In today's economy, nearly every homeowner is looking for ways to save money. One of the best ways to gain long-term savings is to lower your utility bills. Luckily, today's technology can give you the opportunity to dramatically reduce your water and sewer bills without any noticeable change in lifestyle. Read on for four creative and inexpensive ways to help lower these bills while also conserving water and natural resources.
#1 -- Install low-flow shower heads, faucets, and toilets.
One of the easiest and least expensive ways to reduce your water consumption is to reduce the amount of water flowing from your faucets and appliances -- much of which is wasted. Low-flow shower heads and faucets operate by using a thin screen which spreads the water over a larger surface area. This results in a spray pattern that is nearly indistinguishable from standard shower heads, while using substantially less water.
Low-flow toilets use only 1.6 gallons of water per flush, compared to 3.5 gallons or more for traditional toilets. Because of their reduced water usage and the high number of flushes per day for the typical household, low-flow toilets can save the average homeowner up to $100 per year in water and sewage bills.
#2 -- Develop a grey water recycling system.
Grey water -- the non-potable water used for flushing toilets, and produced by washing dishes and doing laundry -- generally goes straight into the sewer. But this water can be used for outdoor applications, such as watering lawns and gardens or washing cars. Recycling grey water serves a dual purpose: allowing you to conserve sewer usage while also conserving water usage by re-using water for gardening or other outdoor purposes.
Creating a grey water recycling system is simple and inexpensive. It can be accomplished simply by putting a bucket on the floor of the shower as you shower or turning off the water supply to your toilet (and using shower water to flush). If you'd like a less labor-intensive way to recycle grey water, you can enlist a plumber to help re-route a few pipes and provide you with a constant supply of grey water.
#3 -- Consider a tankless or on-demand water heater.
Another way to conserve both water and electricity usage is to install a tankless hot water heater. Unlike traditional water heaters, which keep a constant supply of hot water at the ready, tankless heaters operate on demand -- so that they only create as much hot water as you need at the moment. Most of these water heaters can create enough hot water for all purposes (laundry, dishwashing, or taking a bath or shower) while reducing overall water consumption.
#4 -- Consider installing a compost toilet.
One of the more "extreme" ways to conserve water and sewer usage is to replace your traditional or low-flow toilet with a composting toilet. Compost toilets are similar to the toilets used in some public parks or rest areas and use an anaerobic decomposition process in lieu of flushing water. Once solid or liquid waste has been deposited, users will sprinkle sawdust or wood chips into the toilet bowl and leave the rest of the process to Mother Nature.
Like other types of composted materials, the "product" of a composting toilet is dramatically reduced in both size and smell from its original source. Many users of compost toilets have commented on the lack of bathroom odors present or indicated that they never would have guessed the home did not possess a manual flush toilet. The resulting compost provides a great fertilizer for gardens and lawns, saving additional money.
If you're interested in reducing your monthly bills, you may wish to start small -- at the beginning of the list -- and work your way down as time, desire, and finances permit. Call a professional plumber to help you get started. You can begin your search on sites like http://www.smedleyservice.com.