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Saving Money on Your Water Bill

Category Home & Garden
It's easy to let the water bill get out of hand, especially during the summer. There are many steps you can take year round though to curb your water consumption. This is a guide about saving money on your water bill.
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By 5 found this helpful
August 31, 2011

I lived where saving water was very important. The city had only one source of water. If the lake from which it came was low, no water. So yes, I learned of the water police; they watch, fine, and can even put a lien on your property.

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Now in San Diego, we have the same thing. Most of us take things like water for granted. We waste so much of everything, and it's all catching up to us. Changing your habits on a few things will make it second nature.

There are many ways to save, the dishwasher being the first. Always make sure you have a full load before running. If pots, pans, skillets, etc. are really dirty, try letting the bottoms set with water in them, and wash by hand. If your dishes are coming out of the dishwasher dirty, running it again is not the answer.

I made it so everyone used the same glass all day, instead of always getting a clean one. You will be surprised how few dirty glasses there are at day's end. You can also do this with everyone having a bottle of water in fridge with their name on it, instead of dirty unlimited cups or glasses.

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When you cleaning, don't let the water just run. There is no need to let water run and run to "get hot". If it doesn't warm up, take a look at the water heater. You can put a bucket under the faucet. Instead of it going down the drain, it can be used for cleaning or watering.

I have even dumped this water in the washing machine for the next load. Make sure your washing machine always has a full load, or adjust the setting, according to size of the load.

Baths are great but filling tub up to the top is wasting water, or letting it run until it is hot. It will get hot, so just be patient, and don't let it run down the drain. Bubble baths or salt baths are great, but if you are using toxic things to make this happen, you need to think, "do I really want that on my skin?". Use organic salts or bubbles with only a few drops of liquid soap.

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After enjoying your bath, you can take bucket and use this water for plants, gardens, or even for washing the car. You can put this water is washing machine also before doing a load of laundry. If you weren't planning to do laundry until morning, it's fine. Pour water in washer and leave it until the am.

Toilets take so much unnecessary water. One solution is either go to hardware store or place like Home Depot and purchase a low flow kit for your tank. My thrifty way is put a brick in the tank. You also can use a bottle or plastic bag filled with water. This makes it so when tank is refilling it doesn't use more water than needed.

Watering your grass doesn't need done near as often as you think. Our city allowed only before 9am and after 6pm on alternating days of the week. San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities in the country. It has beautiful landscapes, and this did nothing to change that.

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Water less; if when watering there is run off, it is being wasted. The ground only takes what it needs. Make sure if you have automated system, you adjust settings.

Washing your car is another way we can all waste water. Do not let the hose just run. Instead use a bucket (this is where bath water can be recycled). Soap down your car, and then only use hose to spray off. I promise its takes less time than you think to have a clean car.

Here are a few solutions that year around will help save on your water bill. Remember water shortage is a problem for everyone. Try to do your part. It's about more than being able to afford the fines. It's about having enough water for everyone to have and even water for the crops which we need to eat. Once you start doing these things it gets to be second nature. One hour showers should be a thing of the past.

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By Luana M. from San Diego, CA

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March 18, 2008

Many people don't realize that dishwashers actually save hot water and save money. You will notice that a dishwasher cannot hold much water. Washing dishes by hand uses much more hot water that what can be held in the bottom of the dishwasher. I think mine gets about an inch of water in the bottom. Mine uses the rinse water from the first wash as the wash water for the 2nd wash. Also, dishwashers sanitize your dishes.

Don't rinse the dirty dishes as you place them in the dishwasher. Just make sure all soiled sides face to the middle. Any small chunks of food will be ground by the garbage disposal in the bottom of every dishwasher. Use the hottest water possible. If your dishwasher doesn't have a hot water booster, be sure to draw water into the sink until the colder water that has lain in the pipes is gone. (I try to use this water for another purpose rather than to waste it.)

I only use the shortest cycle. Mine is called the "light cycle". You will find this works for really dirty dishes. When I wash a really dirty broiler pan or other pan with baked-on food, I use the regular cycle. However, I find the shortest cycle is sufficient for just about all my needs.

I find that I can use HALF the amount of detergent in each cycle. My favorite is to break one of those little tablets in half and put one half in each detergent cup. I do not use rinse aids of any type. (For a while I tried using vinegar, but found I didn't need it.) I have very hard well water, and I find half the amount of detergent works fine. Just be sure not to overload your dishwasher. You want to have it be full of dishes when you run it, but don't overload it.

I buy brand name detergents for the dishwasher. Cheap detergents have too much "filler." It's not all detergent, but rather stuff used to fill the box so you think you're getting more for your money. This filler can etch your dishes or cause grey streaks on your dishes that won't come off. Just don't buy the cheap stuff. Use the better, but only use half as much. You will be pleased with your results.

