17 Ways to Slash Your Water Bill
More than a million miles of water pipes in the U.S. will be in need of repair between now and 2035, says the American Waterworks Association. The cost of those repairs will top $1 trillion, and will largely be funded by your water bill.
Depending on where you live, your water bill could increase a lot. The American Waterworks Association says rural customers might pay $550 more a year, while residents of major cities are looking at a $75- to $100-per-year hike.
While there isn’t much you can do about the increase, you can curb your water usage and save money. Here are 17 ways:
In the kitchen
1. Stop washing dishes by hand. If you have a dishwasher, use it. The National Resource Defense Council says hand washing your dishes takes up to 27 gallons of water, but regular dishwashers use only 15 gallons (or 3 to 5 gallons if you have an energy-efficient dishwasher).
2. Don’t pre-rinse. In fact, skip the sink altogether. Most modern dishwashers work well enough to make pre-rinsing an unnecessary step. Just scrape the leftovers into the trash and place directly in the dishwasher.
3. Fully load your dishwasher. Never run your dishwasher unless both shelves are completely full. The more you can fit in each load, the less you’ll use the appliance overall.
4. Run on lower settings. Modern dishwashers have several wash settings, from “quick” or “light wash” to “heavy soil.” Unless your dishes are covered in stuck-on food and grime, you can get away with a quick wash.
5. Skip the disposal. You have to run the water every time you use the garbage disposal. Save the water and dump food in the trash or, if it’s a fruit or vegetable, into a compost pile.
6. Install an aerator. Aerators restrict the flow of water out of your faucets, lowering your water waste. For maximum efficiency, the U.S. Department of Energy says to purchase aerators with a flow rate of no higher than 1 gallon per minute .
7. Check for leaks. Check your kitchen faucet (and every other faucet and toilet in your home) for leaks. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, leaks account for an average of 10,000 gallons of water wasted per home every year — enough to fill a backyard swimming pool.