Monday, July 16, 2012

12 Tips For Reducing Your Water Bill

Water bills can be astronomically expensive, especially during the summertime when watering your lawn and garden becomes a necessity.  This year in particular, many areas of the country are really suffering due to lack of rain - including here in Ohio - it's getting fairly dire here now.... Conserving water is an important topic right now for several reasons -  not the least of which is cost. And hot water, because it requires energy to heat it, is even more expensive.  Here are a few easy tips to reduce hot water consumption and cut your water bill.

dishwasher woes
 (Photo credit: tidefan)
#1.  Insulate your hot water pipes.  Insulation minimizes the amount of heat you lose and therefore causes the water to stay hotter.  This means you don’t need to spend extra energy warming it.  Moreover, you don’t have to run your faucet as long to tap into your available hot water.

#2.  If your dishwasher has a high temperature wash feature, turn it off.  Standard hot water temperatures and soap are enough to get your dishes clean.

#3.  Staying with the dishwasher theme, make sure your dishwasher is full before you run it.  Running half-full loads wastes water.

#4.  When shopping for a new dishwasher or clothes washer, always opt for an energy-saver model.

#5.  When washing clothes, use cold water.  It not only saves on your hot water bill, it also helps maintain their color fastness, making your clothing last longer. Most detergents nowadays are formulated to work just as well in cold water.

#6.  When washing clothes, make sure your washer is full and is set for the right sized load.  If you’re washing a small load, make sure your washer is set for a small load.

#7.  Take shorter showers.  Just cutting your shower length by a few minutes can save hundreds of dollars.

#8.  Turn up the heat on your hot water tank.  It may sound counter-intuitive, but doing this means it won’t take as long for you to tap into the hot water and your faucet won’t have to run as long. Also, if you have indoor plants or a garden, consider keeping a small bucket near the sinks in your house, so you can capture the water for other uses while you're waiting for it to get hot.  

#9.  Reuse towels and wash clothing sparingly.  The "wear it once and wash it" philosophy leads to many loads of laundry.  Towels, jeans, sweaters and many other items don’t always need to be washed after every use.  You can use them or wear them a few times before laundering.

Flash photo shower faucet Watr200
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
#10.  Consider not bathing every day, unless you absolutely need to.  Many times, we don’t need to bathe or shower every day.  Every other day is just fine.  And with children, that is certainly the case.  A little wash down with a warm washcloth is typically enough on off days - although during a hot sweaty summer, you may need to shower more often than in the winter! Also when bathing the children, a few inches in the tub is plenty - you don't need to fill it halfway up.

#11.  Put a cylinder or tank jacket on your hot water tank to cut heat loss. 

#12.  Consider installing a heat exchanger.  This type of system recycles water from your shower, taking the water through the device where it is heated to the right temperature and then pushing it back through your shower.  The water that is being recycled is already fairly warm so it doesn’t require much energy to get it back to an acceptable temperature.

Bonus Tip #13. Install a low-flow or water-saving showerhead. Not only will you save water, but many of today's low-flow shower heads offer superior-feeling water pressure and are quite affordable (I absolutely love mine - it's amazing and feels like I have better water pressure than a regular shower head - even when I don't even turn it on all the way.)

Cutting down on hot water bills not only saves on your monthly utility bills, it is also good for the environment.  Choose just a handful of these tips, implement them, and watch your water bills shrink. And to conserve even more water, be sure to check back Wednesday to learn about greywater systems.

Water-Saving Shower Heads:
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