Are utility bills keeping you up at night? Even the most mindful homeowner or renter can be stuck with quite a hefty tab if they aren’t aware of simple ways to cut back on water, gas and electricity. Sure, you know to turn off the water when you’re not using it — that’s a no-brainer; but there are a number of other easy ways to save on your water bill you might not be aware of yet.
1. Use the Dishwasher Instead of Washing by Hand
Contrary to popular belief, using a dishwasher is the greener — and therefore more budget-friendly — approach to washing dishes. According to research from the University of Bonn in Germany, a dishwasher uses half the energy, a sixth of the water, and less soap, compared to washing by hand. To get even more bang for your buck (and be a friend to the environment), only run it when it’s full, and opt for an “express” setting, if you have one, which will wash them in less time.
2. Look Into Water-Conserving Toilets
Depending on the model of toilet you switch to, a water-conserving toilet could reduce water use by as much as 20% to 60%, and possibly more. This equates to thousands of gallons of water saved per person, per year.
3. Only Flush When You Need to
Did you know that nearly half of water use in the average home in America happens in the bathroom? Almost 24% is used by the toilet alone. Depending on the toilet you have and how old it is, it could be using up to seven gallons of water per flush — although current federal plumbing standards now require new toilets to use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush.
If a new toilet isn’t in your budget, you can save on your water bill by only flushing when you go #2. If you think this sounds nasty, hold that thought: aside from saving serious amounts of water, refraining from flushing is actually more sanitary because it cuts back on something called “toilet plume,” which is what happens when you flush and send a fountain of germs into the air.
4. Try a Low Flow Shower Head
Installing a low flow shower head can be affordable and simple; and it will help you cut back on water usage. The standard shower head operates at roughly 2.5 gallons per minute; while a low flow shower head might operate at around 2.0 gallons per minute, if not less. Switch to a new shower head today — your water bill (and Mother Earth) will thank you for it.
5. Take a Shower Instead of a Bath
If you’re considering bypassing the shower entirely in favor of a bath, you may want to reconsider. The U.S. Geological Survey says it takes 36 gallons to fill up the average tub. The average shower, on the other hand, uses about five gallons of water per minute, meaning if you take a speedy shower, you could save major H20. And this is before you switch to your new water-saving shower head, mind you.
6. Don’t Abandon Leaky Faucets
You may think leaky faucets are a nuisance merely because they’re annoying to listen to 24/7; but it goes further than this. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average leak can add up to more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted per year for a single home. A whopping 10% of homes have leaks adding up to 90 gallons of water used (if not more) each and every day. This teeny, tiny leak could be responsible for an additional 10% on your water bill. Fix leaky faucets and pipes. Save money!