Let the dishes air dry. In the winter, I open the door and let the moisture out into the house.

By Carol from Wyoming, PA

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By 3 found this helpful
February 13, 2012

Everything seems to just keep going up, up, up these days! To say things are tight around our house is a major understatement! So, I have decided to do a few short articles on the things our little family does to try to save money/keep costs down. Some of these things you may have already heard, but I am sure it is not a bad thing to be reminded occasionally.

Some expenses can be controlled easier than others. In the past few months, we have had a regular expense that has never been what we would consider a major one before become a major one right before our eyes. Our city decided that it would be a good thing to double, and in many cases even triple, water bills for its residents. Residents of our little town have been up in arms about this, but unfortunately, there is nothing we can do. Our water bills went from running $33 a month to, so far, the lowest being $65 and the highest being $75. So we have come up with some ways of saving water that actually helped that $75 bill become a $65. Here are a few things we do regularly to try to save on water.

We take showers and not baths, and we stay in no longer than necessary to get clean. Showers typically use less water than baths. It has also helped that we have a low-flow shower head which was installed a few years ago by our local utility company when they came to our home to do a free energy audit. If your utility company offers something like this, I would encourage you to take them up on it! We not only received a new, low-flow shower head, but also a programmable thermostat and energy efficient light bulbs. My daughter and her husband just had one done and they got everything we did, plus an aerator for their kitchen sink to help conserve water. We got all these items plus the audit of our home done absolutely free!

We have two dogs for whom we keep water in large bowls. When their water needs to be changed, I take that old water and use it for my houseplants and outside flowers in the summer. We change their water every day or two so I always have plenty to use and seldom have to get water from the tap to water plants with.

We dont run the water while we are brushing our teeth. We run it just enough to rinse and shut it off! Its amazing how many people I know who let the water run while brushing their teeth. They are letting lots of water just run down the drain and running up the cost of their bill.

I only do full loads of laundry. I do not have an energy efficient, low-water usage machine, so I try to make sure that I have the machine full before I fill it up with water.

I try to run my dishwasher no more than once a day and I always make sure it is full. Since our children are grown and have left home, I can usually go at least 2 days before I have to run the dishwasher at all. When I wash the dishes by hand that cannot go in the dishwasher, I dont just let the water run. You can fill one side of your sink with soapy water and put a fairly small amount of rinse water in the other side. Youll use a lot less water this way.

In the summer, we are not watering our lawn. Usually, there is enough rain to keep our lawn looking fine, but even if we have a dry year, if money is tight enough as has been the case the past few years, it just has to look less attractive.

These are just a few things we have done to try to save money on our water bill. I will do a few more articles on some other things we have done to save money as well and I hope this one and the ones to come are a help to many!

By Robin from Washington, IA

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By 7 found this helpful
June 12, 2012

Instead of running the hot tap, while waiting for the water to get hot, and letting the water run down the sink, I keep a large jug by the sink and run the water into that.

Save lukewarm water from hot water tap.

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By 5 found this helpful
June 29, 2010

I never realized how important is was to conserve water until we had the drought a few years ago . I turned the water flow down on each faucet except the dishwasher and washing machine

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By 4 found this helpful
August 30, 2011

I have several ways of saving water besides not letting the water run while brushing my teeth. When washing clothes, I drain the rinse water into 5 gallon buckets. Then I dump the water back in the machine to wash the next load.

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By 2 found this helpful
August 29, 2011

Keep a bucket in your shower/bath tub and kitchen sink to catch the water you run until you get hot water.

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By 2 found this helpful
July 14, 2010

If you have a faucet leak or leaky roof, collect the water in a bucket and pour it into your toilet. The force of the water being poured in will flush your toilet without using the water in the tank.

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October 1, 2007

While waiting for hot water from your sink to get hot, place a milk jug under the faucet to collect water. Use this water to water plants, pets, etc. You'll be surprised with how much water you've collected.

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October 26, 20101 found this helpful

We have recently moved to Kentucky. The Fall has been very, very dry and our dishwasher requires that you run the tap until the water is hot. So, my husband purchased a terrific, barn red watering can me that I can use to "catch" the water from the tap until it runs hot.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 7, 2008

Get wet first when showering, and then turn the shower off. Clean body all over, and turn the shower back on to rinse and remove soap. I use a lot less water this way.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 30, 2007

Here's a tip to save money on water I bet you have never thought of. Keep a dish pan in your sink and after you use the loo, but before you flush, wash your hands in the sink, (over the dish pan) and use that water to flush with.

