Water is becoming more expensive across the U.S. So, it’s important to make sure you’re not flushing your hard-earned cash down the drain through poor conservation practices.
An estimated 11.9 percent of households nationwide cannot afford to pay their water bills, according to an analysis published in 2017 by researchers at Michigan State University. Yet many consumers often sabotage their own efforts to cut their water usage — and thus their water bill.
What follows are some of the biggest mistakes that can increase your water bill.
1. Not using low-flow showerheads
If you have an older showerhead, you may be using as many as 10 gallons of water per minute each time you shower, according to the Arizona-based campaign Water — Use It Wisely. In contrast, newer, low-flow showerheads use about 2 gallons per minute.
Due to newer technologies used in low-flow showerheads, you won’t notice a difference in the water pressure or flow, the campaign says. Yet you could save hundreds of gallons weekly, just by installing a new showerhead.
So, the purchase of a new showerhead could quickly pay for itself.
As the U.S. Department of Energy notes:
“You can purchase some quality, low-flow fixtures for around $10 to $20 apiece and achieve water savings of 25%–60%.”
2. Not using low-flow faucet aerators
An aerator is the component at the tip of a faucet. It often screws onto the faucet. Low-flow aerators save water by limiting the flow of water through the faucet, so they also save money.
The U.S. Department of Energy describes replacing your aerators with lower-flow aerators as “one of the most cost-effective water conservation measures.” The DOE recommends buying aerators with flow rates of 1 gallon per minute or less.
The federal agency also advises taking your current aerator to the store when you buy a new one so you can be sure the new one will fit on your existing faucet.
3. Pre-rinsing your dishes
Most modern dishwashers work well enough to make pre-rinsing an unnecessary step. Simply scrape leftovers into the trash or a compost bucket and put your dishes directly into the dishwasher.
If you feel you need to rinse dishes more thoroughly before putting them in the dishwasher, do it in a bowl, tub or sink to limit water use. You can follow the same steps when you wash dishes by hand.
4. Using a garbage disposal
An easy way to conserve water is to stop using your garbage disposal. Garbage disposals don’t work well unless you leave your faucet on when the disposal is running. So, you’ll save money if you simply scrape the food off your dishes and into the trash or compost.