New homes come with new expenses. Not only do you now carry a mortgage, but you get to cover the gas, electric and water bills. Depending on the size of your family and your water usage, those first few bills may come as a shock. Want to know how to save on your Dallas water bill?
Texas rounds out the top ten list of the most expensive states for water bills. With drought and unpredictable weather, it’s safe to bet that water prices will continue to rise. Don’t throw in the towel yet. Your friendly neighborhood punctual plumber has some water bill saving tips to help you keep those unruly expenses from flooding your pocketbook.
Identify Where You Use the Most Water
According to the EPA, the highest percentage of water use in the US comes from toilets. Showers, faucets and laundry are the other heavy water users on the list.
Plug your daily stats into a water use calculator to identify how much water you use in your new home. This will give you an idea of how much you’re using and what your biggest water draws are.
You can input the gallon amount in the Dallas Water Charges Calculator to see what your monthly costs will be based on your use. You can also see how much your bill would change if you cut out a certain amount of gallons/month.
Once you see where you’re using water, you can apply these water saving tips to reduce your consumption and your cost.
Replace or Modify Your Toilet for a Lower Flush
The federal standard for a low flush toilet is 1.6 gallons. These days you can purchase a toilet rated at 1.28 gallons that performs comparably. By replacing your toilet with a WaterSense rated toilet, you can reduce your water use by 20-60%. That could add up to 13,000 gallons/ year.
If you don’t have the budget to replace your toilet, you can reduce your flush by placing weights or bricks in your toilet’s tank to displace unneeded water. Also consider flushing only when necessary. Let it mellow as they say!
Stop Your Toilet from Running
Is your toilet running? It’s no joke. That sound means water is leaking out of your toilet’s tank every second. Money is literally being flushed down your toilet.
Now that you’re a homeowner, it’s up to you to fix your running toilet and repair or replace that faulty flapper (the valve that keeps water from flowing out of your toilet tank). Of course, if you need help, your trusted plumber is always on call!
Shorten Your Shower
We get it. A nice warm shower, especially after a long hard day, is a luxury. But reducing the time you spend under the showerhead can save you money on your water bill. Consider shorter showers or turning off the water while you lather.
If you have an older showerhead, replace it with a more efficient model. Standard showerheads use approximately 2.5 gallons/minute. A WaterSense rated showerhead uses no more than 2.0 gallons/minute. You could save nearly 2,000 gallons of water/year!
Repair Leaks and Install Low Flow Fixtures
Low flow faucets use 30% less water than standard faucets. When you think how often you turn your kitchen or bathroom faucet on, the savings add up quickly. Have a licensed plumber install your faucets to make sure the job is done right and that your plumbing is working efficiently.
Repair or replace leaky faucets. Even slow drips waste a significant amount of water. This drip calculator demonstrates how even a few drops/minute can cost you on your water bill.
Get in the habit of turning off your faucets while you shave, brush your teeth or wash your hands. It may seem like a small difference, but it adds up over time.
Add a faucet aerator to existing faucets to reduce water flow.
New Appliances Pay for Themselves
Dishwashers and washing machines use a lot of water to clean your dishes and clothes. Replace older models with new, energy-saving, high-efficiency models. While this may feel like a big investment, it pays for itself over time. New appliances also increase the value of your home.
When doing laundry or dishes, make sure you maximize your load. Only use your appliance when you have a full load to wash.
Don’t Tap Hot and Cold Water
How much time do you spend waiting at the tap for warm cooking water or cold drinking water? That’s money going down the drain.
Instead, keep a pitcher of cool water for drinking in the fridge. When cooking, spend the extra minute to heat water on the stove. It will only take 6-8 minutes to boil water on the stove regardless of starting temperature.
Compost Your Food Waste
Garbage disposals require water while grinding up your after-dinner scraps. Consider a compost bin in the backyard instead. It cuts down on water waste and that compost is a great boost when you get that new garden going.
Water Your Lawn During the Morning or Evening
Sprinklers draw a lot of water, especially during dry summers. Lawns need about one inch of water/ week. In order to maximize your lawn’s ability to soak in moisture, water at dawn or after dusk when the hot sun doesn’t evaporate surface water.
A rain barrel is a great way to collect water for yard use. It reduces your reliance on tap water and reuses rainwater to keep your garden hydrated.
Be Aware of Bill Increases
If you notice an increase in your Dallas water bill, it may not be because you’re using more water. A slab leak is a phenomenon new homeowners may not be aware of.
Slab leaks occur underneath your home and can go undetected. The water supply pipe carrying fresh water to your home can develop a fissure that leaks water into the ground. You pay for that water even if it isn’t going into your home. If you notice any signs of a slab leak around your home, contact a certified plumber right away.
Keep Water Use Under Control in Your New Home
Plumbing can be intimidating for the new homeowner. At Benjamin Franklin, we love helping new homeowners understand and improve their systems. If you have questions about your water bill, your home’s water use, or anything else plumbing-related, please reach out to us. We’d love to be your local trusted plumber.