Paying bills is a drag. But it’s also necessary. Would you enjoy saving a little money with little to no effort? Perhaps use those extra dollars for coffee with a friend? A new book? Your savings account? Forget doling out your hard-earned cash to your city office, and take matters into your own hands. Here are 15 practical tips and ideas for saving precious coin on your water bill:
1. Fix leaky faucets. It sounds simple, and it is! Every drop of water gets added to your bill. If necessary, take the faucet apart and wipe the seals off, then put it back together and tighten it up. Did you know that sometimes faucets leak without us even knowing about it? Sometimes they don’t drip, drip, drip, but rather let out a very, painfully slow stream of water. Over time, this adds up.
2. Use the dishwasher. Yes! As a working mom with a family on the go, I love this. And I loathe hand washing dishes. Running a full dishwasher uses less water than washing by hand. Lazy people, unite!
3. Insulate your water pipes so hot water is more readily available. This might take a little more time on the front end, but will save you serious bucks in the long run. When hot water stays hot, the water heater doesn’t have to work as hard (bonus: saving you money on your power bill), and you don’t have to wait as long at the faucet/bath/shower for hot water to reach you.
4. Install a low-flush toilet, or makeshift one by putting two water bottles, each filled with a bit of sand/gravel, in the tank so the water level gets tricked into thinking it’s full (make sure 3 gallons of water remain in tank to keep it running properly!).
5. Throw your trash in the trash can rather than in the sink disposal. Running the disposal requires water, so instead of putting your food excess in the sink, toss it in the trash, or better yet, if possible, compost it.
6. Wash clothes in cold water. Hot water uses more energy and takes longer to run hot (see #3 above) than cold water does.
7. Install a rain barrel to use less hose water on lawn and garden. Rain barrels are excellent water conservation tools for your yard. The Shenandoah Valley gets plenty of rain, even during the hottest months of the year (mid-afternoon thundershowers roll through like clockwork in the summer, am I right?), so take advantage of it. Install a rain barrel, which can be found at any hardware store, underneath one of your downspouts, then use the water you gather on your plants.
8. Wash your car at a carwash. When you take your vehicle off-site, your water bill doesn’t add up. In fact, using an automatic carwash takes less water than washing by hand, and keeps contaminated water out of our storm drains, which are meant for rainwater.
9. Take shorter showers. If you really want to save on your water bill, you’ll do it. Sometimes change is hard!
10. Install a low-flow shower head. If you take a shorter shower and take this step, you’ll save even more. Double-whammy!
11. Turn water off while brushing teeth or shaving. Common sense: when water isn’t running, your bill isn’t increasing.
12. Plant arid-loving plants. The more plants in your yard that enjoy hot, dry weather, the less water you’ll need to keep them thriving. For ideas, check out these 8 unthirsty plants that help you save water in style.
13. Spread mulch around plants and trees to trap moisture. The longer water can hang around your plants, trees, and lawn, the less water you’ll have to use to keep them healthy. Mulch acts as a barrier for weeds and stifles their growth while also trapping moisture in the soil. Plus, mulch smells incredible and looks fabulous!
14. Water lawn and garden early in the day or late in the evening to resist quick evaporation.
15. Use a broom to clean off sidewalks, patios, and driveways. Most of us have likely taken a hose on full power to our driveway and paths to spray off debris, but using a broom will do the job just as well, if not better. Go ahead, put your back into it and burn some calories while you’re at it.
Do you have any water-saving tips that you’ve gotten great results from? Share them in the comments! We’re all ears when it comes to saving money and the environment.