Are you experiencing sticker shock from your family’s water usage and looking for ways to trim your water bill? As we go about their lives, the average American uses about 80 to 100 gallons of water per day.
The average home is a water guzzler too. It can leak an average of 10,000 gallons of water a year. In fact, 10 percent of homes can lose 90 or more gallons per day because of dripping faucets and old fixtures. And that all adds up to a lot of money. The monthly water bill for a family of four is between $34 and $109 – or $408 to $1,300 a year.
But there are ways to cut back on your water use -- and trim your water bill. We’ve gathered Five of the best tips:
Fix those leaks
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that annual household leaks waste a massive 1 trillion gallons of water nationwide. That total equals annual water use in more than 11 million homes.
The EPA, as part of its annual Fix a Leak Week in March, offers up a variety of ways consumers can fix those drips and save money in the process. Tips include ways to identify toilet leaks by simply placing a drop of food coloring in the tank to how to examine and repair old and worn faucet washers and gaskets.
Invest in water-efficient appliances
You’ll have to pay up front to replace that old washing machine or dishwasher, but you will eventually reap the rewards of reduced water use when you use more efficient appliances that need less water. Pennsylvania State University extension has a handy worksheet so you can plug in the numbers and find out how much money you’ll save when you invest in the latest appliances.
Rethink the way you wash dishes
Your dishwasher may seem like a huge water guzzler. In reality, washing those dishes by hand actually uses up much more water. According to Austin Water, which is owned and operated by the city of Austin, Texas, a hand-washed load uses 27 gallons of water. A dishwasher, depending on how efficient it is, could use no more than four gallons.
To save water at the kitchen sink, the agency recommends scraping food off plates before they end up in the sink, washing dishes before the food remains have dried, skipping a pre-rinse step and using two sinks -- one for washing with hot water and soap and another with cool water to quickly rinse those clean dishes.
Consider your showers
We can’t skip showers, but we can take better ones to trim our water use. And those changes could add up to big savings over time. Showers take up nearly 17 percent of indoor water use, according to the EPA. Replacing that decades-old showerhead is one great way to cut back.
You can do a few things in the shower too. The average shower lasts about eight minutes. To cut back, take four or five-minute showers instead. Use a timer so you know when your time is up. You also can turn the water off when you’re soaping up and then turn it back on when it’s time to rinse off.
Wear it again
Washing machines can use between 15 and 45 gallons per load, depending on their age and efficiency. But you can save here too by only doing laundry when you have a full load and using those towels or wearing those jeans more than once.
Persil, a maker of laundry detergent, recommends washing jeans after every four or five wears and bath towels after a week of use to conserve water.
These incremental changes may feel small at first. But, over time, you can make a big difference in your total water use, your water conservation efforts and will help you trim your water bill.
Consumer Education Services, Inc. (CESI) is a non-profit committed to empowering and inspiring consumers nationwide to make wise financial decisions and live debt free. Speak with a certified counselor for a free debt analysis today
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