Due mainly to the nation’s aging infrastructure, many water companies are increasing customers monthly rates and their bills at amounts that greatly exceed the rate of inflation. They are doing this so that they can afford to pay for updates to the pipes, filtration systems, and other needed infrastructure upgrades. However this is causing more families than ever to fall behind and face shut off of their water service. Here are some steps you can take to save money on your water bill. Also, read about product offerings from the federal government’s new WaterSense program.
1. Use a low flow shower head. These show heads can lower water flow by as much as 40 percent, and lead to significant savings on your water bills. There is barely, if any difference in the amount of pressure you will receive.
2. Point-of-Use Hot Water Heater - Families that regularly use hot water for cleaning dishes in the sink, cleaning pans, or using it for hot drinks can save money from installing a point of use system. They may cost a hundred or two hundred dollars up front, but can pay for themselves in a couple years (depending on how much hot water you use). These are also known as instant hot water systems, and they supply people with hot water as soon as they turn on the tap. So you do not need to waste all that water while you wait for it to heat up.
3. Reduce the number of tub baths and showers that you take. Taking a shower, when equipped with a conventional shower head, uses about 5 to 10 gallons of water every minute. Taking a shower accounts for over 30 percent of the total water used in the home.
4. Immediately repair any dripping faucets by replacing washers. If your faucet drips at the rate of one drop per second, you will waste over 2,700 gallons of water per year. This will add greatly to the water bills that you are paying.
5. Check if your toilet may be leaking by adding food coloring to the tank. If your toilet is leaking, the color will appear within 30 minutes. Then be sure to check the toilet for corroded, worn out, or bent parts. Many replacement parts are inexpensive, easily installed, and readily available. Be sure to flush as soon as test is done as food coloring may stain tank.
6. Use a Faucet Aerator - This screws onto the bottom of your current faucet and it will reduce the amount of water flow but it keeps the pressure you receive the same. Some newer faucets may already have an aerator built into them. You can even buy an aerator that will swivel to allow you to direct the water pressure where you most need it.
7. If you ever need to make updates to your home, only use WaterSense labeled products. They include toilets, shower heads, faucets, irrigation systems, and much more. These WaterSense products are equivalent to the EnergyStar appliances. They are not much expensive to buy or install, and using them can help people save dozens of dollars per year on their water costs.
8. Avoid flushing your toilet unnecessarily. Be sure to dispose of insects, tissues, and other such waste in the trash can rather than flushing the toilet.
9. Explore discount programs, payment plans, budget billing, and financial assistance. Many water companies offer some type of emergency assistance. While most of it is for lower income customers and seniors, other programs may be offered if customers agree to certain conservation measures. Call your water company, non-profit agencies in your area, or community action agency to look into. Click here for a listing of community action agencies.
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