The water bill is one of those regular expense items many people just accept automatically without much thought.
When we flush the toilet, turn on the washing machine, or set up the lawn sprinklers, we do not really think about how our actions and choices will impact the size of the water bill we receive at the end of each month.
A person who lives a frugal lifestyle normally pays more attention to their water bills. After all, it is not an insignificant amount and it has been increasing at a rate higher than the general rate of inflation.
As a recurring expense that we have to pay month after month, year after year, it adds up to something big pretty quickly.
Have you seen commercials on TV telling you to conserve water? The average water and sewer bill jumped 3.6% in 2019, outpacing inflation. Since 2012, water bills have surged 31%.
That translates to an annual rate of increase of over 4%, far outpacing the general annual inflation rate of less than 2% during the same period. The average water bill is $104. Lower that by 30% and you could be saving $370 per year.
You can save water bills by using WaterSense certified toilets, showerheads, and sprinklers. You can also use ENERGY STAR certified clothes washers & dishwashers, repairing water leaks, opting for drought-resistant plants in your garden, and covering your swimming pool.
|Water Bill Saving Strategy||Cost of Implementation||Impact on Your Lifestyle||Annual Savings on Water Bill|
|Replace Old Sprinkler Controller with WaterSense Certified One||$50 more expensive than timer based sprinkler controllers||None||$120|
|Plant Drought Resistant Plants in Your Lawn or Garden||None when compared to non drought resistant plants||None||$330|
|Cover Swimming Pool with Pool Cover||$50 – $100||None||$90|
|Check for and Fix Water Leaks||None if doing it yourself||None||$90|
|Replace Dishwasher with ENERGY STAR Certified model||None when compared to non ENERGY STAR models||None||$3|
|Replace Washing Machine with ENERGY STAR Certified model||None when compared to non ENERGY STAR models||None||$60|
|Replace Shower Head with WaterSense Certified model||None when compared to non WaterSense models||None to Low||$40|
|Shorten Each Shower by 3 Minutes||$0||Low to Medium||$60|
|Skip 2 Showers per Week||$0||Low to Medium||$20|
|Switch From Baths to Showers||$0||Low to Medium||$10|
|Replace Toilets with WaterSense Certified models||None when compared to non WaterSense models||None||$90|
For the rest of this article, we will first offer some tips on how to make your water bill smaller. Then we will look at the average water usage per month of a typical household of 1, 2, and 4 persons. We will also look into some of the major factors that impact your water usage.
Then we will break down your water usage into several major categories. We will go into more detail on the categories of dishwashers, washing machines, showers, baths, and toilets. We will also review some useful products that are great at helping you to save on your water bills.
Before we go over some of the more effective ways to save on your water bill, it would help to get a sense of how much you are paying for each gallon of water.
It a typical municipal arrangement, not only are you required to pay for the water you use, but you are also charged a sewage service fee based on the water you consume. For example, if you use 3,000 gallons of water in a month, you need to pay a water fee on 3,000 gallons and you also need to pay a sewage fee on that same 3,000 gallons volume.
According to a study conducted by the management consulting firm Black & Veatch, the average water rate in the United States is around $0.006 per gallon while the average sewage rate is around $0.008 per gallon. Combining both the water and sewage rate, the average water bill is around $0.014 per gallon.
Now that you have got a sense of how much your water usage is costing you, let us look at some useful techniques that will help you save on your water bill.
Use Sprinkler System
Lawn care is a water sink. It can account for as much as 40% of the total water usage of a household. In addition, some experts estimate that as much as 50 percent of the water used for irrigation is wasted due to evaporation, wind, or runoff caused by inefficient irrigation methods and systems.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program certifies irrigation systems that are proven to be able to save water.
Acting like a thermostat for your sprinkler system, WaterSense certified irrigation controllers customize watering schedules based on local weather conditions. This way, water loss due to evaporation and wind is minimized. The average family can reduce irrigation water by 15 percent and save nearly 9,000 gallons of water annually by replacing a standard clock timer controller with a WaterSense labeled model.
At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of over $120 per year.
Planting Drought Resistant Plants
The US has many different climate zones and topographic and geographic features. Each state and even areas within states differ in their ability to support different plant species without the need for extensive irrigation.
By planting drought resistant plants specific to your locale, you can cut down on the amount of water needed for irrigating your garden by more than 40% to save about 24,000 gallons of water per year.
At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of over $330 per year.
Cover Your Swimming Pool
Without a cover, the water in your swimming pool can evaporate very quickly.
Without a cover, an 18 by 36 foot pool can lose about 1 inch of water per week during the summer. In other words, over 400 gallons of water is lost every week through evaporation. For a 16 weeks swimming pool season, the total water loss through evaporation could add up to 7,000 gallons.
