6 Devices to Cut Water Costs

cut water costsWater is the new electricity. Can you believe that my water bill was actually higher than my electricity bill last month? No joke. So, as you can imagine, I am making some big moves in order to cut water costs in my life.

My goal: To cut my water bill in half!

So here are the devices I am installing in my house in order to make sure my H20 usage drops precipitously.

1. Low flow toilet. I just recently changed the toilets in both of my bathrooms for these. Your first move to save water should be changing your commodes out for the low flow kind. Toilets are the likely culprit for syphoning most of your agua. Stats show that 25-30% of your water is being drained through your inefficient porcelain throne. I did the installation myself and it really wasn’t that bad. If you’ve been reading this site for any length of time you know that my DIY skills are incredibly limited, so I promise, you too can install your own toilet (you’ll need some help with the lifting phase though).

The link above is for a mono flush model. You’ll be using 1.28 gallons with every flush. If you are interested in a dual flush model this one from home depot is very highly rated by Consumer Reports. Both toilets are under $100 and many local water departments offer consumer rebates for switching over to a low flow toilet. My total price for 2 new toilets that will save water and money every month was $0. Gotta love that.

Side note: Costco has a decent looking dual flush model for only $85 if you can find it – there are no Consumer Reports ratings on that one. One of the many Costco perks — if you’re a member.

2. Low flow showerheads. I have just ordered my new low flow showerhead but haven’t yet installed it. Once again though, showerheads are easy to put in yourself. If the toilet sounds daunting, this is something you can try first. And once again, a small investment will save you big over time. Here are a few options:

Niagra 1.75 – This is the model I will be trying out. It isn’t the lowest flow option out there, but it looks like a good balance of water saving and good flow – and it looks decent too. It will use roughly half of what an average model uses. Less than $20 means it should pay for itself in just a few months.

Niagra 1.25 – This model is for the person that wants to use the least amount of water possible. I haven’t used this but for just over $8 and with the rave reviews it gets, could be worth a gamble – at least in the guest bathroom, haha.

Pfister 1.5 – Some say this is better than the Niagra models but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

3. Shower gadgets. There are some outside of the box options that could save you some water in the shower as well. Do you ever let the water run for a minute or two before you hop in? No-one wants to hop directly into to a chilly stream. If you attach this device to your current showerhead you can wait to hop in without worry. Once the water reaches a medium-hot temperature it will cut the stream to a trickle, using almost none of your precious agua. They also sell this model that comes built in to a low flow showerhead. I’m thinking it might be an even better buy.

4. Low flow aerators. Screw a couple of these onto your sinks and you’ll be saving water with every turn of the nozzle. Once again – easy solution and installation. Are you sensing a pattern?

Another tip: when shopping for low flow items like aerators, pay attention to the reviews. Some of the models that restrict water flow the most don’t rate well and you might quickly get frustrated with the whole concept. Look for the lowest flow model that people love and you will probably end up sticking with it!

5. HE washing machine. Clothes washers are another one of the other major water-wasting culprits. They are obviously not nearly as cheap of an option as some of these others that I’ve listed, but, it could still make sense for you to make the switch.

I just bought this HE washer last week because the math came out in my favor. Here are the numbers:

With special Memorial Day sales and added coupons I was able to get my fancy new washer for $600 with free delivery. I was able to sell my 10 year old washer on Craigslist for $150. There is also a local power rebate of $50 for going to a high efficiency model. That puts my cost at right around $400. So how long will it take me to pay this off?

I should save $50 in electricity EVERY YEAR.

I should also save roughly $100 in water EVERY YEAR. Have I mentioned that water costs in my city are out of control?

HE washers also take less detergent. I figure I’ll save another $20-$30 a year on that.

It should take me just under two and a half years to recoup my costs, and after that, the savings will continue to roll in.

6. Rain Barrels. You can make one yourself for about $40. After that, keep collecting from nature’s free water source.

If you replace your water wasting devices with some new water sipping models you could definitely save yourself some money over time. Remember to check with your local power company and water provider for possible rebates that could substantially reduce your out of pocket costs. Remember when I put in my own insulation? I saved hundreds and hundreds by putting it in myself and I reap the rewards every single month. You can do the same by replacing your water devices to cut water costs – maybe even in half.

Good luck. Do you have any other major water-saving ideas?

[photo courtesy of Daily News Click]

12 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    June 04, 2013

    On reducing shower water use there’s also devices you can place on the floor of the shower that will time/reduce your showering time. Unfortunately you have to be able to watch for it. I haven’t used one because I’m fairly blind without glasses in the shower, and my landlords noted the lowest water bill they had in years, after I moved in, and them out. (The landlords are family letting us house-sit/rent their home while they do their RV retirement.)

    Also If you want rain barrels here’s a few notes, look into a mosquito treatment in the stored water, and try to place it at a high solid point in your yard (water flows downhill, so you can have water pressure, and overflow can flow away from your home)


    • Avatar
      June 05, 2013

      That sounds like a good setup you have going on Sara. Thanks for the tip on how to save more water when showering.

      And you are right on about rain barrels. You definitely want to use gravity to your advantage.


  2. Avatar
    June 05, 2013

    Another shower head feature that saves water is the ability to pause the water flow. I have have the following shower head. It’s 2.5 gpm, so it’s not as low as your Joel, but it has the ability to pause the water flow while you soap up and such. Think about all the water that is wasted while we soap up. It saves me a lot of money per year. “If my calculations are correct” :), I’m saving about $100 per year just by having switched to this shower head – yeah, I’m slow in the shower.



    • Avatar
      June 05, 2013

      The pause button for a showerhead – what a brilliant invention. Thanks for recommending that Brian.


    • Avatar
      June 20, 2013

      I found this article while doing research on how to cut my water bill too. I particularly like the idea of a pause button for the shower head. That’s innovative.


  3. Avatar
    June 15, 2013

    If you have the privacy, pee outside!

    Seriously, it saves you a flush-worth of water every single time, and helps to keep your bathroom clean.

    Also, contrary to myth, it does not harm plants (in moderation of course), but is actually beneficial!

    If you don’t believe me, just google it. I’ve been doing it for years, and have never seen any harm.


    • Avatar
      June 15, 2013

      I dig your enthusiasm Corbyn. I am of the “if it’s yellow let it mellow” perspective myself – unless company is over of course!


  4. Avatar
    July 10, 2013

    Install a timer on your water heater …. about $40 at Home Depot …. my water heater only heats water for one hour in the early morning and 30 minutes in late afternoon …. the other 22.5 hours, it is “off” …. I’ve saved a ton of money over the years

    Also, lower the temp setting on your water heater …. another big money-saver …. and you will probably never notice the difference in the temperature (unless you’re using hot tap water to brew your morning Herbal Tea)


    • Avatar
      July 11, 2013

      I’ve never even heard of that before Joe. I’m totally going to go check out a timer for my hot water heater ASAP. Thanks for the tip!

      BTW, I’ve already got the temperature set pretty low.


  5. Avatar
    August 13, 2013

    You forgot to mention the waterless urinal you installed in your bathroom.


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