Many of us are on pretty tight budgets these days. So, you cut back on eating out, ditch the trips to the movie theater and refrain from buying those shiny new shoes. But the best way to save money and cut back on waste is right in your own home. This month, try using these eight simple steps to cut back on household water and energy use – and save $290 in the process!
1. Take shorter showers
Savings: $103.25 for a family of four
Depending on your showerhead, you use 10 to 25 gallons of water for every five minutes you spend in the shower, meaning you could save up to 5 gallons for every minute you shave off, according to the EPA.
While water itself is pretty inexpensive (averages range between $1.50 and $5 for every 1,000 gallons), heating water can get pretty pricey. Assuming you aren’t taking a cold shower in the morning, every 10 minutes can cost as much as 50 cents for electric water heaters.
So, if everyone in your family cut three minutes off their shower time every day for a month, you’d save $10.25 on water costs and $93 on your electric bill. Live by yourself? Just divide the total by four to calculate your savings.
2. Fix that leak
Leaky faucets can be pretty annoying, but they can also cost you big bucks on your water bill. Fixing a leak can save 833 gallons of water each month, according to the EPA. So, if you leave that leaky faucet for a year, a whopping 10,000 gallons of water will go right down the drain.
If you pay $5 for 1,000 gallons of water, that 833 gallons of water your leak didn’t waste will save you more than $4 a month. Water costs can vary greatly from state to state. Check the summary on your water bill to see how much you’re paying.
3. Let the dishwasher do the work
Many of us pre-rinse our dishes in the sink with the idea that the dishwasher won’t have to work as hard, but this added step can waste loads of hot water. If you scrape your dishes instead of rinsing them, you’ll save an average of 20 gallons of heated water per day, according to a study conducted by Consumer Reports.
Scraping your dishes and only running full loads will save you more than $30 every month on water heating and about $3.50 in water costs. Doing less work and saving more money? Sounds like a win, win to us!
4. Install a toilet dam
Savings: $5 for a family of four
On average, toilets use about 5 gallons of water per flush, and a family of four flushes the toilet about 16 times each day, according to the EPA. Installing a WaterSense-labeled toilet dramatically cuts back on water use. But if you don’t have the cash for an upgrade, a simple modification can save just as much.
A toilet dam is a container filled with water that is placed inside the toilet tank to take up space, and it can save you about 1,000 gallons of water every month, according to the EPA. Just rinse out a jar, fill it with water and place a rock or other weighted item at the bottom. For a family of four, repurposing something you’d otherwise throw away will save five bucks each month.