7 Easy Ways to Save Money by Saving Water
How to Save on Water Bills
This is part 5 of a multi-part series entitled Green Matters, which will focus on how reducing your environmental burden will also reduce your expenses. Part 5 is going to cover one of the most often overlooked utility expenses, water.
For most people, getting the water & sewer bill isn’t going to be to big of a hit to the bank account. I receive a bill every 3 months, and it usually averages out to about $40 a month. However, the thing to keep in mind in terms of water usage, is that you’re not only paying for the water itself, you’re paying for the fuel or electricity to heat it.
Beyond water usage, you have to heat water for your dishwasher, shower, washing machine, and whatever else you may need hot water for. After studying my heat and electric bills I am estimating for 2 people it currently costs about $40 per month. Any water usage that you are able to cut down is not only going to cut that expense, but you’re also going to be able to proportionately cut down your energy bills as well.
Let’s Take a Look at Just how Much Money you Can Save when you Cut Water Usage
1. Replace your Shower Head
Purchase a low flow 2 or 2.5 gallon-per-minute shower head. A 10 minute shower with a non-efficient shower head uses 42 gallons, while an Energy Star model uses half that. Here’s the Delta low flow showerhead that I purchased. For a family of four you’d be saving 21,000 gallons of water and about $200 in energy costs per year. Where else can you get a 1,000% return on investment within just one year while helping to preserve the environment?
2. Wrap your Water Heater
If you have a non-efficient water heater, rapping your water heater with an insulating blanket can save you up to 9% on your water heating costs. Water heater blankets are cheap, here’s a cheap water heater blanket. You’re guaranteed to multiply your initial return on investment within the first year.
3. Re-think Hand Dish Washing
If you’re hand washing dishes multiple times a day, you may be doing more harm than good in terms of energy and water savings. Energy efficient dishwashers can do the job on just a few gallons of water. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been a big fan of cleaning a sink full of dishes with greasy, food-chunk-floaty-filled water. An energy efficient dishwasher can save you at least $30 per year on energy alone, not to mention the worry that comes from washing your dishes in their own filth.
4. Fix the Leaky Faucet
According to BCHydro, a leaky faucet can waste 2,500 gallons of water per year that costs $39 to heat if it’s hot. Even if it’s not hot water, 2,500 gallons is a whole lot of wasted water to have on your conscience. Here’s an Ehow.com video on how to fix a leaky faucet.
5. Turn Down your Water Heater
If you’re getting more of a true temperature when taking showers versus wasting time trying to balance hot and cold, you’re wasting water and energy. Water heaters have multiple settings usually ranging from vacation to hot. Your water should be comfortable while you’re taking a shower without having to turn the cold water on as well if you have two knobs (or at full heat if you have one turn lever).
For me, this is just past vacation onto ‘warm’ on our hot water heater (your dial may vary). According to the U.S. Dept. of Energy, for each 10 degrees that you turn your water heater down, you can lower your water heater costs by 3-5%. If you run on a temperature dial, at 120 degrees, your water is probably sufficiently hot.
6. Purchase an Energy Efficient Washing Machine or at Least Run your Washer on Cold & at a Lower Water Level
Energy efficient washing machines can save over $550 in energy over their lifetime. However, they’re not cheap, so let’s focus on behaviors. We’ve all been guilty many times over on just flipping on the dial and using hot water more than we need to. Simply be conscious about how much water and heat you need when washing your clothes.
7. Who Needs Grass, Anyways?
I live in a moderate climate and my grass is green for about 2 months out of the year unless it is watered constantly. It takes a ton of water to keep your grass green, not to mention the inevitable sidewalk and driveway runoff that keeps nothing green. The irony is that constantly watering your grass can do it more harm than good. Grass goes brown in hot weather for a reason – it is going dormant to protect itself from the sun.
There are plenty of ground coverings that look great without requiring much, if any, water. Depending on your climate, take a serious look at sedum, pachysandra, myrtle, creeping lily turf, or good ole’ wood chips, rocks, and ornamental grasses. They tend to look better anyways
How have you Cut your Water Bill?
Please comment and share some ways that you’ve been able to save water and money in doing so.