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By 2 found this helpful
June 9, 2016

Hey all. I don't have the option to save a lot on all my utilities, but I have learned to save a lot on my water.

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By 0 found this helpful
October 15, 2008

I use a 4 quart ice cream pail to catch the cool water while waiting for the water to get hot to take my shower. I usually have a full pail and use this water to water my plants.

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By 0 found this helpful
March 27, 2009

To save water when flushing your toilet, remove the tank lid and put a brick into the tank. This replaces some of the water that would normally go down the drain. In time you will notice a slight reduction in your water bill depending on use.

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October 15, 2012

To save water, empty the back of your toilet and put a 2 litre bottle into the back filled with water. When you flush, it will use less water. I did this in the washer as well, it worked for smaller loads.

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By 1 found this helpful
August 30, 2011

To save water in your commode tank, if you have one of the bigger tanks. Fill two quart sized canning jars full of water. Take tank lid off, and flush the toilet. Right away, put the two filled jars in the corner of the tank, so as not to interfere with with the flapper and other working parts. The jars can only touch tank walls.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 12, 2007

With the drought conditions in many parts of the country, begin to conserve water even if your state hasn't been affected. If it's yellow, let it mellow, bathroom-wise. Turn off the water while brushing. Use gray water for the lawn and plants.

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March 31, 20050 found this helpful

Since we are on a well and not city water my husband is always trying to save wear on our pump. He purchased a special shower head that you turn off after you get wet and are soaping up or shampooing.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 24, 2011

One great way to save water is from your faucets. By keeping a big bucket handy you can catch enough to water quiet a few plants instead of letting it go down the drain. When on water restrictions, this really comes in handy.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 22, 2009

We have an instant on demand water heater, so while waiting for the cold water to run out of the pipes, instead of just letting it run, I put my flower watering pots on the counter and fill them until the water gets hot.

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March 16, 20050 found this helpful

To save on water take showers, not baths. A five minute shower will use about 7.5 gallons of water, while filling a bathtub can use up to 20 gallons.

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February 14, 20000 found this helpful

Fill a one liter bottle with water and place in your toilet tank. You will save a liter of water every time you flush.

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By 0 found this helpful
September 7, 2011

There is a rule in my home. "Do NOT flush the toilet for just urine." When someone has a BM then we flush, otherwise not. We put the toilet paper in the trash and take it out everyday. It really saves on the amount of water used.

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August 31, 2011

Put rocks in plastic bottles. Place the bottles inside the back of your toilet so that they take up space, and the water fills the tank faster. By doing this, you use less water to fill the toilet tank and save $!

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By 0 found this helpful
August 29, 2011

I changed my washer to a front-loader; buying it when it was on sale. I am not only saving money on water and getting cleaner clothes, but I also got a rebate from my utility.

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By 0 found this helpful
June 3, 2011

I use my dehumidifier water to flush the toilet. I was a little hesitant to use the water for my plants (although it may be completely fine). So, I decided every time I have a full bucket, I would bring it up from the basement and use it to flush!

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

September 23, 20050 found this helpful

Tips for saving water. Post your ideas.

Answers

April 22, 20050 found this helpful

While doing your laundry, try adding your liquid fabric softener at the correct time. By running the rinse cycle over, you'll be wasting 10 more gallons of water.

By Terri H.

Editor's Note: If you don't have a dispenser in your machine, set a timer so you don't miss the rinse cycle.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By guest (Guest Post)
April 22, 20050 found this helpful

Another hint is to invest in a Downy ball, they cost a couple of dollars and then you add it when loading the washer and don't have to worry about missing the rinse cycle!!!
`breeanasmommy

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April 23, 20050 found this helpful

You can also get a small spray bottle and put liquid fabric softener in that. Rather than having to dash to the washing machine to put the fabric softener in at the correct time, use a wash cloth or rag, spray the fabric softener on the wash cloth -- about six squirts works well, and place the wash cloth with fabric softener on it in the dryer with the clothes. You use less fabric softener that way, still get the results, and save yourself considerable stress. Incidentally, most fabric softeners hamper the absorbency of towels. Do not use fabric softener on things like polar fleece or children's pajamas -- especially the sleep sacks for very young children. Fabric softener contains agents that remove the fire retardent in children's pajamas, and cause fabrics like polar fleece to become flammable.

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September 23, 20050 found this helpful


  • Keep an empty gallon jug near the kitchen sink, and pour any leftover water from cooking or drinking into it. Once the jug is full, use the water on plants in the garden or home. House plants should be watered in the evening to reduce loss to evaporation.

  • Install water saving shower heads, faucets, etc., and for long-term savings, a low-flush toilet.

