10 Ways To Lower Your Water Bills

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Just been hit by an expensive water bill? While other utilities can often cost us more overall, water is an expense that can still have a tendency of sneaking up on people (especially given that many of us pay it in annual or bi-annual installments).

Fortunately, water bills are one of the easiest utility bills to reduce. It’s largely a case of reducing your water consumption in and around the home. Here are just several ways in which you may be able to spend less on water.

Fix any leaks

A leak could have a significant impact on your water bill. This could be anything from a dripping tap to a corroded pipe to a damaged seal on a washing machine.

Most leaks are easy to pinpoint – it could be a simple case of following the dripping sound or looking out for water damage. In other cases, a leak may require a bit of detective work to solve. A plumber should be able to help you find the source. Indications that there may be a leak besides unusually high water bills include unexplained damp, unexplained trickling sounds or low water pressure.

Upgrade old plumbing fixtures

You may also be able to reduce your water consumption by upgrading any old water guzzling fixtures. Old toilets, old washing machines and old showers could all be worth replacing.

Sites like Plumbers Stock sell modern toilets and showers that can help you to save water. You can meanwhile shop at appliance stores for energy-efficient washing machines. While buying new fixtures isn’t cheap, you’ll likely save money in the long run. This could be particularly the case if old fixtures are already starting to leak.

Don’t leave the tap running

Do you leave the tap running while brushing your teeth? Or do you leave it running while doing the washing up? If so, you could be wasting unnecessary water.

You only need to run a tap while rinsing your brush. As for doing the washing up, it’s much more economical to fill a bowl with water and wash all your utensils in this bowl rather than to wash each utensil under a running tap. This can be a hard habit to kick, but could save you some money.

Buy a dishwasher

On average, most people use up more water when washing dishes by hand than they do when using a dishwasher. As a result, these appliances can be worthy investments.

A decent dishwasher should be able to clean all its contents with one cycle. Some machines have economy settings, but these may not always provide a thorough clean. You can find guides at sites like Expert Reviews that list the best dishwashers on the market.

Certain utensils such as pots and pans may still benefit from being soaked in hot water to get rid of tough food debri. It’s best to leave pans to soak immediately after cooking so that food has less of a chance to harden up.

Wash full loads

In order to reduce water consumed by your washing machine, make sure that each load is full. If you’re only washing half loads, you’ll be having to use your washing machine twice as much to get through all your laundry.

Don’t worry too much about separating colors – it’s a good idea to separate whites and to be careful with new clothes (they’re more likely to run), but otherwise most colors won’t affect each other.

It is possible to overload a washing machine, but generally this involves stuffing it until nothing else will fit. Fill up the drum, but don’t try to squeeze clothes into it like a suitcase.

Shower more, bath less

You can also save water by taking less baths and more showers. The average person uses 30 gallons when filling a bathtub, while the average 10 minute shower uses up no more than 20 gallons.

If you prefer longer showers, then baths may be more economical. However, for most people showering uses up less water.

Avoid ironing

If you do a lot of ironing, you could be consuming water every time you fill it up (although admittedly not a lot in the grand scheme of things). Ironing isn’t always necessary – if you hang up clothing to dry immediately after washing, you can usually prevent most creases from setting in. Besides, ironing is a chore that most people don’t want to do anyway. So why do it?

Use your vegetable water

Most of us chuck away the excess water when boiling or steaming vegetables, however there are times when it could be reused. Vegetable water makes a great base for broth and it can even be used to cook pasta in straight after, helping to add flavor.

There’s also the option of letting it get cold and using it to water plants with – it will be full of nutrients that could benefit your shrubs.

Harvest rainwater

When it comes to watering your lawn and plants, you can save a lot of money on water by harvesting rainwater. While you shouldn’t drink rainwater without purifying it first, it can be ideal for watering plants with and will save you using your mains water supply.

You can collect water by using a rain barrel. Many of these have taps attached from which you can fit a hose or simply fill up a watering can.

Consider recycling greywater

It’s possible to re-use waste water from your taps and shower for toilet flushing. This could help to save you a lot of water and a lot of money. Fitting a greywater recycling system isn’t cheap so this is definitely a long-term investment, but one that could be well worth looking into if you plan to stay in your home for the foreseeable future.

