While I know we are all grateful to have water, especially clean water, your water bill can be a necessity that can drain you dry. Like electricity, we don’t have the power to change what our local municipalities charge for water, but we can change how we use it.
Taking steps to save money on your water bill is a commendable and practical way to take better control of your finances. Many of the tips in this article are simple to implement, and you may find your family on board quite easily.
Once they become habits, you’ll be saving water and money! And, after all, saving money is why you’re here. Let’s look at 18 habits to save money on your water bill!
1. Calculate your Water Footprint
In order to know if you’re saving money, you need to get an understanding of your baseline water consumption. While you can look at your bill to see what the town or city is charging you for, you can also calculate your water footprint for a basic understanding.
Not only is this great for understanding your overall impact (and a great learning activity for your kids!), but it helps you really see what you are consuming and where you can make changes. Use an online tool like Water Footprint or Water Calculator to get your numbers today!
2. Wear Clothes More Often Before Washing
Standard washers use 20 gallons of water per load and high efficiency washers use 14 gallons per load. Now, think about how many loads of laundry you do each week! Let’s face it, unless we have an outdoor job or are working out, our clothes usually don’t get that dirty.
To save money on your water bill, reducing how often you wash your clothes is a big step to take! Get creative with wearing shirts more than once per week, or layer your clothes to limit how many pieces you need to own for a stylish wardrobe.
There are other perks to wearing the same clothes repeatedly and this is actually one I practice myself as much as possible (mainly because I hate doing laundry). I promise, as long as you’re clean, no one cares if you own only one pair of jeans!
3. Collect Bathwater as it’s Warming Up
When you first turn on the faucet, there is a lot of water pouring out….and right down the drain, without even being used. You should try to use every drop that comes out of your faucets, as much as possible!
Collect your bathwater in a bucket as soon as you turn on your taps, until it’s to your desired temperature. Then pull the bucket aside and use it for other purposes in your home. Use the collected water for mopping, watering houseplants, or even for your actual bath!
4. Replace Your Shower head
I love a hot shower at the end of the day, but as my husband frequently reminds me, just standing there for 20 minutes can get expensive. The average shower uses close to 20 gallons per 8 minutes…and that’s for significantly less time than I stand there. Yikes!
One way to have the best of both worlds is to replace your showerhead with a low flow option that uses high pressure. Let’s face it, the pressure is what we really want, anyway! Using a low flow shower head can really save how much money we are using when we bathe.
You can very easily replace your own showerhead in a few hours for immediate savings on your water bill.
5. Use a Bottle for Water Displacement in your Toilet Tank
You may have heard about putting a brick in your toilet, however, that method is no longer recommended! But, why would you want to do that? Well, displacing the water (as in, taking up more space) reduces how much water fills up in your tank. And that matters!
The less water that fills up in your tank, the less water you use for each flush. You can displace the water with a bottle that you can fill with water from your sink, or sand, to make sure it stays weighed down. It’s quick and easy to do!
This simple method can be done for dirt cheap and can save up to 25% of the water you use per flush! The more water you save, the lower your water bill.
6. Install a Low Flow Toilet
Toilets have come a long way in the past twenty years, and low flow toilets are now options that you can purchase when you’re remodeling your bathroom. There are a host of toilets out there to choose from so make sure you pick the right one for you.
Once you’ve decided on a low flow toilet, you can actually install the toilet yourself with just a few tools. These can last up to 30 years and some have increased pressure (also known as pressure assisted) to ensure a clean flush each time.
You can save as much as $110 per year from your water bill, just by using a low flow toilet! It’s recommended to make sure your current plumbing system will work with this, but definitely check it out!
7. Check for Leaks and Drips
If the sound of dripping water doesn’t drive you crazy enough, the fact that you’re wasting money sure will! Leaks and drips seem small and insignificant, but they really add up to bigger problems.
My college roommates and I found this out the hard way when we had a leak in our apartment bathroom over holiday break! Leaks and drips don’t just annoy or waste money, they can also cause rot if they pool into porous surfaces like walls and wooden floors.
You will want to check different areas of your house for leaks and drips, such as indoor faucets in bathrooms and the kitchen, as well as areas outdoors or under the house like exterior spigots or your hot water heater. Most of these drips you can fix yourself!
As always, contact a trusted professional plumber (or your landlord, if you’re renting) for assistance in repairing those pesky drips! This can save you 90 gallons of water a day – so give it the attention it needs today!
8. Rethink your Yard
If you have a thirsty yard that requires a lot of water, there are also steps you can take to save on your water bill. A yard can cause your water bill to skyrocket, especially if you use water inefficiently to keep it healthy and growing.
One step you can take to save money is to install a rain barrel. A barrel will collect roof runoff, and with a few tools, you can set it up in an afternoon. You can use the water for your yard, but make sure it’s legal in your area.
Another step you can take to save money on your water bill is to choose drought tolerant plants, and make sure your grass is a good fit for your climate. Also, focus on good ground insulation like mulch, and mowing your grass high to keep it from drying out the soil.
