Last year, the Houston City Council approved a water hike proposal in which the rates on water and wastewater will increase every year for the next five years. It’s estimated that by 2026, the average water costs for single-family homes in the city will skyrocket by 78 percent. The hikes are needed to fund aging infrastructure upgrades to prevent big breaks and boost system resiliency to hurricanes and freezes, and to improve wastewater treatment. Hence, in the coming years, Houston residents (both on a budget and those not) may want to consider ways to save money on water in general.
After all, water costs can add up quickly, and even saving $25 a month means $300 more in your pocket at the end of the year. Here are a few quick tips from us to help you spend less on water.
Tip No. 1: Reduce Time in the Shower
Sure, sometimes you need a long shower to relax or just unwind. But, as a family, if you can generally reduce the time in the shower by 4 minutes, you’ll save an estimated 4,000 gallons of water per year. That’s up to $100 per year alone. And if your family takes longer showers, there can be even more savings. Related to that: Installing a low-flow shower head can save you up to 50 percent on water.
As for a bath vs. a shower? A bath can use up to 75 gallons of water at a time whereas showers generally take up about 20 gallons. The bottom line: opt for the shower when you can.
Tip No. 2: Don’t Let the Water Run When Shaving or Brushing Your Teeth
Certainly, this is something we all have done at one point. But turning off the water while you brush your teeth or shaving can add up in terms of savings. For every minute you don’t run the faucet, you can save up to two gallons of water per person per day. On average if you spend two minutes brushing your teeth, that’s more than 1,000 gallons of water per year. If you shave, one quick tip: Use a cup of hot water to dip your razor in, rather than continuously running the faucet.
Tip No. 3: Only Run Dishwashers and Laundry with Full Loads
You might not think this is a big deal but the average household can save 3,400 gallons of water a year by running full laundry loads instead of half loads, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. That’s a huge savings in terms of water costs. This same approach applies to dishwashers.
As for hand-washing vs. using a dishwasher? According to experts, using a dishwasher instead of ten minutes of handwashing can save more than 30 gallons of water weekly (assuming you run it every few nights with a full load.)
Tip No. 4: Water Your Lawn Less Frequently
Lawn irrigation accounts for nearly half of homeowner water usage. According to the USDA, many homeowners irrigate lawns too often and for too short a period. Others tend to leave the water running too long, resulting in wasted water. Turf studies show that most lawns only require irrigation once every 4 to 8 days to stay healthy and green. To give an example: If you water your lawn for an hour, you’ll generally use more than 1,000 gallons of water on average. Reducing the frequency can save you hundreds of dollars in water bills over the course of the year.
Tip No. 5: Stop Buying Bottled Water
The average family of four spends roughly $800 to $1,500 per year on bottled water. That’s about 9.60 per gallon compared to your tap, which costs about $.004 per gallon – a huge savings assuming you have confidence in your tap water. If you don’t, we suggest getting a free water quality analysis from us. We’ll send a technician to your home and analyze your water for contaminants and hard water particles, and get you the results back fast. Then, we’ll recommend the right solution for you.
By investing just a little bit in better quality water, you’ll save money over the course of the year. And over time, save thousands of dollars in bottled water costs.
We hope this has been helpful. As always, let us know if you have questions. And don’t forget to get your free water quality analysis today.