Don't Get Hosed by Your Water Bill

by Tamara Wilhite

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Stop Draining Dollars

Saving Water

One Drop at a Time

Most advice on saving water requires replacing toilets, visiting several hardware stores, or calling an expert. Here are some cheap and easy ways to save on your water bill.

  • Put a clock where it is visible from the shower; you don't have to get a more expensive waterproof clock if you can put it on a high point on a wall outside the shower. Your definition of a long shower will likely shorten. My husband's long showers decreased from 30 to 20 minutes. It was a painless and easy 33% water savings.
  • Put one or two bricks in the tank of your toilet. Make certain it doesn't interfere with the valve. Rather than buying a new toilet with less water volume, you have inexpensively decreased the volume of your existing toilet. One brick is equal to about a 10% decrease in water usage per flush for our toilet. The other advantage is that this is immediately adjustable and reversible. If 20% less water doesn't do the job, use only one brick. If you aren't happy with the results, you can remove all of them and be back where you started. If you don't like the function of a low-flush toilet, you don't have such a convenient undo option.
  • When watering your foundation, set an egg timer. Turn off your water when the timer goes off. The cost of forgetfulness can run into thousands of gallons.
  • No more bottled water delivery. If your local water is not per your taste, get a water filter. This will save money and free up space in your home.
  • Instead of installing a whole sink water filtration system, get a water filter specifically for the faucet. Only filter the water for drinking water. Paying to filter your dish water or mop water is a great waste.
  • Find out what species are in your yard and garden and how often the species in your lawn need to be watered. We consulted with a gardener on the possibility of replacing our new home's extensive landscaping with something requiring less maintenance. We found out that our wildflower garden only needed watering once a week instead of its nearly daily attention and that our trees only needed attention when there had been no rain for a month. Now lawn maintenance is a small fraction of our water bill. Don't ask a landscaping contractor; their answer is almost always, "Rip it all out." A gardener, however, will give you the advice that simplifies the maintenance of your plants.

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