How To Save Water AND Lower Your Monthly Water Bill
by Lee Ann Sontheimer
A casual observer might think that water is an inexhaustible resource. Americans water
their lawns, our rivers and lakes seem full, and we can turn on a tap at any time
of the day or night for water. An average home uses almost 300 gallons of water each
day and despite common belief, water sources around the globe are diminishing due
to factors that include pollution, global warming, and acid rain.
Applying a few simple steps can conserve water in our homes AND cut down on the rising
costs of a monthly water bill. Septic tank users who rely on a well can also cut their
costs by reducing the wear on the system as well as using less electricity to power
the well pump.
Slow drips from a faucet can use up to twenty gallons of water each day and result
in money literally going down the drain. Faucet leaks and drips can waste up to 72,000
gallons per year. Check faucets, replace the washers, or invest in a new faucet. Newer
models can be far more energy efficient and eliminate slow drips. Install aerators
on all faucets. These attach easily to the faucet and add air, providing a fuller
flow with about 40% less water. Best of all, aerators are just a few dollars at most
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Check for leaks in the toilet bowl by adding a few drops of food coloring to the tank.
Do not flush and if color appears in the bowl after a half hour's time, a leak is
present. Leaking toilets can waste many gallons each day without notice.
If you're going away on a trip, turn off the hot water heater so it doesn't heat water
when no one is home. And, if the planned trip is a long one, turn off the water meter.
Check the water meter when no water is being used. If the dial moves, then consult
with your local water company because there is a leak somewhere in the system.
When washing dishes, do not run water continually. Scrub dishes and rinse several
at one time. If you have a dishwasher, run it only when the appliance is full and
be sure to choose the cycle with the least number of wash/rinse cycles to conserve
Replace your standard showerhead with a low-flow showerhead to reduce water usage
by one third without changing the shower's pattern or flow. This simple switch can
cut down the amount of water used from eight gallons per minute to about two gallons
Choose showers over baths and cut the amount of water used by about half. An average
bath uses up to 50 gallons of water while a ten minute shower just 20 gallons (with
a low-flow shower head).
Install a toilet dam to save money with each flush. These can save up to 4 gallons
of water per flush. If you don't find toilet dams readily available in your area,
substitute gallon, half gallon or quart plastic jugs filled with water. Do not use
a brick as some suggest in place of a proper dam. In time, the brick will wear enough
that sediment can clog pipes.
If you must water your lawn or garden, do so in the coolest part of the day. Watering
in the afternoon or evening when temperatures are highest can result in rapid evaporation
which wastes water and provides little moisture for plants.
Avoid using a garbage disposal. Add items to your trash or compost pile. Disposals
require a large amount of water and also add solids to an overloaded sewer system
or septic tank.
With these simple steps, you can help save water resources for all of us and cut down
on your own water bill each month. You'll help save a vital natural resource for our
future and put extra money back into your pocket.