  • When you are waiting for hot water to warm up put a watering can under the faucet. Once full use it for gardening. Place a bucket in your shower to catch water that is wasted while you wait for it to warm up.

  • Mulch around plants with grass clippings, compost, straw or ground bark. Mulch will hold moisture in the soil and reduce evaporation. Overtime, mulching will increase your soil's water holding capacity.

  • Don't leave the water on while you are brushing your teeth. Turn it off after rinsing your toothbrush and wait to turn it on again when you need to rinse the sink and brush when you are done.

  • Take dirty water from bird baths, flower vases, or pet dishes and reuse on potted plants.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
September 25, 20050 found this helpful

What i do too save on water is when i take a shower i put the plug in the tub. Then when i am done i carry the water out in buckets too water my plants & garden. I do the same thing when i do the dishes. I know it might sound gross but the plants just thrive on it & save you a lot of money.

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September 26, 20050 found this helpful

Ok I love to save $, the earth etc. only I learned a horrible lesson in San Francisco during a drought.
I was living there with my aunt we were asked by
water co. to volunteer cutback on water we did this for 4 months. It was tough I ended up cutting my long, thick hair as my aunt set timers for showers!
Long story short we did great and neighbor was a water pig, washing his car outside on driveway watering concrete. Well after our 4 months the water co. audited water useage and the water pigs who used more GOT MORE alloted water and if we went over our meager amount we were fined so much for
overage. It was one long, horrid dry summer .
I am careful but this is one area I do not
go nuts about and our water bill is usually $16.00 a month here in Missouri.

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October 2, 20050 found this helpful

If you have an older (not water-saving) toilet, put a brick or small paver in the tank. It saves water with each flush.

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October 22, 20050 found this helpful

Sorry about this "when I was a Kid" story, but here goes. One of my fondest memories of my childhood was staying at my Grandmothers farm every summer. Monday-washday was the most fun. Gramma had a ringer washer and no hot water or bathoom in the house either. I got to help, first by chopping wood for the woodburning stove, Gramma pumped all the well water and poured it in her big boiler type pot. She only used HOT water in the ringer washer, the rinse water was cold, and it was in another tub like a ringer washer but without the wringer thingy attached. I won't go in to the rest of washing except to say that was all the water she used to wash a weeks worth of clothes. She always started with the whites and the worked her way down to the darkests and dirties, the blue jeans and work socks were last. After done washing she laided the washer hose out the porch door and the water ran in a groove alongside the house to the back yard where the garden was. It was our kids job to keep the water going down each row so that all the rows in the garden got water. We loved playing in the mud, digging trenches for the water to flow down the row and when it got to the end we had to dam it up and send it down the next row. Gramma never let the water out till all the clothes were hung on the line, as we helped with that, too. Everyone thought the food from her garden was the best, it didn't have bugs as the soap in the GRAY WATER discourage bugs. So Gramma saved water 2 ways, didn't use as much to wash the clothes and then water the garden with the very same water. Oh yes her clothes were very clean. It has been proven that the automic washer was the first thing to cause miss use and water waste. I am only 57, but did live in rural Montana. Now I have a water saving washer, but in dry hot times I will catch the water from it and use it to water our trees and flower plants out side.

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By guest (Guest Post)
September 18, 20070 found this helpful

Hotels are one of the greatest offenders of wasting water, they do not require from their plumber manufacturers to make water faucets capable of regulating the flow of water, forcing the guests to waste water by opening the foucet at full blast.

Let us contact congress to pass laws forcing faucet manufacturers to change the specs of their water faucet allowing users to minimise water usage. Do the same with the dish detergent manufacturers, they add too much foaming ingredients, forcing people to use more water to rinse their dishes and get all the extra foam out of the drain lines. Thank you.

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Answer this Question...

March 10, 2010

If you live in a multi-story home and your hot water heater is in the attic, you know how long it can take to get hot water to run in the kitchen sink before starting the dishwasher (which is the manufacturer's recommendation, presumably done so that the hot water completely dissolves the automatic dishwasher detergent).

I found a solution to running all that hot water, short of installing tankless water heaters on two floors! I used to fill plastic milk jugs with the water, and I would have to run at least one gallon and sometimes 1.5 gallons before the water would run hot. I'd also forget to do something constructive with the water when I was done (such as pour it into the washing machine while filling for a wash cycle).

Our washing machine is on the first floor, our kitchen is on the second, and the hot water heater is in the attic. I started filling the washer on warm wash setting. By the time it filled completely, hot water was available fairly quickly from the tap in the kitchen! And, I could wash whatever laundry I wanted in the cool-ish water in the washing machine!

Source: I couldn't believe that I actually thought of this!

By gapotter from Raleigh, NC

Comment Was this helpful? 3
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