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Your hard-earned money is too precious to rinse down the drain.
In this article, I share with you 30 practical ways you can lower your water and sewer bill.
The best part?
Most of these recommendations are things you can start doing today.
Let’s dive right in!
Use the links below to navigate:
- How to Lower Your Water and Sewer Bill: Quick List
- Understanding Your Water and Sewer Bill
- What You Can Do in the Bathroom
- What You Can Do in the Kitchen
- What You Can Do Outside
- Other Ways to Lower Your Bill
If you only have a minute, here’s a quick list of the top things you can do to lower your water and sewer bill immediately.
Later in this article, I dive deeper into each of these actions (plus others) and provide helpful tips on how to get them done.
In your bathroom you can:
- Fix leaks in your toilet.
- Use a fill cycle diverter or upgrade to a low flow toilet to save water on each flush.
- Replace your toilet flapper once a year or buy an adjustable flapper.
- Install a low flow showerhead.
- Don’t take long showers or shower at the gym, avoid baths unless completely necessary.
In your kitchen you can:
- Fix leaks in your faucet and sink.
- Install a low flow faucet or a motion sensor faucet.
- Use a bowl of water instead of rinsing produce under the faucet and use small bowls for boiling.
- Use your dishwasher instead of handwashing.
- Store drinking water in the fridge to avoid running the faucet until the water is cold enough.
- Defrost food in the microwave instead of running it under the faucet.
In your yard you can:
- Install a separate water meter for your irrigation system.
- Water your lawn early in the morning or late at night.
- Make sure your sprinkler heads are properly placed and maintained.
- Turn off the sprinkler system when rain is in the forecast.
- Mow your lawn on a high setting.
- Buy a nozzle for your hose.
- Put a cover on your pool.
In your laundry room you can:
- Upgrade to an energy-efficient washing machine.
- Run the washer with full loads only.
- Skip the extra rinse.
It’s common for new homeowners to be confused when they receive their very first water and sewer bill.
What’s the difference between water and sewer charges?
Why are the sewer charges so high?
Before we get to the helpful pointers on how to lower your bill, you need to understand the different ways water is delivered to homes and how that service is billed.
There are two ways to deliver water and sewer to home:
Well and Septic System: Well and septic systems are common for homes that do not have direct access to water and sewer lines from the town. In this case, the homeowner pays for the well and septic to be drilled, inspected, maintained, and, in the case of septic, emptied regularly. Homeowners that use a well do not have to pay a monthly water or sewer bill.
Municipal Water and Sewer – More commonly, homes “on the grid” get water from the town piped into their home and drained into public sewer lines. That water is pumped in from lakes, larger wells, and reservoirs then treated by a filtration system and pumped into your home. In this scenario, homeowners pay a monthly bill that covers the cost of the actual water and the cost of draining that water into the public sewer.
If you are like most people, you are plugged into the town water and sewer system that comes with a hefty monthly bill.
This article will help you understand all of the ways you can lower that bill.
The good news—it’s easier than you think.
But first, here’s a quick overview of the bill itself.
Your water and sewer bill is made up of two parts
Part 1 is water usage, which is simply the amount of water you use.
Part 2 is sewer or wastewater, which is the fee that covers the cost of treating the water that goes down your drains for future use.
Both the water and sewer costs are based on usage. The average water and sewer bill in the U.S. is $70 a month ($840 per year), but that varies significantly depending on family size, usage habits, season, and geography.
30 Practical Ways to Lower Your Water and Sewer Bill
Just use less water, right?
Well, that is easier said than done.
I always thought I was doing the best I could, but after implemented several of these tips, I was able to cut my bill in half.
Don’t worry; I am not going to tell you to stop flushing your toilet or only shower twice a week.
These are simple and practical tips that will help you save money each month by being smart about water usage in your home.
A good portion of your water and sewer costs comes from your toilet, shower, and bathroom sinks.
Here are some simple things you can do to minimize wasted water—and your bill.
Make sure your toilet isn’t leaking
A leaky toilet could cost you hundreds of dollars a month. Toilet leaks can be hard to notice by merely inspecting the toilet; however, if you have a toilet leak, it will be painfully evident in your bill. Make sure you call a plumber and fix it right away. If your bill has been high for months and you are not sure if the cause is a toilet leak, run this simple test outlined by wikihow.com.
Buy a fill cycle diverter for your toilet
A fill cycle diverter is a small plastic tool that connects to the fill tube inside your toilet. As its name suggests, it diverts some water that would normally go into the bowl into the holding tank, conserving that water. It reduces the amount of water in the bowl but does not impact the flushing power or the amount of water in the tank (the tank will fill up to a certain point and stop filling). Fill cycle diverters are super affordable and will give you a positive return on investment immediately. This is the fill cycle diverter we use, which you can purchase on Amazon here.
