You just got your water bill and it's higher than expected. If possible, you'd prefer to pay a -- much -- lower rate on your next billing cycle, but you're not sure how to reasonably reduce your water consumption.
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The average American household uses approximately 88 gallons of water per person each day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. This equates to roughly 10,500 gallons of water for a family of four over a 30-day period.
In the past, you might've tried to reduce your water usage by taking slightly shorter showers or doing less laundry. Chances are, these efforts didn't make a dent in your bill -- or even last very long.
Thankfully, there are plenty of relatively quick and easy ways to use less water, with little or no interruption to your daily life. Here are seven tips to help reduce your water bill and give back to the planet by practicing water conservation.
Leaky plumbing fixtures are annoying, but they can also be expensive. If you have a leaky faucet, toilet or other equipment it's time to finally get them repaired.
One household leak wastes an average of 10,000 gallons of water per year, according to the Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority. Fixing the issue can reduce your water bill by up to 10%.
Not sure if you have any leaks? If your water bill has mysteriously gone up, this is a telltale sign you might have one, so it's time to start investigating.
Replace Old Toilets
You might be unbothered by your old toilet, but keeping it around could be costly. In fact, toilet flushing is a major use of water inside the home, according to EnergyStar.
If your home was built before 1992 and you can't remember the last time you replaced your toilets, EnergyStar recommends installing a WaterSense labeled model that uses 1.28 gallons or less per flush. This can save a family of four 16,000 gallons of water per year.
Check Your Irrigation System
Making sure your outdoor plants get enough water is important, but giving them too much isn't good for anyone.
Automatic landscape irrigation systems use more water than anything else in a home, according to EnergyStar. Installing a WaterSense labeled irrigation controller can curb this, as it uses local weather and landscape conditions to only water plants when they actually need it. Taking it a step further, you can also install a rain shutoff device, soil moisture sensor or a humidity sensor.
Get a High-Efficiency Clothes Washer
Your old clothes washer might still be getting your clothes clean, but it could be increasing your water bill. Installing a new high-efficiency clothes washer -- water factor 4.0 or less -- can decrease your water usage by up to 50% from a conventional top loader model, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Making this switch can reduce your water usage by 10,167 gallons annually -- which equates to $82 per year, according to LADWP. The average washer lasts 10-13 years, according to Sears, which is a total of $820-$1,066 in savings over the lifespan of the machine, just for choosing a high-efficiency model.
Turn Off the Faucet
If you're like many people, you leave the faucet on throughout your entire teeth brushing process. Simply turning it off during the actual brushing portion can save eight gallons of water per day, according to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority.
Additionally, other small changes like turning the faucet off while shaving and lathering soap when washing your hands can also make a notable difference in the amount of water you use each month.
Take on a Turf Reduction Project
Bright green grass looks pretty, but keeping it healthy requires a lot of water. If you live in a dry climate, consider removing turf from your yard and replacing it with drought-resistant landscaping and a drip water system.
Trading grass with sprinklers in for drought-tolerant shrubs with drip irrigation can save a notable amount of water, according to LADWP. Specifically, a 250-square-foot turf reduction project can save 10,997 gallons of water per year, which equates to $88 in savings.
Swap Out Inefficient Faucet Aerators and Showerheads
You might not realize it, but your showerheads and faucet aerators could be using more water than necessary. A quick and easy replacement can add up to serious savings.
Specifically, trading inefficient fixtures for WaterSense labeled products can reduce water usage by at least 20% percent from standard models, while offering equal or superior performance, according to EnergyStar. In fact, the average family can save nearly 3,500 gallons of water and 410 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year after making this change.
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