9. Let the Yellow Mellow
By now, you know that each flush costs money, so it’s important to conserve both money and water. The phrase, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow…” is quite true. Considering each person may urinate up to ten times per day (and possibly more depending on medical issues), every flush counts!
Saving the flushes for every third time you urinate (or more) could cut down drastically on the amount of money you’re literally flushing down the toilet. It’s considered safe and doesn’t pose any risk to your toilet. If the kids complain, just remind them who pays the water bill!
10. Turn off the Tap When Not in Use
It’s easy to fall into bad habits to turn on the water and let it run while you brush your teeth or soap up your hands, but this can be a major waste of money, especially if the faucet is wide open. This wastes up to 4 gallons every time.
Turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth or while scrubbing your hands. You can even go as far as to turn off the shower after your initial wetdown to wash your body and shampoo your hair. Every gallon saved turns into dollars back in your pocket, fast!
11. Run a Full Load in the Washer and Dishwasher
There’s a big misconception that smaller loads save you more money. Water must be used anyway for washing and rinsing, so make sure it counts! For the washing machine, make sure you don’t overstuff your machine, but keep it two-thirds full to make sure it still cleans your clothes properly.
For the dishwasher, you want to make sure you have it loaded properly, as well, to make sure you are getting the most out of each gallon. Plus, making sure they’re full means you are running each appliance less frequently and that saves on electricity, too!
12. Shorten your Shower Times
It’s easy to hop in for a “short shower”, only to find out you took way longer than expected. According to the EPA, your family can use 40 gallons per day just showering! Set a timer, or put on some music, with a “two song” rule.
At the start of the second song, you should be winding down and finishing up. You can also cut down on tasks like shaving and washing your face, saving those for the sink afterwards.
13. Let the Kids Bathe in Gray Water
This sounds gross, but hear me out. Many adults like to unwind in the evening with a hot shower or bath to relax before bedtime. And, we all know, the evenings are when small kids usually take their baths. You see where I’m going with this.
If your bath times are close together, why not reuse that bathwater for the kids? As you take your shower, plug the tub to collect water, and it should be a nice temperature when the kids need to wash up. Or, if you take a bath, it’s all ready!
There are other ways to reuse your bathwater as well. Basically the more you reuse your water, the less you’re pulling from the tap. And the less your tap runs, the more money you save on your water utility bill!
14. Reduce the Number of Baths Per Week
If reusing bath water doesn’t “float your boat”, you can also consider cutting down on the number of baths you take per week. Baths can use 70 gallons each time. This means you could be spending up to 50 cents per bath, which can add up to $15 per month!
Save baths for a once-per-week splurge, like a treat for yourself on a Saturday evening. Light some candles, use scented bath soaps, and play relaxing music. This way, you can still enjoy your baths, and make them truly the indulgence they are!
15. Install Faucet Aerators in Kitchen and Bathroom Sinks
Faucet aerators are small screens that break up the water as it comes out of the faucet, thus reducing flow. The good thing is, you can reduce how much water is being used, and not miss it at all. That, after all, is the name of the game!
You can install a faucet aerator with just a few tools and be well on your way to shaving money off of your water bill.
16. Update your Dishwasher and Washing Machine
Appliances have changed for the better in the last ten years. Washing machines and dishwashers are now capable of detecting factors that influence water usage, like the dirtiness of dishes, or the size of the laundry load. Older appliances don’t always have those capabilities.
Updating your older appliances is another way to save money on your water bill! And, you can actually get money back in the form of a rebate from your local government for purchasing water efficient machines. That sounds like a win-win!
17. Install a Water Meter with an App
We really do have apps for almost everything, don’t we? If you own your home, consider installing a water meter that can detect drips and help you monitor your water usage. Some even can be mounted to your actual water meter and send information right to your phone.
See which meter or app is right for you, and start monitoring today!
18. Track your Spending and Start a Challenge
Another great way to save money on your water bill is to create a challenge to hold yourself accountable for using less water. By now, you should have a good understanding of your bills recently and where you stand, so you know what you’re aiming to beat.
You can make a pledge today to save more water, and challenge yourself to take the steps outlined above to see if you can make a difference in your next billing cycle!
FAQs on How to Save Money on Your Water Bill
What causes a High Water Bill?
Your water bill can be higher than usual based on a variety of factors. Leaks behind appliances, leaving the water running, and long showers can increase your water bill.
Can you get a reduction in water rates?
Reach out to your local utility company to see if you qualify for lower rates. Extenuating circumstances like job loss, or residing in low-income housing may qualify you for lower rates.
How can I save money on my water bill?
You can save money on your water bill by being more cognizant of the water you’re consuming, and making sure you’re not wasteful. Reusing gray water, running full loads of laundry or dishes, or using a rain barrel to collect water for your yard are all ways you can save.
Saving money on your water bill is a great way to cut your overall expenses. It’s important to not be wasteful with water, not only for your wallet but for the environment, as well. And, throwing money down the drain is no way to save money!