Using a swimming pool cover regularly could reduce that loss by 90 to 95%. That amounts to an annual savings of around 6,500 gallons of water.
At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of over $90 per year.
Fix Water Leaks
The loss of water through indoor leaks in an average household is estimated to be about 6,200 gallons per year.
Water leaks are present in an estimated 90% of all homes. Common types of water leaks include running toilets, leaking toilet flappers, partially opened or dripping faucets, and cracked or open supply lines. Find and fix these leaks and you could save 6,200 gallons of water per year.
At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of almost $90 per year.
Switch to WaterSense Toilets
The average toilet uses 2.6 gallons per flush. In comparison, a WaterSense certified toilet will only use 1.28 gallons per flush.
Toilet flushing represents the single biggest indoor use of water in the average home, as such, the opportunity for saving water here is very big.
If you replace your non WaterSense toilet with a WaterSense certified one, you can save 1.32 gallons of water per flush. That represents a more than 50% saving in water used per flush.
On average, toilets are flushed 5 times a day per person. For the average household of 2.65 persons, switching to a WaterSense certified toilet can save 6,400 gallons of water per year. At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of $90 per year.
Finally, let’s take a quick glance at the overall average monthly water bill around the country by state.
Use ENERGY STAR Certified Dishwashers
The average dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water per cycle. A dishwasher made before 1994 uses even more – more than 10 gallons of water per cycle. On the other hand, the average ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher uses only 4 gallons of water per cycle.
For the average household, the water used by dishwashers only amounts to about 0.5% of the total household water consumption. Despite this relatively low number, there are still things you can do to reduce the water usage of your dishwashers:
- Opt for an ENERGY STAR Dishwasher: By replacing your old dishwasher with an ENERGY STAR certified dishwasher, you can reduce the amount of water used per wash by 40% percent. For a family of 2, that could add up to over 140 gallons of water saved per year.
- Run a Full Load of Dishes: Fit as many dishes as possible in your dishwasher. Run your dishwasher only when it is full. This will reduce the number of times you need to run it and hence the amount of water used by it.
- Do Not Pre-Rinse Dishes: With modern dishwashers, there is no longer any need to pre-rinse your dishes before loading them. This will further save some water.
- Do Not Wash Dish by Hand: Believe it or not, it is actually more water-efficient to wash your dishes in a dishwasher than it is to wash them by hand.
By combining the above strategies, an average household of 2.65 people could save 200 gallons of water or more every year. At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of just under $3 per year.
Run a Full Load on Washing Machine
According to the ENERGY STAR program from the United States Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy, a standard washing machine uses on average 23 gallons of water per load of laundry. Strategies to save water with washing machines include:
- Opt for an ENERGY STAR Washing Machine: By replacing your old dishwasher with an ENERGY STAR certified washing machine, you can reduce the amount of water used per load from 23 gallons to 13 gallons. For the average household that does 300 loads of laundry each year, that amounts to 3,000 gallons of water saved.
- Run a Full Load of Clothes: Fit as many clothing items as possible into your washing machine. Run your washing machine only when it is full. This will reduce the number of times you need to run it and hence the amount of water used by it.
- Re-use Towels: Many people wash their bath towels after just 1 use. There is no need for that. Hang up and reuse your towels instead. It will save you water.
- Skip the Extra Rinse: Many washing machines give you an option to have an extra rinse cycle. There is no need for that. Skip it and save water.
By combining the above strategies, an average household could save 4,000 gallons of water or more every year. At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of almost $60 per year.
Use a WaterSense Shower Head
The average shower uses 15.8 gallons of water. It lasts for 7.7 minutes at an average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute. Useful strategies to save water on showering include:
- Use a WaterSense Shower Head: While the average shower has a water flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute, by using a WaterSense shower head you can easily cut that flow rate down to 1.5 gallons per minute or even lower. For each 7.7 minutes shower, you will be saving 4.6 gallons of water. For the average household that takes 12.4 showers each week (645 showers per year,) that amounts to just under 3,000 gallons of water saved. At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of over $40 per year.
- Shorten Your Showers by 3 Minutes: If you shorten your showers by just 3 minutes, you will be saving 6.3 gallons of water per shower, assuming you are using a typical 2.1 gallons per minute shower head. For the average household that takes 12.4 showers each week (645 showers per year,) that amounts to over 4,000 gallons of water saved. At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of almost $60 per year.
- Skip 2 Showers per Week: Americans average 6 showers per week. Many even shower every day religiously. There is no need for daily showering. Many experts suggest showering only every other day or less to prevent itchy skin and to protect your immune system. By skipping 2 showers per week, not only do you improve your health, but you will also get to save water – as much as 1,600 gallons per year. At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of over $20 per year.
