Water bills can fluctuate quite a bit throughout the year and tend to peak during the summer when people water their lawns, turn up air-conditioning systems that use water, wash cars and even fill swimming pools. The good news is that there are reliable ways to reduce your water consumption, which in turn means lowering your expenses. As an added bonus, using less water also means reducing your energy consumption and lessening your environmental footprint.
Here are some tips to reduce your water consumption – and save on that monthly bill, even when the weather heats up:
1. Fix leaky toilets.
The average household can leak more than 10,000 gallons of water each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, and much of that water escapes through toilets.If you hear yours running, then try to fix it yourself or call a plumber. (If you rent, let the landlord know.) Likewise, keep an eye out for slow drips coming out of sinks or pipes. Not only can they cause water damage, but they mean more wasted water.
2. Use your toilet properly.
People often end up wasting water by flushing their toilets more than necessary or even using their toilets as a garbage bin. Tissues and other items belong in the trash, not the toilet. Extra flushes and clogged drains end up wasting water. Another option is to stick a plastic bottle weighted down with sand or pebbles in the back of your toilet, so it uses less water.
3. Look for WaterSense labels.
WaterSense is the EPA-sanctioned label that lets consumers know that a product meets certain requirements. Specifically, WaterSense-labeled items are 20 percent more water efficient than average and lead to reduced water consumption. You can find the label on products from showerheads and toilets to faucets, or read more at epa.gov/WaterSense. (You can also follow the program on Twitter at @EPAwatersense.)
4. Skip the lawn.
In drier parts of the country, homeowners can spend over half of their water use on keeping their lawns and gardens moist. If you think about it, that represents a massive inefficiency: Lawns and gardens don’t need daily sprinkler runs to thrive. Instead, try to get the most out of rain by collecting it or just let the lawn get a little brown during dry spells. Stick with native vegetation that doesn’t struggle to survive in drier climates. Adding mulch can also help. More here.