Lowering your water usage not only lowers your water bill, it also reduces your environmental footprint. It’s a WIN-WIN situation!
Here are 12 ways to lower your water bill and conserve water today:
1. Check for leaks
A leaking faucet, as they say, “is money down the drain.” A dripping faucet can waste thousands of litres of water per year, and the same goes for a leaking toilet. Repair leaking faucets and toilets as soon as possible.
One trick for checking your toilet for leaks is to add a dye to the toilet tank and see if it seeps into the toilet bowl. To detect if you have other leaks that are not obvious, check your water meter and ensure no water is being used for a few hours (i.e. no faucets opened, no toilets being flushed, etc.). Afterwards, read your water meter to confirm if you’re losing water.
2. Install low-flow fixtures
There are lots of low-flow fixtures on the market these days…low-flow faucets, aerators, shower heads, and so on. These fixtures are designed to save you thousands of litres annually and can cut your water usage by 25% to 60%.
In some jurisdictions, you can get these water-saving fixtures for free. For example, if you live in Manitoba, their Hydro’s “Power Smart Water and Energy Saver Program” offers free water and energy saver kits to help you save water and energy. Each kit contains: low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators for sinks, water heater pipe wrap insulation, a plumber’s tape and refrigerator thermometer.
3. Throw out your ancient toilet!
Newer toilets need less water for an efficient and clean flush. If you have an older toilet, circa 1980’s to early 90’s, it is costing you money even if it’s not leaking. Consider installing a new low-flow, water-efficient toilet or one that is WaterSense-rated. These toilets use 20 to 60 percent less water than average toilets and will save an average household about $110 per year.
4. Place a jug or bottle of water in the refrigerator
I like my drinking water a little bit cold and used to run the faucet for a while before filling my cup. However, since it was not helping my water bill, I now place a jug of water in the fridge.
5. Insulate hot water pipes
Water is wasted when you open a hot water faucet and let it run for some time so as to get hot water. Insulating your hot water pipes with foam pipe insulation will ensure you get hot water faster and cut wastage. The most important areas to insulate is the first few feet of hot water pipes leaving your water heater. You can also consider insulating your water heater to save about 7%–16% in water heating costs. See an example of a hot water tank heater insulation jacket here.
6. Take shorter showers
This is self-explanatory. I like long showers in the morning – it’s what wakes me up and ready for work! A minute in the shower equates to approximately 9.5 litres of water (on average). For the average Canadian who spends 8 minutes showering, this translates into 76 litres of water/shower. To save some water and energy, consider shortening your shower time.
7. Use a cup when brushing your teeth
Leaving the water running while brushing your teeth wastes a lot of water. Consider filling a cup with water and using instead.
8. Only run full loads in the dishwasher and clothes washer
Fully load up the dishwasher and clothes washer before running them to lower your water usage and bill. Washing full loads can save the average household more than 3400 gallons of water per year.
9. Keep your garden well-mulched
Lower the water needed to grow your garden by mulching. This will increase the ability of the soil to retain moisture and reduce water lost to evaporation.
10. Time your lawn watering
Water early in the morning or late in the evening when it’s not so hot and when water lost to evaporation is less. Only water your lawn, shrubs, and trees when they need it.
11. Install a rain barrel
Rain barrels will collect rain water from the downspouts of your gutters. Water collected can be used to feed your garden or used for other outside cleaning tasks.
12. Consider upgrading to ENERGY STAR® rated appliances
When replacing your dishwasher and clothes washer, consider going for models that are energy efficient. This will save both water and energy in the long run. Replacing your pre-1994 washer could save you about $110 and replacing a pre-1986 refrigerator could save you up to $158 per year in energy costs.
Canadians have one of the highest rates of individual water use in the world, second only to the United States. Even though Canada is home to about a quarter of the world’s fresh water supplies, it still makes sense for us to conserve water and save this precious resource for future generations.