Take a Shower instea of Baths
The average bath uses 20.2 gallons of water. In comparison, the average shower uses 15.8 gallons. A shortened shower (just a tad under 5 minutes) using a 1.5 gallons per minute shower head uses 7 gallons of water.
The average household takes 1.3 baths per week – 65 baths per year. By switching from baths to quick and water efficient showers, you can save 13 gallons of water per wash. That amounts to 845 gallons per year. At an average rate of $0.014 per gallon, that translates to a savings of over $10 per year.
Use Tools to Save on Water Bills
To help you to start saving on your water bill right away, we have curated a list of helpful products that will make it easier for you to cut down on your water consumption.
- Corrosion-resistant, high-impact ABS thermoplastic body
- Adjustable 9-jet turbo massage
- Consistent flow rate, regardless of water pressure
- Self-cleaning, non-aerated spray, making it maintenance free
This is an EPA WaterSense certified low flow shower head. Its flow rate of 1.25 gallons per second is more than 50% lower than the typical shower head flow rate of 2.1 gallons per second. Better yet, you will hardly feel the difference in flow rate.
For a price of under $10, this shower head could save you more than $40 each year on your water bills. It is truly a no brainer.
- It is useful not only for shower time in the bathroom, but also for studying,...
- This timer can measure up to 99min 50sec. In addition to the standard count up,...
- You can switch the timer to a clock with just one button. It’s easy to...
- Silver color durable plated material. Magnetic back, retractable stand, and a...
This waterproof digital timer helps you keep your showers short and sweet – and saves you $60 each year on your water bills.
All that for a price of less than $15. It is another must-have for the frugal lifestyle followers.
- Newly enchaned design
With this amazing WaterSense certified Toto dual flush toilet, you can reduce the water usage of your toilet from the typical 2.6 gallons per flush all the way down to a minuscule 0.8 gallon per flush. For tougher jobs, you can also opt for the higher but still very wallet-friendly flush volume of 1.28 gallons per flush.
With this toilet, a typical household could save over $100 per year on its water bill. At this rate, this toilet will pay for itself in less than 3 years. What’s not to like?
ENERGY STAR certified washing machine can help you save on water bills. It can wash up to 15 lbs of laundry but only uses 7.5 to 16 gallons of water per wash. The water level is automatically controlled by the washer itself so you do not even have to worry about that at all.
With this super water efficient ENERGY STAR washer, you could save $60 or more every year on your water bills.
Its price of more than $1,100 is not cheap. So, if your existing washing machine is still working fine, there is no need to throw it out and replace it with the Westland ARWXF129WNA Splendide. It is OK to keep using your old washer.
On the other hand, if your current washing machine has stopped working and you are in the market for a new one, there is no reason not to opt for an ENERGY STAR certified model. The Westland ARWXF129WNA Splendide would be an excellent choice in this case – it will save you money both on your water bill and your electric bill. Better yet, it is not any more expensive than comparable non ENERGY STAR washers. It is truly an all upside, no downside choice.
- WELCOME TO B-HYVE: Looking to get a smart sprinkler controller? If this is out...
- CONTROL FROM ANYWHERE: The B-hyve app is fully functional for android, iOS or...
- SMART WATERING: WeatherSense technology provides watering based on site...
- EASY TO INSTALL AND USE: Utilize the swing panel for easy access to the angled...
This is a WaterSense certified sprinkler controller. It is a connected smart controller and it receives a weather data live feed over the Internet. Based on this weather data live feed as well as onsite conditions such as slope, soil type, sun, shade, and historical ET, this smart sprinkler controller will control the scheduling, timing, and volume of your sprinkler to ensure the maximum irrigation effectiveness while using the minimum amount of water.
With this WaterSense certified sprinkler controller you could be saving more than $120 per year on your water bill – all for a low purchase price of just a bit over $100. This controller will pay for itself in less than 1 year. It is a must-have for the frugal lawn owners.
Our Frugal Advice
Focus your money-saving efforts on the biggest categories of residential water usage including:
- Lawn irrigation
- Swimming pool evaporation
- Toilet flushing
- Faucet flow
- Clothes washing
- Indoor water leaks
Our recommended ways to save on your water bill include:
- Replace old sprinkler controller with WaterSense certified one – $120 per year savings
- Plant drought resistant plants in your lawn or garden – $330 per year savings
- Cover swimming pool with a pool cover – $90 per year savings
- Check for and fix water leaks – $90 per year savings
- Replace toilets with WaterSense certified models – $90 per year savings
- Replace washing machine with an ENERGY STAR certified model – $60 per year savings
- Replace shower head with a WaterSense certified model – $40 per year savings
- Shorten each shower by 3 minutes – $60 per year savings
- Skip 2 showers per week – $20 per year savings
- Switch from baths to showers – $10 per year savings
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Last update on 2021-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API