17 Ways to Slash Your Water Bill

Photo (cc) by p_a_h

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.

In the bathroom

8. Install a low-flow shower head. According to the EPA, a standard shower head uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Upgrading to a shower head with the WaterSense label will save you at least a half gallon per minute.

9. Don’t flush so much. The average toilet uses about 3 gallons of water per flush, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Don’t flush anything unnecessary like facial tissues, eye makeup remover pads or cotton balls. Using your toilet as a garbage can is a huge waste of water.

10. Take shorter showers. Put a timer in your bathroom and try to keep your showers under five minutes. When you’re racing the clock, you’ll save time and money.

11. Turn the faucet off. Leaving the faucet on when you’re using the sink is just wasting water. Turn it off while you brush your teeth, shave, or take off your makeup. If you need some water to work with, fill the sink a little bit and dip your razor instead of running it under the faucet.

In the laundry room

12. Upgrade to high efficiency. If you’re considering an appliance upgrade, look for an Energy Star-certified washing machine. According to the EPA, Energy Star machines use 8 fewer gallons of water per load than non-Energy Star machines. Considering the EPA says the average family does 300 loads of laundry annually, you’d save 2,400 gallons of water the first year.

13. Use the right amount of water. Running the washing machine only when you have a full load of dirty clothes will keep you from wasting water, but if you must wash a partial load, lower the water level on your washing machine.

14. Don’t wash what isn’t dirty. Cut down on the amount you use your washer by washing only what really needs cleaned. For example, you can use towels for several days, and if you wear something for only a few hours, hang it back up rather than tossing it in the laundry basket.

Outside

15. Plant drought-resistant plants. Drought-resistant plants like chocolate daisies, English lavender or maiden grass don’t need watered as often as other plants. Landscape with these plants and you’ll cut down on your sprinkler use.

16. Check your sprinkler’s position. Before watering your lawn, check which direction your sprinkler head faces. If the stream reaches the driveway or street, you’re wasting water.

17. Install a rain barrel. Place a barrel under your rain spouts to collect rainfall. The water isn’t drinkable but you can use it to water your plants or wash your car, free of charge.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Countries Where You Can Retire on $2,000 a Month or Less
5 Countries Where You Can Retire on $2,000 a Month or Less

These tips on retiring overseas come from someone who’s been helping American expats for decades.

Avoiding These 5 Foods Could Save Your Vision as You Age
Avoiding These 5 Foods Could Save Your Vision as You Age

Millions of Americans may be able to prevent an incurable cause of blindness by making a basic change.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

The 3 Worst Money Mistakes You Are Making at the Gas Station
The 3 Worst Money Mistakes You Are Making at the Gas Station

Beware these cash-guzzling missteps when you stop at any gas station.

15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home
15 Free Streaming Services to Watch While Stuck at Home

These free movie streaming sites offer thousands of movies and TV shows, including recent releases and beloved classics. If you love free movies, online sites are where you need to look for the best list of features that are just one easy click away.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable
10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic
5 Products You Should Never Buy Generic

Sometimes the brand-name version is clearly superior.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.