While reducing your water bill may not be too high on your list of ways to save money, it isn’t a complete wash. According to a report by the American Water Works Association, infrastructure upgrades and improvements to our drinking water system are expected to cost at least $1 trillion between now and 2035, much of which will be passed on to consumers. And if you live in a rural area where there are fewer residents to share these costs, your bill could triple.
1. Store cold water in the fridge. Instead of running the tap and waiting for the water to cool off each time you want a cold glass of water, fill up a pitcher or two and store them in your refrigerator. This works well if you use a pitcher with a water filter attached.
2. Take shorter showers. By reducing the time you shower by just four minutes, you can save almost 4,000 gallons of water per year. Focus on getting in and getting out. This can save as much as $100 on an annual basis and may help you save money on other utility bills, such as gas and electricity.
3. Don't let the water run when shaving or brushing your teeth. Don’t make this mistake, since it’s a complete waste of water. To rinse off your razor while shaving, just keep a cup of hot water next to you and dip it in every so often. When brushing your teeth, fill up your rinse cup and turn off the faucet.
4. Install a low-flow shower head. Installing a low-flow shower head can reduce the amount of water you use while showering by as much as 50 percent.
5. Run full loads of dishes and laundry. If you load your dishwasher properly, you’ll fit in as much dishes as possible. Running it only when it's full reduces the number of times you need to run it. Likewise, to save water when doing laundry, only run the washer when you have a full load of dirty clothes.
6. Don't hand-wash dishes. You use 1/6 less water by running a full load in the dishwasher. When you're rinsing your dishes before they go in, don't run the tap. Instead, fill up a container with a small amount of water and rinse off all the excess from your dishes with that.
Final thoughts. If you ever notice a short-term increase in your water bill, don't hesitate to contact your provider. Call them up and ask for your meter to be reread. There could be a leak, or it could simply be due to an inaccurate reading of your meter. If there is an error or a leak, do what you need to do to get it fixed as soon as possible.
When it comes to saving money, leave no stone unturned. Even if you only reduce your water bill by $25 each month, that's an extra $300 you'll have in your checking account at the end of the year.
What other ways can you think of to save money on your water bill?
David Bakke writes about saving money as well as the environment on MoneyCrashers.com, a site dedicated to promoting financial education and providing resources such as a list of the best checking account promotions.