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Find how to save money on monthly water bills.

Due mainly to the nation’s aging infrastructure as well as climate change, many water companies are increasing customers monthly rates and their bills at amounts that greatly exceed the rate of inflation. Water is becoming a more precious commodity, yet it is a basic need of every household. Conservation as well as installing lower flow, more efficient products is key to saving money. Find steps to take to save money on water bills.

Costs are going up around the country. Water companies are increasing both private customer’s as well as business rates so that the water providers can afford to pay for updates to the pipes, filtration systems, and other needed infrastructure upgrades. Monthly costs are also going up due to many of the natural supplies of water (such as lakes, reservoirs, snow melt, etc) are drying up.

However higher rates is causing more families than ever to fall behind and face shut off of their service. Here are some free, simple to take steps you can take to conserve, which will help you save money. Also, read about product offerings from the federal government’s new WaterSense program, which is a program that is similar to Energy Star but it for appliances or products that use water.

Tips to conserve and save money on water bills

1. Use a low flow shower head. These shower heads can lower water flow by as much as 40 percent (or 3 to 4 gallons per minutes) 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 (POU) - 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).

The Department of Energy (DOE) estimates a typical household will reduce their water costs by as much as 50% per year. These are also known as instant hot water systems or “tankless”, 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. Just plan them out better as well. 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. If you have multiple faucets that drip, the potential savings is even higher.

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. The amount of savings, per the DOE, will range from .5 to 1 gallon per minute by using an aerator.

7. If you ever need to make updates to your home or need to buy new products or appliances, 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. Each flush is equal to about 1.5 gallons of water. In addition, as noted, look into WaterSense toilets as well if/when it needs to be replaced.

9. Apply for government grants from the low income, LIHWAP water bill assistance program. This federally funded resource combines financial help along with free conservation measures. It is offered in all 50 states and is focused on families that may have their water serve disconnected. Learn more on LIHWAP water bill assistance program.

 

 

 

 

10. 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.

By Jon McNamara

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