Temperatures are rising and triple digits are on their way. The air conditioning will be on full blast, more time will be spent at the pool and your lawn is going to get a little thirsty.
However, the parched grass isn’t necessarily the main culprit for more water usage. Studies have shown that Arizona sees water usage at more than 370,000 gallons per capita per year.
Interestingly, water usage has gone down during the last 20 years by more than 20 percent. That’s not because temperatures have cooled down and people have needed less water, rather people have employed water-saving techniques and have invested in water-conserving technology, saving people a lot of money.
If you’re looking to save water and money, here are some tips that will help you lighten your water bill.
Water leaks can be really hard to spot, especially if they’re leaks in your sprinkler system or outside plumbing. Using your water meter is one way to check you’re not springing a leak anywhere.
Check your water meter and write down the numbers. For the next two hours, make sure no one uses any water and at the end of the two hours if the numbers on the meter are any different, you’ve definitely got a leak somewhere. Figure out where that leak is and repair the problem spot.
Skip the power washer and opt for a broom
Power washers may be convenient, but they waste a lot of water. Sure, there may be times when you’ll need to use a power washer to blast off some hard-crusted grime, but if all you’re using your power washer for is to clear off loose gravel from the driveway or cleaning residual dust from the patio, it’s best to just use a broom.
Choose your landscape wisely
You can save thousands of gallons of water in your landscape simply by having the proper settings of your irrigation controller. As your plants grow and as the weather changes, you will need to adjust the settings, so it’s not as simple as setting and forgetting, but the extra bit of effort is well worth it. The Arizona Department of Water Resources has an irrigation and planting guide that can help you plan.
Hand-washing your dirty dishes may appear to be the best way to conserve water, but according to the Alliance for Water Efficiency, putting your dishes through a wash cycle in the dishwasher is actually more effective and conserves water.
With all the washing, scrubbing and rinsing the dirty dishes, your water usage racks up pretty quickly, so give your dishes a quick scrub and then let the dishwasher do the rest.
Swap your bath time for showers
Think of baths as an occasional treat and stick to showers for day to day bathing. The average bath uses 35-50 gallons of water, whereas a 10-minute shower with a low-flow showerhead only uses 25 gallons.
Take shorter showers and swap out your shower head
According to the EPA, if you cut your shower time by just one minute, you’ll be saving at least 550 gallons per year. If you have a family of five and you each cut your showers short by two minutes, that’s more than 5,000 gallons of water saved per year.
To complement the shortened-shower routine, the EPA suggests switching out your old shower heads with new WaterSense shower heads. Not only will they save an average of 2,900 gallons per year, but they’ll also help you cut down on your electricity bill because your water heater doesn’t need to run as much if your showers are shorter and are more efficient.
But as it turns out, the biggest water saving tip is actually teaching your kids early on about water conservation.
Just like saving pennies, those little things add up to be a lot over time. You can save up to 8 gallons of water per day by turning off the tap while brushing your teeth. Which means, by the time your child has turned 18, you could possibly save over 50,000 gallons of water with this simple lifestyle habit.
Other small habits like placing a jug of cold water in the refrigerator instead of waiting running tap water to get cold and washing veggies in the sink and reusing the water for plants can all add up over the course of time.
Also, getting kids into the shower habit instead of baths can drastically change your water usage over time. A shower only uses 10 to 25 gallons, while a bath can take up to 70 gallons. Turn it into a game by incorporating a shower timer and save even more. The kids will think it’s fun to ‘beat the clock’ and everyone ends up winning.
Of course, these are only a few ideas of how we can not only save money by conserving water, but also help save our environment.
If you’ve discovered other issues that could be causing your water bill to go up, the only way to figure out for sure is to call an experienced local plumbing professional. They can help you figure out where the problem is and save money in the long run.
Linda Stanfield has been offering plumbing services across the Valley for 31 years. She is the only plumber in the state to have won the BBB Ethics Award three times. As a plumbing leader in the valley, she can also be found on TV and YouTube sharing and helping consumers with their plumbing needs.
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