How to Keep Your Water Bills Low This Summer

In light of this year’s record-setting temperatures, we thought it would be timely to share multiple ways to help you keep your summer water bills low.

Around Your Home:

  • Toilets are the #1 cause of undetected water leaks in the home (and resulting high water bills). Replace worn toilet flappers, and consider replacing old toilets with water-saving newer models—some even feature rebates—learn more here and here.
  • Faucets are the second most common cause of water leaks. Replace rubber washers and gaskets in your faucets, hoses and shower heads.
  • Wash large loads of laundry and full dishwashers.
  • Take showers instead of baths: a 4-5 minute shower uses roughly 10 gallons of water compared to up to 50 gallons for a bath.
  • Take shorter showers: every minute is roughly 2.5 gallons.
  • Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing teeth.
  • Use a broom or ShopVac rather than a hose to clean sidewalks, driveways and patios.
  • Save pressure washing jobs until Fall rains return.
  • Wash cars less often, and when you do, choose locations that recycle wash water.

Around Your Yard:

  • Inspect your irrigation system at least once a month while it is being used for broken parts, damage from gnawing rodents, and slow leaks—this last tip can save schools and other municipal facilities thousands of dollars every year! Unusually damp or green patches of grass are usually the first sign of a leak.
  • Limit plant watering to twice a week; apply water directly by hand or drip irrigation where possible.
  • Check how much you need to water by using a shovel, trowel, or soil corer to locate moist soil. If you find that the root zone is dry, it is time to water.
  • Water early or late in the day: Less water will be lost to evaporation than during the hot mid-day.
  • Wet and wait: Water tends to pool or run off dry soil. To help ensure the plants absorb water, briefly water the soil, wait 15 minutes, then water again deeply. This allows water to penetrate soil and seep down to roots.
  • Apply water to the roots, not the foliage: Watering the roots reduces evaporation and the risk of plant disease. Using tools that direct water to the roots—like a water wand or a drip irrigation system—will help keep water where it is most useful.
  • When designing a garden, group plants with similar water needs together, which allows you to water more efficiently. If you need to water some plants more, you can do it in one small area of your garden.
  • Pay close attention to your containers: unglazed terra cotta clay containers are beautiful, but they dry out quickly… so wherever possible, choose glazed ceramic, plastic, or other hard-material pots. Shallow containers, and small diameter containers also lose moisture faster than larger, deeper ones.