Put a weighted water bottle in your toilet’s tank
Another trick that has a similar effect is to fill the bottom of a water bottle with rocks, then fill it up with water and place it in your toilet’s tank. By placing the water bottle in the tank, less water is needed to fill it up, and less water will be used for each flush. You can experiment with different size bottles to make sure you are getting the optimal amount of water per flush.
Upgrade to a dual flush or a low flow toilet
Dual flush toilets are more common in hotels and public restrooms, but they are gaining popularity in homes. They are more expensive than most standard toilets but are worth the investment. I don’t have one yet, but if I ever redo my bathroom, I will strongly consider investing in a dual flush toilet to conserve water.
Similarly, you could upgrade to a newer, low flow toilet that uses less water per flush compared to older toilets.
Replace your toilet flapper once a year or buy an adjustable flapper
A toilet flapper is a lid that keeps the water in the tank from flowing into the bowl. When you flush your toilet, the lever you press opens the flapper and allows the water to flush. If the flapper is damaged or faulty (which can happen over time), water will leak into the bowl, slowly causing your bill to skyrocket. As a household best practice, replace your flapper every year, so you don’t run the risk of unnecessarily wasting water. This is the flapper that I use, it works great, and you can buy it for cheap on Amazon.
Low flow showerhead
Install a low flow showerhead. Older showerheads are not good at conserving water. Investing in a low flow showerhead could save you hundreds in the long run. The one we use is by High Sierra, which is very affordable and available to buy on Amazon at this link.
Don’t take long showers
I enjoy a nice long and hot shower like everyone else, but shaving off a few minutes each day will help lower your bill in the long run. If you lose track of time, buy a shower timer (link to Amazon) and make sure you are out before the 5-minute mark.
Shower at the gym
Instead of sacrificing your precious shower time, shower at the gym. You’re paying an arm and a leg to lift their weights and run on their treadmill; you might as well get your money’s worth and use their facilities too.
Don’t take baths
I’ve never been a bath person, but I realize some people really enjoy taking regular baths. If you are looking to save on your water bill, try to stick to quick showers at home and think of baths as an occasional luxury. Another idea is to find a gym with a jacuzzi.
Don’t keep the water running when you brush your teeth or shave
There is absolutely no reason to keep water running when you brush your teeth, so just stop. For shaving, plug the drain and fill the sink with hot water, use that water to rinse your razor.
The Kitchen accounts for about 20% of indoor water use. These simple tips will help you conserve water during cooking and cleaning.
Fix faucet and sink leaks immediately
Starting with the most critical item, fix leaks immediately. I know how annoying it is to schedule and pay for a plumber to come to your house, but letting even small leaks linger will cost you in the long run.
Install a low flow faucet or a motion sensor faucet
Most of the time, you don’t need as much water pressure as you think to wash pots and pans. There are several innovative faucets on the market that will help you conserve water. I love the idea of a motion sensor faucet like they have in public bathrooms but have never seen it in a home. You can start that trend!
Use a bowl of water instead of rinsing produce under the faucet
If you are making a big salad or prepping a bunch of fruits or veggies, fill up a bowl and reuse the water to wash each item as you go.
Use small bowls for boiling
If you’re boiling two eggs, don’t break out your stockpot. This falls into the common sense category.
Use your dishwasher
Contrary to many people’s beliefs, washing your dishes in the dishwasher uses significantly less water than hand washing in the sink. In fact, the average dishwasher only uses 4.2 gallons per cycle, and Energy Star certified models use only 3.2 gallons per cycle.
Think about all the water it takes to wash one dish by hand. The only scenario where the dishwasher is less efficient is when you run it half full. Make sure it is loaded at full capacity before you turn it on.
Keep drinking water cold in the fridge
You’d be surprised at how much water you waste running the faucet for 10 seconds while you wait for the water to run cold. Use a pitcher with a built-in filter like this one from Brita (link to purchase on Amazon) and keep it in the fridge, so you always have cold, clean water to drink.
Defrost food in the microwave
Don’t run warm water over your frozen meat. Not only does that waste water, but it can also start to cook the meat if the water is too hot, gross. Instead, use the defrost setting on your microwave, or better yet, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
If you frequently water your garden or have an irrigation system watering your lawn on a regular schedule, your yard can quickly become a money pit.
Here’s what you can do.
Install a separate water meter for your irrigation system
Overuse or misuse of your irrigation system can quickly skyrocket your water and sewer bill.
Here’s a quick story, so you don’t make the same mistake I did.
I moved into my house in June several years back, and I wanted to keep the lawn looking thick and green. So I set the irrigation system to run three days a week for 20 minutes in each of the 7 zones.
I ran it that way for one month—and that was the last month I ever did that.
