Does your utility bill seem to get higher and higher every month? Do you want to save money and use less water but just don’t know where to start? If this is you, then you’re in luck. In this article, we’re going to show you a few ways to save on your utility bill without sacrificing on your lifestyle.
Even though everyone needs water to survive, it has become pretty expensive. This is why it’s becoming increasingly important to look for ways to save on your bills, and leave you with more cash in your pockets to do things that you enjoy. Read on for some simple tips to help you reduce your water usage and energy costs.
What You Need To Know
The main thing you need to know about reducing how much you spend on on water is that every little saving helps. Many of the tips that we’re going to show you may not seem like much on their own, but when you do them all at once it really starts to add up. The result is that you’ll be able to save gallons of water every month and therefore save hundreds of dollars on your utility bill.
It is true that you can save a lot on your bills, but you should remember that you’re always going to have a water expense however much you manage to cut back. This is because many of the essential things that you use every single day, such as the toilet, are big culprits when it comes to water usage. What we’re trying to say is, don’t expect to be spending absolutely nothing on your water after reading this article.
Average Water Prices Across The U.S.
The average family of 4 spends around 70 dollars a month on their water. This is a pretty significant expense, and should definitely be something that you are budgeting into your monthly plans.
Many water companies change the price of their service regularly. If they have recently had to do a big repair on a local pipe, then they will increase the rate for everybody they serve, in order to pay off this repair. This is another reason why it is hard to save on water – even if you don’t use much it is likely that you will have to pay extra when a water provider says so.
Common Contributions Toward A High Water Bill
Although there are loads of reasons why your bill might be higher than expected, the issue can usually be traced back to one of the most common problems. It is very likely that you’ll come across one of these contributors whilst living at your house so knowing all about them and how to deal with them effectively will definitely come in handy at some point.
Below we talk about the biggest causes of high water bills in America and suggest a few techniques to deal with them if you have to.
The first and most common contributors toward a high water cost are leaks. There are many different types of leaks that can occur in your system, but they will all result in a loss of gallons of water and a quickly increasing water bill that might get out of hand if you don’t get on top of it. Leaking pipes are a problem because every time you turn on the tap, some water will escape from the pipes and be wasted. This means you have to keep your taps on for longer to get the same amount of water out.
Dealing with leaks can be quite tricky and it’s often very difficult to know where a leak is occurring. We have a whole section dedicated to locating and fixing leaks below, so definitely head there if you think a leaking pipe may be the cause of your increased utility bills.
Continually running toilets
Another factor that often leads to high water usage is continually running toilets. This is when your toilets always seem tobe flushing very slightly, even when the flush hasn’t been pressed. This means that the toilet is always running to refill the toilet tank and always using up water.
Surprisingly, flushing toilets make up more than 25% of your daily usage, so you definitely don’t want to increase this expense any further by having a faulty flush system. In fact, they use around 1.5 gallons per flush! If you do think there’s a problem with your toilet, then the first place to investigate is the flush valve. If this valve isn’t forming a solid seal then water will be able to sneak its way into the toilet bowl.
Luckily, repairing the flush valve isn’t a particularly difficult job, and anyone with a couple of tools should be able to work out how to do it. If this doesn’t fix the issue though, then you may need to call out a plumber to have a better look.
You may not expect it, but dripping taps can add gallons of water to your usage every day. In fact, dripping taps is one of the biggest contributors to excessive water usage in the world. This is why it’s super important to ensure that you and your family always turn the taps off fully every time they use them.
Of course, dripping taps aren’t always caused by people not turning them off properly, and there could be a more serious issue going on. Unfortunately, locating the cause of a dripping tap can be pretty hard if you’re not a professional plumber, so you’ll probably have to contact one to get the problem fixed.
Dripping taps may seem innocent but the fact that they can add so much expense to your bills means that you need to get them repaired as soon as you notice the problem.
Leaving the taps on when you don’t need to
Do you leave the tap running whilst you’re brushing your teeth? Or maybe you don’t turn it off whilst you’re shaving. Either way, leaving the tap running unnecessarily is clearly going to increase your water bill considerably. Although it may not seem like a big deal, when you remember that you brush your teeth twice every day, it becomes evident that you’re using a lot more than you need to.
