Your water bill is likely not a major worry for you. Other utility bills are much higher and water is a necessity, after all. In today’s economy, however, all bills are fair game for reduction and water bills can be cut with little effort. Besides cash, you’ll be helping to conserve water and save the planet.
1. Water consumption peaks in the summertime, as do your water bills. Watering the landscape is the biggest use of water, and even if you want to keep your lawn and garden green, you can increase efficiency and save water while doing that. Water during the early morning hours, when overall water usage is low. Temperatures are lower and winds are generally calm, so more water will end up on your plants and less will evaporate into the atmosphere. Water deeply and less often.
2. Use a rain barrel to save water for your garden. You can buy a commercial container or make your own. A spigot in the bottom of the barrel simplifies draining its contents. Consider mini-rain barrels inside. Think about the water that runs down the drain as you wait for it to get hot in the shower or the kitchen sink. Save that water and use it to water indoor or outdoor plants.
3. Use a broom, not a hose, to clean your driveway, sidewalk, garage floor, and deck.
4. Fill a pan or bowl with water to clean a few small items in the kitchen sink, whether dishes or vegetables, rather than letting the water run to wash them. Along the same lines, turn off the water while you brush your teeth.
5. Repair leaks in faucets or toilets. In addition to being annoying, they can waste hundreds of gallons of water a year. If you can hear a toilet “running,” call a plumber, even if you can’t see the leak.
6. Be sure all your faucets have aerators, the little screen-like devices that screw into the end of the spout to improve the spray. They increase efficiency, reducing the volume of water you need to create soapsuds when you wash up, and they cost almost nothing.
7. Skip rinsing your dishes before you load them into the dishwasher. Studies have shown that the dishes get just as clean when you load them directly from the table, so pre-rinsing only wastes water unnecessarily. Wash only full loads of dishes, as well.
8. Buy a water-saving showerhead for every shower in your house. New ones use a fraction of the water of older ones and still deliver a great-feeling shower. While we’re on the topic, take shorter showers. If you have a family member who regularly drains the hot water heater with marathon showers, either set a timer or rap on the door to roust the water-waster.
9. Replace your old toilets with new high-efficiency low-flush or dual-flush models. Manufacturers have worked out the kinks and new toilets now deliver truly efficient flushing in addition to water savings. That might sound like an expensive way to save water, but it pays off in the long run.
10. Finally, don’t buy bottled water. Many of the brands are just tap water from a different city, and the cost is outrageous. If you have a refrigerator that dispenses water, it is probably already filtered at least as well as the water in the bottle. If your refrigerator doesn’t dispense water and you are concerned about water quality, buy a filter pitcher. But chances are that your own city water is as good as what you buy in a bottle.
Copyright 2010, Linda Manley
Linda Manley, a retired university research director, writes website articles on topics that interest her, such as retiring in warm places, staying fit and healthy, and saving money while doing both. You can find more of her articles at http://www.CheapPlacestoRetire.com