This post is part of The One Hour Project, in which you can spend just one hour to put your finances in a better place without a big lifestyle change, through frugality or other financial choices.
One of the most frustrating expenses in our home is the water bill. Even though our rate for water is about $0.0006 per liter, it adds up very quickly. This means that for every 16 liters we use, it costs us a cent. On the surface, that seems cheap, but it adds up very quickly. A single shower, for instance, uses about two gallons per minute, which over a ten minute shower adds up to 20 gallons. Every normal shower costs a nickel in water usage – and that’s just for starters. An average toilet flush eats 3 gallons – almost a cent. Once you start looking at the water use in your house from that perspective, it really adds up.
Thankfully, there are a lot of very easy ways to reduce your water usage by doing one-time tasks. Here are some things you can tackle in an hour that will cut down on your home water usage – and thus reduce your water bill every single month.
Fix (or have fixed) your leaky faucets. Do you have any leaky faucets in your house? Even at a rate of just a few drops a minute, gallons of water are pouring down your drain each month – and that becomes significant money wasted over time. Take a bit of time and see if you can fix the faucet – and if not, consider the possibility of replacing it.
Check for hidden leaks. Look underneath every toilet and sink in your house. Is there a leak anywhere? Leaks under here are just as wasteful as the ones from faucets – you should get them fixed, not just for the water loss, but for the health of the boards in your home.
Install a low-flow shower head in your most heavily used shower. A low flow shower head drastically reduces the water use during each shower. If your primary shower is used twice a day and it saves ten gallons per shower, that’s 7,300 gallons a year in savings – about $15 on our bill. A low-flow shower head pays for itself in about two years and then is just profit after that.
Fill a 20 or 32 ounce soda bottle with water, screw the cap on tight, and put it in your toilet tank. That makes the toilet use a bit less water for each flush. If you flush a toilet three times a day, over a year this simple move can save more than a dollar on your water bill – and our toilet certainly gets flushed more often than that.
Take quicker showers. A nice long soak is luxurious sometimes, but most of the time we can all take quicker showers. Start timing them and set goals to make your shower shorter and shorter. Not only does it save serious money on water over time, but it frees up more time for you to do other things. Try timing two showers for a trial run and see how it goes.
Water your lawn more efficiently. Do it in the early morning or late evening, and deep soak the lawn when you do it (put a tuna can out in the yard where you’re watering – when the can is full, you’ve watered enough). This will drastically reduce the amount of watering you have to do, saving time and water.
Do these things and watch your water bill fall through the floor.