It can be quite hard to break this habit, but once you’ve got into the routine of turning the tap off when you don’t need it, it will quickly become second nature and you’ll be using nowhere near as much water each day.
You’ve probably realized that the bathroom is a big drain on your water and a big booster for your bill, and taking long showers is yet another contributor to this.
The average shower uses around 2 gallons per minute, so cutting down your morning shower by one or two can literally save you gallons of water every day. When you add this up over weeks, months, and years, you’ll be using less water and cutting down your bill astronomically. All you’ve got to do is take shorter showers!
You could alternatively look into a low flow shower, which will reduce the volume of water used per shower. This means you can stay in the shower for a little bit longer without having to pay the extra cost. Of course, the low output attachment will have an initial cost, so it’s up to you whether you think it will be worth it.
Overuse of a washing machine
The washing machine is undoubtedly one of the best and most life-changing inventions in modern times. Practically every house in America is equipped with one of these amazing tools. The downside though is that they do use up a lot of water every time you use them.
The easy solution is to tell you to just use your washer less. However, many people just can’t cut back on their usage and really rely on their machines to save them time during the day. The better solution is to try to always use an energy or water-saving cycle whenever you put the washing on, and always wash full loads at one time. You should also reduce the temperature of the cycle whenever you can, as this will save a bit on the cost of using the water heater.
If your machine is getting old, then this probably means that it is guzzling more water and energy costs than it needs to. If you can afford it, try and upgrade your machine to a newer model which is more efficient and cost-effective. Newer models are usually the ones with the best water saving cycles anyway.
Filling a swimming pool
Obviously, this one doesn’t apply to everybody, but if you are lucky enough to have a swimming pool in your backyard, then you need to keep your eye on it to ensure it isn’t overusing water. Every time someone jumps into the pool, water will probably overflow, which will have to be replaced when you refill. The more that has overflowed the more you’ll have to refill and your water bills will reflect that.
To prevent this from happening, consider filling your pool a little lower than you usually would. This means that there is less chance of water overflowing and you’ll be keeping more inside the pool. This is one of the best methods to save on your water bill if you have a pool.
Automatic lawn watering
Keeping that lawn looking colorful and luscious takes a lot of water, which unfortunately means it costs a lot of money. Although automatic lawn waterers are easy and save time, watering your lawn by hand is probably going to use up less water in the long run. Of course, you have to be careful not to overwater if you’re doing it by hand, but it will save water if you do it correctly.
Another lawn related contributor towards high water bills is garden ornaments that have a water feature. Things like small fountains or sculptures can be beautiful additions to any lawn, but always bear in mind that they will be using extra water that you’ll have to pay for. This isn’t as big a concern as some of the other things on this list, but definitely consider turning off your fountain whenever you can if you want to save some cash.
Water Softener Issues
One contributor to a high water bill that is often overlooked is your softener. Many people have water softeners built into their systems in order to soften their water to make it taste better and improve its overall quality. Unfortunately, water softeners commonly have an issue where they continually soften water even when you don’t need them to, and draw more water to your system.
To prevent this from happening, always get your water softener regularly serviced to ensure that it is working as intended.
Cooled air conditioners
Similarly, cooled air conditioners can also demand more water than they need to, in turn increasing your bills. These devices use cold water to cool air before blowing into the room. This is very effective, but any small issue with an A.C. unit can cause it to start using too much water very quickly.
As with the water softener, be sure to get your A.C. system regularly checked by an expert. Leaving your A.C. system to fend for itself for a long period could even result in it breaking completely, which would incur even more expenses. The phrase “prevention is better than cure” definitely applies in this case.
If your hot water pipes aren’t well insulated, then this means that they can’t get the hot water to you quickly, so you’ll have to keep the taps running longer to get them up to temperature. Not only does this increase your water use dramatically, but will also lead to higher heating and energy bills since your water heater has to work harder to heat up the water.
Now, this is a problem that you probably aren’t going to be able to fix yourself, unless you are a trained plumber. Therefore you’ll probably have to pay for a plumber and for the parts needed to insulate your pipes properly. This could be quite expensive, but in the long run, you’ll most likely end up saving money thanks to the lower water use.
