underneath floors, and even in your home’s foundation (this is known as a slab leak).
If you notice that your water bill has been unusually high and can’t figure out why, don’t wait to call a plumber to see if they can detect a concealed leak in your home. This can help you avoid extensive water damage and restoration costs, on top of higher water bills.
3. Old, inefficient toilets
Did you know that toilets account for nearly 30 percent of the average household’s indoor water usage? If you’ve started working remotely, that percentage is likely higher, considering you spend even more time at home than those who use the bathroom at work. Depending on how old your toilet is, it might use up to 6 gallons per flush, which is quite a bit of wasted water.
Contemporary models can provide a powerful flush while using less water. Some also come with both a “low flush” and “normal flush” option, allowing you to pick which flush will get the job done. If you upgrade to a Watersense-labeled model, your toilet could use as little as 1.28 gallons per flush while still providing an equal or better performance than a standard toilet.
4. Faucets without aerators
Washing our hands is an essential part of staying healthy and preventing diseases from spreading. However, quite a lot of water can go down the sink while you wash your hands for the full 20 seconds health experts recommend.
You can reduce your water usage while washing your hands by installing faucets with aerators or adding aerators to your current faucets. An aerator mixes air with the water stream that comes out of the tap, reducing the water flow while still providing satisfying pressure.
Just how much water does an aerator help you save?
- A standard faucet’s flow is about 2.2 gallons per minute.
- Watersense-labeled bathroom faucet aerators can reduce water flow to a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute.
If you were to wash your hands 6 times a day, spending 20 seconds each time, you would use a total of 4.4 gallons daily with a standard faucet. With a Watersense-labeled aerator, you would use about 3 gallons daily. That doesn’t seem like a big difference right now, but let’s multiply those daily gallons by 365 days.
- In one year with a Watersense-labeled aerator, you would use 1,095 gallons for handwashing.
- In one year with a standard faucet, you would use 1,606 gallons for handwashing: 511 gallons more.
See how the difference adds up?
5. Landscaping that requires a lot of water
Some types of plants need much more water than others to thrive, especially in a climate with intense summers. In general, you’ll save the most money by growing plants that are native to the region where you live.
You can also reduce your water usage by installing more hardscaping in your yard (as opposed to large stretches of lawn and landscaping) and growing drought-tolerant plants. While cacti might be the first image that comes to mind, there are actually many types of plants with minimal water requirements to add beauty to a garden, such as catmint, coneflower, lantana, and just about anything in the succulent family.