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Going Green : Save on your Water Bill
Everyone is trying to go green these days and for good reason. Most of you may think that "going green" is some form of tree hugging, hippie lingo, but nothing could be further from the truth. I know when you see tips on TV that going green seems like it takes so much time and money, but it doesn't take either. There are a lot of things, such as solar panels, and energy star appliances that could cost you a lot of money. While all of these things are good ways to save money and help our environment, the truth is that the average Joe can't just go out and drop $1,000 on these things. That is why I am going to show you 5 things you can do today to change the way your water bill looks and also help our planet. If you're thinking, "My water bill is only $30 or $40, it doesn't matter that much", then you might as well mail me your money that you are wasting. I will gladly take it. With these steps, you can save $10 a month on your water bill easily. Yes that's not a lot, but like I said before, I will gladly take that $120 per year that you are throwing out the window and buy me a new outfit.
So how do we determine how we are wasting water? We have to take a look at every activity in your life that you use water for. I will outline 5 major things that everyone uses water for, show how most are wasting and show what can be done to save that extra $10 a month for a night out at the movies, a few gallons of gas, a t-shirt and etc...
While there are cheaper shower heads, my skepticism leads me to think this is a great one.
#1 Showers and Baths
Everyone takes baths and showers. The one thing you can do today to start saving a lot on your water bill and help the environment is to stop taking all those baths. Baths take a lot of water to fill. On top of that, you are basically sitting in unsanitary water after you bathe the dirt off of you. If you must have a bath, try spacing them out a little more. By not having a bath every night, it will make it more enjoyable when you actually do draw a nice warm bath. Showers are definitely the way to go. On average, when one takes a shower they use around 2/5 of the water they would have used by taking a bath. There is, however, a nifty little shower head that can save you even more than that. This shower head can be purchased at any major retail store or home supply store. The shower head features a push in cut off valve. Say you have to shave your legs or you want to lather your hair with shampoo, neither of which require water. You simply can push in the valve. When you get ready to rinse your legs or hair just push the valve back out and viola, out comes the water again. Not only will this save you a lot of water and cut down on your bill, but it will provide longer shower lengths for more people to take showers, saving you money on your electric bill also if you have an electric water heater, as the water heater has less water to try and reheat.
#2 Washing Dishes
Almost everyone nowadays has an electric dishwasher and for good reason. They save a lot of time and effort. They do, however, require electricity and large amounts of water. I know that most will keep using their dishwashers even after reading this and the only thing I can suggest for you is to wait until that dishwasher is completely full. Don't just wash half a load. By doing this, you will save more money on water and electric bills. For those that do take this advice, good for you. My best suggestion on how to save while washing dishes is the good old fashion way of the 80's, hand washing. When most people hand wash dishes, they run a whole sink full of water. This actually isn't the best method we can use. In retail stores you can find a small washing wand that houses your dish washing liquid. Whenever the button on this wand is squeezed, out comes the soap. The reason I tell you about this is because the best way to wash dishes and save money is by one at a time, without a sink full of dish water. Before I go any further, think about this. When you are washing dishes in a sink full of water, where does that debris off of the dishes go to? That's right. Straight into your dishwater, making it unsanitary to wash any other single dish in. The best way you can save money is to wash those dishes right after you finish using them. Whether it be after cooking in one, eating from one or drinking from one, you will find that if you wash them directly after use, it doesn't take but 1 or 2 minutes and you won't have a sink full of dishes. This is also better for the cleanliness of your house. Take the dish that is dirty, run a small amount of water over it, scrub it with your wand, rinse and you're done. 1 minute. By hand washing dishes you eliminate one form of energy use, electricity. By saying that, you are cutting your expenses in half if you think about it.
#3 Hot Water Heaters
Just about every hot water heater has a thermostat adjustment. Just about every hot water heater is set to the maximum thermostat. How many of us use the hottest setting of water for anything? I know I have to use a little cold water whenever I wash dishes or take a shower. A big way to save on your overall water and electric bills is to locate that thermostat. Some of them have temperature readings, while some only have a turn knob. This is a very simple thing to do. I know a lot think, "Well I have no idea how to do that". If that's the case I have you covered. How to Adjust a thermostat on a Water Heater
#4 Washing Clothes
Washing clothes is probably a lot of where most of your electricity and water bills link together because the Washer uses enormous amounts of electricity and water and we have to have clean clothes. The best ways to save on washing clothes is to limit your loads. Of course we all know we have to wash coloreds and whites separately, but we still need to try to have the largest load we can. I have seen so many people that will take one item, because that is what they want to wear on a night out, and wash it alone, knowing that they had more clothes that they could have washed with it. The reason most do this is because we see a clothes washer as a convenience. All we have to do it throw something in there, add a little washing liquid and presto, clean clothes. We often forget that no matter how large the load, that washer is going to use a certain amount of BTU. So if you ever find yourself throwing one item into the washer, go track down the rest of those dirty clothes before pulling that start knob. I have found the best way to save on washing clothes is to make out a schedule. Set one day a week for washing your clothes. Many people have at least 6 sets of clothes. By doing this you can keep a track of how often you are washing clothes and see how it affects your bills.
#5 Brushing Teeth and Shaving
Last, but not least is Brushing your teeth and shaving. Everyone brushes their teeth. For those that do it as dentists suggest, you brush twice a day. What most don't realize is the water they are wasting by leaving the faucet on while brushing or shaving. The way I grew up I was taught to sing myself the "happy birthday song" 3 times while brushing my teeth to make sure I brushed thoroughly. This takes about 45 seconds to a minute to do. If the faucet is left running that whole time, it is easily enough to fill 2-3 gallons of water. Let's say that you have a family of four. If you brush the dentist suggested times per day that equals 8 brushing intervals. 8 X 2.5 gallons of water = 20 gallons of water you are wasting every day, for a grand total of 600 gallons per month by only brushing your teeth. That's not even adding how much is wasted while shaving, which is typically the same. My suggestion for shavers is to have a cup by your vanity. Fill the cup with hot water to rinse your blade with. If you must rinse the razor with the faucet, just turn it on to briefly rinse it, then directly turn it back off. These two things can save you a lot on your water bill.