High water bill? Here are 20 tips to reduce your water bill and save moneyCat McCarthy
Reduce Your Water Bill
It’s no secret the rising cost of utilities, fuel, interest rates combined with inflation and the fear of recession is making us grip our purses tighter and find other ways to either make or save money. If you’re like me, you’ll take any rebate the government gives consumers, with the latest a power saving bonus giving Victorian residential energy consumers a handy $250 when comparing energy providers.
When you get your water bill, it looks like a complicated matrix of numbers, fees and charges. Your bill (if you live in West Melbourne, its from Greater Western Water) is made up of both water usage charges and other fees. You can’t do anything about the fees, but you can reduce your water usage charges. Both usage and non-usage charges from Greater Western Water consist of the following:
Water Network Charge – fixed, quarterly fee for water supply network maintenance
Water Usage Charge – actual cost of water consumed at the residence.
Sewerage Network Charges – fixed, maintenance of sewer network, water treatment plant etc
Sewage Disposal – the wastewater you discharge to your sewer (90% of your water consumption). So, essentially you are charged for consuming and then disposing of the same water.
Parks Victoria Parks Charge – maintenance of Melbourne parks and waterways
Melbourne Water Waterways and Drainage Charge – management of waterways, drains and floodplains.
High Water Bill?
I live in Point Cook, and when I received my last water bill statement from Greater Western Water I nearly fell off my chair (it’s just lucky I’m a barefoot investor fangirl and prepay my bills!). It’s also lucky my husband is a plumber and gave me some tips on how we can, as a household, aim to minimize our water usage charges. So, here you have it – 20 tips to reduce your water bill and save you money; advice from a plumber:
Simple ways to reduce water consumption
- If you use a dishwasher, make sure it’s full! Dishwashers are only more efficient than hand washing if they are used on a full cycle.
- On the topic of dishwashers, don’t rinse the plates first (ok, this wasn’t the plumbers tip this was from the wife…) just scrape the scraps on the plate into the bin and let the dishwasher do its job.
- If you don’t have a dishwasher, make sure you use the plug in the sink when you handwash; don’t just leave the tap running. Half filling the sink will use a similar amount of water as a dishwasher.
- When you’re purchasing whitegoods like dishwashers and washing machines, choose the most energy efficient (number of stars); selecting a 6 star model over a 3 star can save you over $500 over the life of the appliance
- You can save up to $150 per year on energy costs when using your washing machine by washing on cold only (and, only wash when you have a full load!)
- Take shorter showers. I know, this one hurts as there is NOTHING better than a skin peeling, volcanic intensity hot shower on a cold day. But having either short showers or long and shallow baths will make an impact on your bill; shaving 3 minutes off your shower can save you about $200 per year
- Speaking of showers, you know that awkward moment when you are naked and waiting for the water to get hot? I like to put a bucket under the water flow and save the wasted water while it’s getting up to temperature, then when it cools, I pour it over my garden or on my indoor plants (the ones I can keep alive…).
- Turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth. An oldie, but a goodie.
Minimise water usage in the garden
- Plant native plants in your garden, indigenous to the area. Some plants wont ever need a water and can thrive on rainfall alone saving you (and the environment)
- Only water your garden in the morning or at night so evaporation from the sun is reduced (just the morning if you have fungal problems in your garden)
- Mulching your garden reduces water consumption as it retains water in the ground around the plants, we get ours from All Green Nursery in Hoppers Crossing.
- If you’re lucky enough to own a pool, use a cover when you aren’t using it to stop up to 97% of evaporation that can occur
- If you wash your car with a hose, use a trigger nozzle so there isn’t a continuous flow of wasted water. Wash on the lawn if you can.
Water efficient plumbing solutions
- Check for plumbing leaks. If your bill is higher than normal, and your meter is ticking over even when nothing is in use, you may have a leak. This handy video will help you check your meter, and if you think you have a leak you’ll need a qualified plumber to perform a leak detection test. Water leaks can cost you $100’s more on your water bill every year, and $1000’s in damage if left ignored.
- Fix dripping taps. A slow drip can use an extra 800 Litres of water each year, and can be fixed by a McCarthy Plumbing Group plumber in under an hour.
- Install water efficient plumbing fixtures, like water saving showerheads, to limit the amount of water released (this can save up to 500 Litres every day in a family home!)
- Getting a plumber to install a flow restrictor on a tap or shower can achieve similar results.
- Insulate your hot water pipes. This will decrease the amount of time your shower water will take to heat up in wintertime.
- Invest in a rainwater tank. Whilst the initial costs of plumbing in a rainwater harvesting system may be more than your water bill, it will pay off in coming years; rainwater is free and water from the tap and the charges associated with it will continue to rise. A rainwater tank saves up to 137 Litres per day according to a Swinburne University study… that’s 50,000 Litres per year saved, which is a huge reduction in both water usage and sewerage disposal charges.
- Install dual flush toilets. Did you know, getting a qualified plumber to install a dual flush system will save over 35,000 Litres of water every year?!
Well, I hope some of these tips on saving money on your water bill were helpful. Many are commonsense and unfortunately hurt a little (welp, short showers!). Reducing water consumption in your home is the quickest and simplest way to make an immediate change to your water bill, and we can always help you with installing water efficient plumbing solutions at McCarthy Plumbing Group. Give us a call today if you’re considering any of these water reducing adaptations to your home plumbing.