Everyone loves having their friends round for dinner or for a party. However, having more people in your house is likely to cause quite a spike in your usage and therefore increase your bill for the month. The main cause of this is toilet flushes. The toilet will be flushing much more often than it would be usually, especially if you’re having a house party. A toilet uses around 1.5 gallons per flush to refill the toilet tank, so you can see how quickly this adds up.
Obviously, we’re not saying you should ban people from using the toilet when they are round at your house, but the cost of water should be something that you factor into your party costs.
This is probably the least common contributor on the list, but if you are being sent bills that are way higher than what you’d expect, and you can locate any problems with your water systems, then it could be that your water meter isn’t functioning correctly.
This is quite unlikely since meters are typically very well built and regularly maintained by your water provider, but it has been known to happen. To check if the meter is the problem, turn off your water completely and go and look at the meter. If the meter reading is still going up, then there is definitely a problem and you should report it to your water company immediately.
How to find and detect leaks
As we mentioned before, finding the location of leaks within your water system can be pretty difficult. This is why we’ve dedicated a whole section of the article just to this topic. You might not be able to find a leak even after reading this, but hopefully you’ll be able to use some of this information to do your own investigating and save some money on a professional plumber.
Look for the signs
One of the signs that you might have a leak is that your water bill is high. However, since you’re reading this article about ways to save money on your water bills, it’s probably safe to assume that you know about this one. A drop in water pressure is sometimes the first indicator of a leak.
One of the most common signs to look out for is damp or moist areas in your house. A leaking pipe won’t cause gallons of water to spray through your walls, but it might well cause dampness and mold to develop on the walls or carpets.
Another sign is hearing the sound of running water through the walls. Water pipes themselves are usually very quiet when transporting liquid, so if you can actually hear running water then this probably means there is a problem. This sign usually comes as a package with the dampness and mold we’ve already talked about.
But what do you do if there are no visible or audible signs, but your water utility bill is still going up?
Inside or Outside?
In this case, the first thing you need to do is work out whether the leak is inside or outside the house. The best way to do this is to turn off your meter and see if the reading is still moving. If it is, then this would suggest that the leak is in the pipes that connect your house to the main water supply. You might also notice the grass growing better in a particular part of the lawn – this is probably on top of where the leak is.
If the meter isn’t moving, then the leak is almost certainly inside the house. Whether it’s inside or outside, if you can’t find the leak yourself then you’ll have to call a plumber as soon as you can. Leaks are the number one enemy if you’re trying to reduce the amount of water you use and save money. They can also cause a lot of damage to your property if left unfixed.
What to do if you find the leak
On the other hand, if you do manage to find the leak, then you might be able to have a go at fixing it yourself. We’d probably recommend getting a professional to come and take a look, but if you’re feeling brave then you could try to acquire some parts and attempt the repair.
Just make sure to turn off the water before you attempt any repairs. You don’t want gallons of water spraying in your face when you remove the first pipe.
Other ways to reduce your water expenses and energy costs
If you’ve decided that your high bill isn’t the result of a leak, then the only way you’re going to be able to save money is to make cuts on your water usage. Now, this is a pretty hard thing to do, but there are definitely easy steps to take to start reducing the amount of water you are charged for.
Changing your habits is probably the best way to bring that bill down. We’ve already talked about turning off the tap whilst shaving, knocking a couple of minutes off your daytime shower or reducing the flow rate, and watering the lawn manually. These may sound like small things, but they all add up to a significant amount of water saved per year.
You could also think about how to get creative with your water usage. For example, you could save rain water by catching it in buckets, and use this to water your flowers. Things like this are effective ways to use slightly less water, and can also be fun activities for your family to engage in. Getting everyone on board is important if you want to seriously save some cash in your home.
How To Raise A Dispute
If you think that your high water cost isn’t your fault and that it may be a problem with your water provider or their meters, then you should definitely raise a dispute. All you have to do is contact your water provider and report the problem. Many water companies will actually have a dedicated place on their website where you can submit complaints.
If you don’t hear back from the water provider, or they simply dismiss your complaint then you should probably get a second opinion. Contact your plumber and ask them to come and see what they think the issue is. If they agree that it is a problem on your provider’s end, then you can report the issue to a higher body or regulation board. It most likely won’t get to this stage though, and water providers will usually send someone out to look at your home straight as soon as possible when they receive a complaint.