How to lower your water bill

A leaky faucet isn’t just a nuisance. It is also expensive, draining cash from your pocket one drip at a time.

“You could lose more water than you actually use,” said Chris Tyson, a master trade specialist at Home Depot.

A faucet that leaks an average of 30 drips per minute adds up to two gallons of water a day. By the end of the year, that amounts to 1,040 gallons. And that’s just one household faucet. Paying attention to issues like these and others can drastically reduce a consumer’s water bill each month.

The average city of Atlanta family uses 6,000 gallons of water a month and has an average water and sewer bill of $120.82. While there is no way to eliminate the bill all together, you can take steps – like fixing a faucet leak – to simultaneously conserve water and lower your bill.

- Shorter showers: “When we get home, we may take a shower to relax,” said Jim Harrington of Rainwater Collections Solutions. “Relax before you shower so you won’t stay in as long.”

You can also use less water by installing a low flow shower head that could use as little as one gallon of water per minute, or installing a shower head that has a pause function that stops the flow of water.

- Purchase a low flow toilet: Why spend anywhere from $100 to $400 on a new toilet? Consider that a water efficient model uses about 1.6 gallons per flush, while older models can use as much as five gallons with each flush.

“It’s one of those things that will pay for itself,” Harrington said. “If you have two or more kids, it will pay for itself in less than a year.”

- Turn off the water. Most of us turn off the light switch when we leave a room. The same principle applies to water. When brushing your teeth or shaving, turn the water off until you’re actually using it.

- Check the toilet for leaks. Tyson suggests using a few drops of food coloring in the tank to see if the water leaks back into the bowl. That lets you know if the flapper is leaking, causing the toilet to refill unnecessarily. Replace the flapper once a year to prevent this problem.

To see just how much water is wasted – and how much higher your bill can get – plug your sink and run the water as you normally would. It’s likely the sink would overflow.

“One of the problems we have with saving water is there is no way of visualizing how much we’re using,” Harrington said.

Coming up: Do you pay too much for your cellphone bill? Do you even know how many minutes you actually use?

Follow me on Twitter @atlbargains and on Facebook at AJC Atlanta Bargain Hunter

One comment Add your comment

BongWater Slurpee

February 25th, 2010
8:37 am

Shower with a friend.