How much water does your family use? If you aren’t quite sure, you’re not alone. Many people don’t notice if their water usage fluctuates unless their bill increases significantly.
Water is an important part of our daily lives, but it’s usually predictable. The average American family uses about 300 gallons of water a day and spends about $1100 a year on water.
When your water usage jumps up, it could mean many things. An unusually high water bill is often caused by a leak, but it could also be a seasonal fluctuation. Discovering the cause could help you prevent more expensive costs in the future.
Seasonal changes in water use:
- Did you fill or top off your swimming pool?
- Are you watering your lawn more often?
- Is your water-cooled air conditioner working overtime in high heat?
- Has your family been home more (such as holidays or summer breaks) and therefore using more water?
Signs of leaks or other plumbing issues:
- Do you have a leaking toilet or one that continues to run after flushing? (A continuously running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons a day!)
- Do you have any wet areas around pipes in your crawlspace?
- Is your water heater leaking?
- Is your water softener cycling repeatedly?
- Is there a dripping faucet? Are there any wet spots under sinks?
- Are there any unusual wet spots in your yard?
If you find a small leak, if possible, turn off the shutoff valve and call a professional.
However, sometimes the cause is not obvious. Increases in water usage should never be ignored because even small plumbing leaks can waste up to 20 gallons of water per day. That adds up! Your best bet is to call a plumbing professional to make sure it’s not something serious.
Once you’ve ruled out a plumbing leak, there are still lots of things you can do to reduce your regular water usage, such as:
- Try to avoid waiting for water to cool or heat from the tap. The average home wastes 9,000 gallons of water per year while waiting for warm water to come out.
- Check your water pressure. Plumbing leaks are often attributed to water pressure above 80 PSI.
- Put aerators on sink faucets to reduce water flow without reducing water pressure.
- Try a low flow showerhead that can save an average family $135/year in water costs.
- Have your water heater drained and flushed. Consider replacing it with a more efficient model.
- Install toilets that require less water to flush.
- Select native plants that require less water and minimize your use of turf grass in landscaping.
- Turn off the tap while shaving or brushing your teeth.
- Sweep sidewalks and driveways rather than hosing them off.
- Cover your pool when not being used to reduce evaporation.
- Be smart about how you use your irrigation system.
- Install WaterSense labeled fixtures and ENERGY STAR qualified appliances.
If you take any of these steps to reduce your water use, you will notice reductions in your water bill! Michael’s would be glad to assist you. Contact us today.