With the current state of the economy some people are having trouble paying even the cheapest of the utility bills. All day, every day people ask their utility company the seemingly simple question, “How can I save money on my water bill?”
That is a tricky question because many water departments, such as the one that I work for, have set minimum charges each month. Reducing the number of gallons that you use monthly will help the environment but it will not reduce your water bill if all that you are paying is the minimum charge. Contact your local water department to find out if they have minimum monthly charges and if so, how many gallons per month are you over that minimum.
Below are the top seven water-department recommended ways to save on your water bill.
Water Conservation Kits
Many utility companies, including water departments, offer free conservation kits. Contact your local water department to see if they offer free water conservation kits to their customers. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.
Put a Brick it
As funny as it sounds, it does actually help you save on your water bill. Put a brick or two in the tank of your toilet. This will take up space and reduce the amount of gallons that you use per flush. You should notice an immediate change in the number of gallons that you use per month.
Low Flow Shower Heads
Replacing your shower head with a low flow shower head reduces the number of gallons you use per minute in the shower. Reducing the number of gallons you use in the shower not only helps you save money on your water bill but it also helps the environment.
Many of the low flow shower heads also some with an option on the shower head to turn off your water while lathering. Just turning it off for those few minutes while you lather your hair and wash your body can help you to save money on your water bill.
When people come into the office with high usage the first suspect in making their bill high is always a silent leak. There are a number of ways to check for these, but the two most common ways are using cups and food coloring.
If you have to jiggle the handle of your toilet to get it to stop running then you definitely have a leak. But that is not the only type of silent leak your toilet can have. To check your toilet for silent leaks, put 8-10 drops of food coloring into the tank of your toilet. Leave the toilet alone for 15 to 20 minutes. If any of the food coloring has seeped into the bowl of your toilet then you have a silent leak. You can either repair this yourself by purchasing and installing a new tank kit or by calling a handyman or plumber.
The next culprits of silent leaks are your sinks and tubs. Place empty cups under the faucet in the morning before you leave for work. When you come home from work in the evening, check them. If there is any water in the cups then you have a silent leak and should get your faucets fixed.
Check for Leaks
If you have checked for silent leaks and did not find one then the next thing to do is check for leaks in the piping underneath your home or from the meter to your home. You can do this a couple of ways.
The cheapest way to check for leaks is to go out to your meter box and open the lid. If there is dirt in there don’t call and complain to your water department about someone not reading your meter. Chances are that your meter is automatically read via a GPS signal. There should be a leak indicator on your meter. It will either be a small red or yellow star or triangle. If everything in your home is off and your meter is running, then you have a leak. Call a plumber.
An alternative option to checking for a leak is to call your water department. Many water departments can send a service man over to check for leaks at your meter at little or no charge. Even if there is a charge, chances are that it is cheaper than calling out a licensed plumber.
The final, and most expensive option, is to call a licensed plumber to check your home and service line from the meter for leaks. Pricing on this differs dramatically based on where you live and what plumber you use so check around for the best price.
Believe it or not, the icemaker actually drives up your water bill. Only turn on the icemaker when your ice bucket is running low. You can also consider turning it off and using ice trays during the fall and winter when you are not using as much ice.
People never even think to put locks on their outside hydrants. Many people have resorted to stealing neighbor’s water, especially when their neighbor is gone to work or on vacation. Put locks on all of your outside hydrants.