Our drought may be over, but California’s water problems are not. As the California Water Board states, “Our changing climate requires Californians to move beyond temporary emergency drought measures and adopt permanent changes to use water more wisely.” If we want to keep living in California, we all have to pay a little more attention to how we use water.
No doubt, you’ve heard this before. You’ve probably heard it from us before! We’re not going to talk about the state’s water problems today. Instead, we’re going to talk about something a little closer to home: your water bill. California has been hit hard by rising water prices. Most people use more water in summer without even realizing it. Add California’s water prices to an especially hot summer, and you’re probably looking at one high water bill. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be! Here are four ways to significantly lower your water bill this summer:
Replace your toilet
Your toilet is the single biggest water hog in your home, especially if it’s old. Older toilets can use 5 to 7 gallons of water per flush In an average household, toilets account for up to 30% of the overall water usage. If you can reduce the amount of water your toilet uses, then you’ll reduce your water costs substantially.
The most effective way to reduce how much water your toilet uses is to invest in a new one. New toilets are much more efficient than their older counterparts. When you consider new toilets, watch for the EPA’s WaterSense label. When a toilet has the WaterSense label, it uses 1.28 gallons of water per flush or less. Switching to a WaterSense toilet could save you over 5 gallons of water per flush. You could end up saving more than $110 dollars on water costs per year.
Water leaks account for around 12% of all water use in an average American home. Little pipe, faucet, and toilet leaks are considerably more common than anyone tends to realize. Even tiny leaks can waste a surprising amount of water over time. Often, small leaks are difficult to notice or positively identify. You shouldn’t assume you don’t have any leaks, especially if your water bill seems high.
If you think you have a water leak, there are a couple ways to find out for sure. Leaks can happen in faucets, toilets, or pretty much any pipe. Check around p-traps and pipe elbows especially. Leaks often happen when older pipes begin to corrode. Keep a close eye on fixtures especially. A single faucet dripping just twice a minute would waste 69 gallons of water a year. If your water bill seems suspiciously high, leaks might be the culprit.
Your toilet isn’t the only water fixture that could be using more water than necessary. Other water fixtures, such showerheads, and faucets might use too much water too quickly. Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm). Showering accounts for almost 17% of the average household’s water use. If everyone in your home takes a five-minute shower using a standard showerhead, they’re each using 12 gallons of water per day!
Installing new, more efficient showerheads is easy: just look for the WaterSense label again. Just like it does with toilets, the EPA indicates especially water-efficient “low flow” showerheads with the WaterSense label. Low-flow showerheads use no more than 2.0 gpm. Making this change alone could mean you save an average of 2 gallons of water per shower. When you consider how often everyone in your home showers, you can see how that adds up!
Go to the Car Wash
Washing your car in your driveway is a classic summer pastime. Unfortunately, however, it’s also a huge waste of water. Think about how much water you spray on a car to keep it wet while washing it. You have to use a lot, especially on a sunny summer day. Washing a single car at home uses around 150 gallons of water. Multiple that by the number of cars your family owns, and you’re looking at a surprisingly expensive pastime.
Most automatic car washes only use 15 to 50 gallons of water per wash. Californian car washes also recycle the water they use to help conserve state water. Every time you visit a car wash instead of washing your car yourself, you’re helping save the state over 100 gallons! The best part? The water a car wash uses isn’t your water. You’ll save up to 150 gallons of water per wash, and you’ll notice it on your bill fast!
Saving money on your water bill is surprisingly easy. Often, it all comes down to fixing something you didn’t know was a problem in the first place!
If you need help fixing a water problem, you can always call Mike Diamond. We’re ready to help you with any water problem, from leaks to fixture installations. Stay cool!