Reducing water usage at home is a great way to lower your monthly expenses and be a better steward to the environment at the same time. But how exactly can you save H2O as well as money spent on water in your daily life?
Read on for answers, including 12 ways to save on your water bill, and:
• What is the average monthly water bill?
• Will using less water save you money?
• Can lawn care lower your water bill?
• How can you save water and money on laundry?
What Is the Average Monthly Water Bill Per Household?
The average water bill for a family of four each using roughly 100 gallons of water a day is nearly $73 a month, according to recent statistics. Water bills can vary significantly depending on where you live, how much water your family uses, and the time of year.
On average, families use more than 50% of their water in the bathroom alone. Those living in an apartment without an outdoor space may spend less on water; outdoor water usage (for gardens, lawns, and pools) accounts for about 30% of the average American’s water bill — up to 70% in the summer.
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Does Using Less Water Save Money?
You can save money by using less water. That’s because your monthly water bill reflects water usage: The more water you use, the more money you’ll spend. Beyond financial savings, conserving water is great for the environment and can help to provide reliable water for families today and in the future.
12 Ways to Reduce Your Water Bill and Save Money
If you’re wondering “How can I save money on my water bill?” you’re in the right place. We’ve compiled a list of 12 helpful ways to save on your water bill every month:
1. Only Using the Washer for Full Loads
Washing machines are an essential appliance for keeping our clothes and linens clean, but they require a lot of water to operate. Waiting until you have enough dirty clothes for a full load — or using the machine’s “small load” option in a pinch — can go a long way in reducing water usage.
Bonus Tip: Because washing machines and laundry detergents have improved significantly over the years, you rarely need to use the hot water option. Using cold water only can keep gas or electric bills down as well.
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2. Using a Dishwasher — And Only If It’s Full
Dishwashers are more efficient at washing dishes than our own hands. The trick? Only run it if it’s fully loaded. That’s how to save money on water usage and your water bill.
Bonus Tip: Save even more water by simply scraping food scraps off your plate before loading it in the dishwasher. No need to rinse it, which wastes water!
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3. Upgrading to Water-Efficient Appliances
Today’s washing machines and dishwashers are far more efficient than appliances from even 15 years ago. In fact, an ENERGY STAR-certified dishwasher saves nearly 3,900 gallons of water in its lifetime, and an ENERGY STAR washing machine uses 33% less water per cycle (and requires 25% less electricity to run, too).
While replacing home appliances has an upfront cost, you’ll save money on water and energy bills in the long run. Some energy-efficient appliances may even come with rebates.
Bonus Tip: Look for front-load washers; these can use up to half as much water per cycle as top-load units.
4. Upgrading Plumbing Fixtures, Too
Major appliances aren’t all you can upgrade. Plumbing fixtures like toilets and showerheads offer another opportunity to cut back on water usage. Search for low-flow (and dual-flush) toilets that use less water per flush; low-flow showerheads better conserve water (saving up to 20% per shower) but actually offer superior performance. In both cases, look for the EPA’s WaterSense label.
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5. Taking Shorter Showers
This tip is pretty simple but bears repeating: The less time you spend in the shower, the less water you’ll use. And as long as you keep your showers short, you’ll save water — and money — by showering instead of taking a bath.
Bonus Tip: Want to reduce your usage and save more money on water? Get wet when you first step into the shower, then turn off the water while you lather and scrub; then rinse.
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6. Fixing Leaks
Leaky faucets and toilets that won’t stop running are noticeable, but your home may have other, less obvious plumbing leaks to watch out for, like your hot water tank or supply line. Because many drain pipes exist behind your walls, you may only catch a leak by hearing it, so keep your ears sharp throughout the year.
The cost to repair a plumbing leak can be high, but doing so will lower your water bill in the long run — and leaks left alone can develop into larger, more expensive problems down the road.
7.Turning Off the Water When Brushing Your Teeth
Letting the water run the entire time you brush your teeth — especially if you brush them for the ADA’s recommended two minutes — has become the poster child for wasting water. Turning off the water while you brush can be such an easy way to cut back on water usage and avoid the consequences of not saving money.
Bonus Tip: This also applies while shaving; only run the water when you need it.
8. Composting Instead of Using the Garbage Disposal
Have food scraps? Don’t throw them all in the garbage disposal, which uses water; try composting instead. You can compost foods like fruits, vegetables, eggshells, meat, and coffee (filters included!); doing so can be great for your garden.
Bonus Tip: Another way to reduce water usage in the kitchen is to thaw frozen meat overnight in the refrigerator, rather than running it under warm water.
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9. Keeping a Pitcher of Water in the Fridge
If you let the tap run until the water gets cold enough to fill your drinking glass, you’re wasting water. Consider putting a pitcher of water in the fridge instead so that it’s cold when you want it. As a bonus, you can invest in a pitcher with a water filter for cleaner drinking water.
10. Caring for Your Lawn Strategically
Before watering your lawn, check the weather forecast. If rain is predicted in the next few days, don’t bother watering the lawn at all. Even if it’s hot out and hasn’t rained lately, your grass may not need water. Try stepping on it; if it springs back up, you don’t need to water it yet.
If you must water your lawn, check your sprinkler system to ensure there are no leaks, and don’t overwater.
Bonus Tip: Mowing your lawn less regularly is actually a good thing. Longer grass allows for deeper root growth — and thus a drought-resistant lawn that doesn’t need to be watered as often.
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11. Using a Commercial Car Wash
Car aficionados may insist upon washing their car every other week (or every week, if they’re dedicated). While washing and waxing your car is good for protecting its paint and maintaining its value, you can get away with fewer car washes. To keep water usage down, try once a month at most.
You can also cut your own water costs entirely by paying for a commercial wash. Commercial car washes use 60% less water and are designed to prevent water pollution from runoff. Many locations also recycle their wash water multiple times.
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12. Covering Your Pool
Have a pool outside? Make sure you cover it when not in use. Not only does this keep unwanted debris out of the swimming area, but it also helps reduce the amount of water that evaporates each day.
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Saving money on water isn’t just great for your wallet; it’s also great for the environment. From composting to upgrading appliances to cutting back on car washes, you can dramatically reduce your family’s water consumption — and see great savings on your water bill as a result.
How much money can you save on your water bill by using less water?
The average American spends just under $75 a month on their water bill. If your family reduces water usage by 25%, your bill could drop to roughly $56; if you reduce water usage by 50%, your bill could be below $40. How much money you can save on your water bill depends on how much water you’re able to conserve and what the cost of water is in your city.
Why is saving water important?
Reducing water usage does more than lower your water bill. Saving water means that we use less water from rivers, bays, and estuaries — and this is a big deal for our environment. When we use less water, we also reduce water and wastewater treatment costs. Plus, it takes a lot of energy to treat, pump, and heat our water, all of which contribute to air pollution. In areas threatened by drought, reducing our personal water usage ensures our neighbors, friends, and family also have access to the water they need.
How much water is used per household a year?
The EPA estimates that the average American uses 82 gallons of water per day. For a family of four, that’s 328 gallons a day or nearly 120,000 gallons a year. Families can save a lot of water by taking simple measures: For example, the EPA estimates families save 13,000 gallons of water per year by replacing inefficient toilets — and 9,400 gallons of water annually by repairing leaks.
Photo credit: iStock/vorDa
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