Many people do not think about how much water they use until their bills arrive in the mail. By then, it's too late to consider what steps could have been taken to reduce water usage, and therefore, water and sewer bills. There are several things you can do to avoid unnecessarily high water and sewer bills.
- To determine if there is a leak at your property, read your meter before you retire for the evening, having used all the water you plan to for the night. Before using any water the next morning, read your meter again. If the reading is different from that obtained the previous evening, without having used any water, you have a leak.
- Check toilets for leaks. Put a "leak detector" dye tablet or food coloring in your toilet tank. If later, without flushing, dye appears in the bowl, you have a leak that should be repaired promptly.
- Check faucets and pipes for leaks. Leaks waste water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Even the smallest drip from a worn washer can waste 20 gallons or more each day.
- Don't use the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue, or other small bit of trash, you waste up to five gallons of water.
- Install water-saving shower heads or flow restrictors. Many local hardware stores stock inexpensive devices that are easy to install.
- Use your automatic appliances only for full loads. Your dishwasher and washing machine use the same amount of water regardless of whether they are half full or completely full.
- Wash all you can at once.
- If you wash dishes by hand, don't leave the water running unnecessarily for rinsing. If you have 2 sinks, fill 1 with soapy water and 1 with rinse water.
- If not, gather washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device.
- Don't let the faucet run while you clean meat or vegetables.
- Rinse the food in a stoppered sink or in a pan of cold, clean water.
- Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator. Running the tap until water is cool enough to drink is wasteful.
- Water your lawn only when it needs it. A simple "step test" will tell you if your lawn needs water. If the grass springs back up when you step away, it doesn't need water. If it stays flat, go for the sprinkler. An occasional deep-soak will do more good than frequent light sprinklings, which can evaporate quickly.
- Avoid watering the gutter.
- Position automatic sprinklers so that water lands on the lawn or garden, not on paved areas.
- Mulch around trees and plants. Mulch slows evaporation of moisture and also discourages weed growth.