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Don’t Get Mugged By A Muggy Home

In the summer, dealing with the heat is bad enough. You don’t need moisture coming in the air, making the home musty, muggy, and all around unpleasant. If your home is also home too much moisture, not only can it make relaxing hard and sleep impossible. It makes it a lot harder to cool the home, meaning your energy bills are going to go up, too. You might complain about robbery in your bills, but when you’re being held up my moisture in the home, that’s a sign you really need to do something about. So, what’s to be done?

Photo by bstad

Peek at those leaks

One of the greatest sources of humidity in the home, as well as a cause of many other dangers besides, are leaking pipes. If you’ve spotted a leak in the home, you need to get it fixed as soon as possible. Not all leaks are quite so easily spotted, however. For that reason, it’s a good idea to make the occasional investigation of hidden leaks, especially if you’re dealing with more humidity than expected or catching a musty smell in the home. Beyond the pipes and faucets, you need to look at things like moisture building between tiles because of deteriorating grout and leaks in the toilet flange, where a poor connection between toilet base and the pipes can eventually cause destruction and floors in the home.

Your best friend

Naturally, when it comes to dehumidifying the home, then a dehumidifier obviously makes sense. There are a lot of varieties you can get, too. For instance, there are one-time use dehumidifiers you can get for relatively cheap to get rid of mugginess after having dealt with an initial use. If it’s a recurring or constant problem, however, then you want a tool that can target the rooms in most need at any time. To that end, you should be looking at portable dehumidifiers. One of these can cost anywhere from $40 to well in the triple digits, so you want to check out the essential features and make sure that any budget brands you choose still carry them.

Photo by triosolution1

AC ASAP

Improving airflow in the home is going to help disperse any moisture in the air, so it’s obvious that your air conditioning has a huge role to play in fighting that humidity. However, moisture can also cause problems to air conditioners. Condensation can build, with leads to more dust and allergens being trapped in it and also dispersed through the home. It also makes it a lot less efficient. But condensation building in air conditioners can also be a serious health risk, leading to respiratory diseases. You also need to dehumidify and clean your AC at regular intervals. That includes changing the air filter every month without fail.

Become a fan of fans

A lot of people have the misconception that fans aren’t as important to airflow as AC. They may not be as powerful as cooling down the entire home. However, they are a lot more efficient and do a great deal at dispersing heat as they rise. When you’re looking to lower energy bills, then relying on a Casablanca ceiling fan and even smaller portable fans can do a great deal in improving the airflow of the home. They’re still great at keeping their local area cool. When you have humidity building up in a single room, then leaving the ceiling fan on can tackle it without the costs of leaving the AC on in the whole home.

Photo by congerdesign

Kill the clutter

Clutter is never your friend. Not only is it visibly messy, it also has a big effect on the environment in the home. For one, air flow is decreased thanks to more objects blocking its path, meaning that any attempts to cool down the home or shift humidity are going to be harder. But clutter also creates a lot of corners and small spaces. In these spaces, dust, and moisture gather, increasing the overall mugginess of the room. Beyond tidying up the home, you should also think of restyling it for the summer. Putting some of your furniture in storage for the moment and changing from things like heavy curtains to slim sun-blockers not only improves chances of getting rid of humidity, it also gives the home a clean, minimalist feel that works well in the summer light. This will be especially useful in the messy bedroom, where that extra mugginess can make it impossible to sleep.

Follow the nose

Never ignore the smell of damp, mold, or mildew. It might be something as simple as a t-shirt that didn’t dry properly, but it can be something a lot worse. It can be a great help in indicating sources of moisture such as leaks, water build-up, the beginnings of drywall rot and more. But even when you solve your muggy problems, you will find that bad smell clinging to the room like a, well, bad smell. Clean any surfaces affected by that smell. Give all fabrics a heavy wash and throw them out if that doesn’t work. After, bleach and water on the hard surfaces can rid you of the smell. Just make sure you open a window so there’s as much ventilation in there as possible to help it dry freshly. After, odor absorbers and your dehumidifier can work their magic.

 

Photo by tookapic

Build less moisture

There are also a lot of little changes you can make in your lifestyle to stop the chances of humidity building up and hanging around in the air. As mentioned above, take care of your AC but make sure you’re also cleaning any corners where moisture can build up and any ventilation grates in the house. Summer isn’t the time to dry clothes on radiators or frames indoors, so hang them outside. Perhaps one of the most helpful changes you can make is starting to take shorter showers. Even if you have an extractor and keep the window open after a wash, showers leave a lot of moisture lingering in the air.

Of course, the lengths you need to go to in fighting humidity in a muggy home depends on the weather. But the tips above can make it a lot easier to manage no matter how the day is out there.

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