Our bill was over 500 dollars for that month, and I only live on a third of an acre. I was shocked and embarrassed because I had no idea it would be that expensive.
If you think about it, I have 7 zones, each zone has 3 or 4 sprinkler heads, and each zone runs for 20 mins.
That is like having a handful of showers running for 140 minutes straight 3 days a week…no wonder it cost a fortune!
Another issue is that we only had one water meter that measures and determines the monthly water and sewer fees.
We were paying sewer fees for the water we used through our irrigation system on the lawn, even though that water goes straight into the ground and doesn’t get drained into the sewer. What a waste!
We didn’t realize this at first, but we learned that most towns will allow you to install a separate meter that is connected only to your irrigation system. This meter measures and charges you for the water usage but NOT a sewer fee because, as I mentioned, that water goes right into the ground, not into the sewer.
Check with your local authorities to see if this is an option for you.
Long term, it will save you thousands of unnecessary sewer fees and, as a bonus, allows you to see exactly how much you are spending on watering your lawn. Insights are everything!
Water your lawn early in the morning or late at night
If you water during the day when it’s hot and sunny, the sun will evaporate the water before your lawn can absorb it.
Make sure your sprinkler heads are properly placed and maintained
Sprinkler heads break all the time and will either not work at all or spray at sub-optimal angles, costing you money. Also, over time, plants and bushes can grow right in front of your sprinkler heads, blocking or misdirecting the spray. Do an audit each year and make sure you are not burning your hard-earned money by watering the back of a plant or, even worse, the sidewalk.
Don’t water when rain is in the forecast
Just let nature do the work and save yourself some cash.
Reduce the amount of lawn you need to water
After my first month fiasco with a $500+ water bill, I was considering just paving my entire yard. I was so angry. While that is not practical, a patio or deck can help reduce the amount of lawn you need to maintain. In addition to providing you with a beautiful outdoor space to relax, grill, and entertain, they also reduce the amount of lawn you need to water. Win-win.
Mow your lawn on a high setting
If you talk to any landscape expert, they will tell you always to mow your lawn on a high setting. It is tempting to cut your grass short so that you can skip a week or two of mowing, but it will cost you long term. By cutting it at a higher setting, not only will you have a healthier and denser lawn, water will infiltrate the roots and be less likely to evaporate.
Buy a nozzle for your hose
This not only makes it easier to spray plants and bushes, but it also prevents wasted water each time you have to turn the hose on and off at the tap. This nozzle is the one I use, and it works great. (link to see details on Amazon).
Put a cover on your pool
If your pool sits in the scorching sun all day without a cover, the water will start to evaporate. A cover will reduce evaporation, and most covers also help heat your pool, another win-win.
Bring your car to a car wash
Don’t bother washing your car at home. As hard as you try, you’ll never do as good of a job as the machines at the car wash, and you’ll use gallons of water in the process. Some tasks are better off outsourced.
Upgrade to an energy-efficient washing machine
Most new, Energy Star certified machines are significantly more efficient than the old ones and come with multiple settings to maximize the job while using the least amount of water and energy. On average, regular washing machines use 19 gallons of water per load, while Energy Star certified machines use 14 gallons of water per load.
Run only full cycles
Just because your favorite shirt is dirty doesn’t mean you should run the wash with only 3 shirts and a pair of socks.
Skip the extra rinse
The extra rinse is usually unnecessary. If you are used to running it, skip it next time and compare results.
Don’t wash clothes after every use
Some items like socks and underwear, of course, wash them after each use. Jeans, sweatshirts, and sweaters can usually go at least a couple wears before washing.
Helpful Resource: Check out my guide on washing machine water usage to learn more about what you can do to save in the laundry room.
Upgrade to a tankless water heater
Before you do this, make sure you understand the pros and cons of tankless water heaters.
The initial investment is high, but you will save on both water and energy bills for years to come. Talk to a professional and understand how long it will take to get a positive return on your investment. It will likely be a shorter time frame than you think.
Thank You for Reading Our Suggestions on How to Save on Your Home Water and Sewer Bill!
What are you waiting for?
It’s time to start saving some money!
If you know of any other tips or tricks that we didn’t mention, please let us know by leaving a comment below.
If you found this article helpful, you should also check out:
- How Much Water Does a Dishwasher Use? (25 Real Examples)
- How Much Water Does a Washing Machine Use? (With 28 Real Examples)
- The Ultimate Home Maintenance Checklist (Printable)
- The Ultimate House Cleaning Checklist (Printable)
- Average Cast Iron Bathtub Weight (With 15 Examples)
- Tankless Water Heaters: 7 Pros and 6 Cons You Need to Know
- ZeroWater vs. PUR: Which Water Filter Pitcher Is Better?