7 Tips to save water and your money
Saving water and saving money, two things I absolutely love.
Preserving water is so crucial, and something I think is often disregarded because it seems plentiful. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.
Why is freshwater so important?
A couple of years ago when I was in my college course about global terrorism (I know, what a fun subject), one girl gave a presentation about how water will be the biggest reason wars will be instigated in the next couple of decades.
Before she started, I thought she was insane. After she finished, I was convinced.
With 70% of the earth covered in water, it seems crazy water would be scarce. But the key thing is is that freshwater—the stuff we drink, bathe in, irrigate our farm fields with—is incredibly rare.
“Only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater, and two-thirds of that is tucked away in frozen glaciers or otherwise unavailable for our use.”
Our steadily growing population in addition to effects of climate change will put even more strain on the availability of potable water in the near future.
Before shit really hits the fan, we need to conserve as much as possible.
Price of water:
The price of water varies greatly across the US. Drought-stricken areas like California have higher water bill rates than rain-friendly states like Florida.
But according to Stastica, in 2018, the “average U.S. family of four pays about 72.93 U.S. dollars for water every month as of 2019, if each person used about 100 gallons per day.”
And while that number might not seem so shocking now, that price will only continue to increase every year. With increased water use (and a relatively steady supply of freshwater as discussed before), water prices have and will continue to rise year over year.
And since 2012, water bills have surged 31%, outpacing inflation.” continuing to make the value of water one of the most precious things.
So let’s do all of ourselves a favor and make a few changes to help save the environment and your money.
Install a more water-efficient shower
Home Water Works says that in most homes, showers are the third-largest user of water after toilets and clothes washers. And there are so many factors at play here from the pressure of the water/ flow of the showerhead, and length of the shower.
Well, I guess that’s just two factors. But they really do add up.
For a standard showerhead, 2.5 gallons of water are used each minute (gpm). Take a 10-minute shower and that’s 25 gallons of water used.
It’s actually estimated that an average American family uses some 40 gallons of water per day in the shower.
Big ole yikes.
There are two alternatives:
Standard low-flow showerhead
Buy a \$8 low flow (1.25 gpm) shower head from Amazon. I’ve used similar kinds before and they worked fine.
It might not be super luxurious but it gets the job done.
But the second alternative is something a little more luxurious: Nebia by Moen.
Nebia by Moen low-flow rain shower
This San Francisco-based shower start-up Nebia released their third ultra-efficient shower system in collaboration with Moen, a leader in the shower industry.
What makes the Nebia by Moen shower so awesome?
A couple of different reasons:
- Nebia by Moen provides 2X the coverage of a standard shower
- And it saves up to 45% of water while doing so
- This is by far their most accessible shower yet starting at just \$160 on Kickstarter
It’s truly the best of all worlds.
Nebia by Moen is a luxurious and ultra water-efficient rain shower shower system produced in collaboration between Nebia, a San Francisco-based shower start-up, and Moen, a leader in the shower industry.
Most other luxury rain-style shower heads like this one from Amazon use 2.5 gallons per minute or 25 gallons of water for your typical 10 minute shower. Nebia by Moen, however, uses 1.35 gpm if you use just the rainshower head (FYI the wand uses 0.4 gpm.)
This means that if you take a 10 minute shower with a regular 2.5 gpm shower, it would take you 18 minutes to use the same amount of water using Nebia by Moen without the Wand, or 14 minutes to use the same amount of water with the Wand on.
So essentially that means I can justify taking a hot and longer shower every once and a while and still know that I’m doing my part for the environment, which is amazing.
What I also love about Nebia is that you not only save water but also $ on your heat and water bills. I used the calculator on their website and found out I’ll be saving $30.05 per year on my water bill, which equates to 40,296 glasses of drinking water and 9.3 days of heat for the average home!
Wondering about installation?
Nebia claims that the installation is quick and easy. I’m not going to lie, I was skeptical at first having never installed a shower head before.
However, after I removed my old shower arm and nozzle, it took me only about 15 minutes to assemble and install it. And I did it all by myself!
Instructions were super clear, the parts were easy to put together, and attaching it to the shower wall was super simple.
One other thing I wanted to note was how adjustable this shower head is. I’m 5’8’’ so sometimes I struggle with showers heads being too short.
You can adjust the height of Nebia by Moen just by sliding the arm up and down. And you can tilt the rain shower head, so you can have the rainshower experience, or more of a traditional angle (which I use when I don’t want to wash my hair.)
As of writing this, they have a Kickstarter campaign running until February 28 , where you can get early access to the product at its best-ever price! Find out more about this awesome shower system here.
Look at that tilt!
Take Shorter Showers
The average American shower water usage is 17.2 gallons with the average shower length being 8.2 minutes. That means on average, one minute in the shower will waste 2.09 gallons of water (which is pretty much on par with the data from above)!
And that doesn't even account for how much electricity is used to heat up the water in the first place.
An easy way to save water and save money on your water bill is to cut down on how long you're in the shower.
Even if you have a water-efficient shower, you can still save a ton of water cutting your shower a minute short every couple of days.
And if you don't have a water-efficient shower, cutting back on time will undoubtedly save you a ton of \$ on your water bill.
Low flow toilets
In older homes, you're more likely to run into single-flush, water-inefficient toilets. These only have 1 flush for both liquid and solid waste. At around 5 gallons per flush, trips to the bathroom can really add up your water usage and bill.
You don't need to splurge on a new low flow toilet, dual-flush toliet to make it more water-efficient. (But you certainly can if you have the dough!)
Instead, you can put an inch or two of sand or pebbles inside each of two plastic bottles. Fill the bottles with water, screw the lids on, and put them in your toilet tank, safely away from the operating mechanisms. But be sure at least three gallons of water remain in the tank so it will flush properly.
Repurpose old water
Leave a cup of water out for a couple of days? Don’t toss it down the drain.
Instead, repurpose it and water your plants with it or wash your car or bike!
There's no point in not putting 'old' water to use. You can even just go outside and fling it on some trees or a bush.
Use your dishwasher
This one can seem counterintuitive because dishwashers seem to run for a long time and appear to use a lot of water (or at least that's what I thought).
But, if you have a newer, more efficient dishwasher, it is actually better to use that than handwashing your dishes!
But on average, getting dishes clean in the sink can use up to 27 gallons of water per load.
"An Energy Star certified dishwasher can use as little as 3 gallons per load (around 11 liters), according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In fact, an Energy Star certified dishwasher can save almost 5,000 gallons of water per year."
So if you have a newer dishwasher, put it to use.
Turn the faucet off when brushing your teeth
If you keep the faucet running while brushing your teeth, what are you doing?!?
If you brush your teeth for only a minute, twice a day, you can be wasting about 5 gallons of water per day.
That adds up to 140 gallons of water wasted a month, or 1,680 wasted gallons per year.
Do the earth and your water bill a favor and turn off the tap.
Fill up your clothes washer
A washing machine will use the same amount of water per wash no matter the amount of clothes inside. Instead of running two half-full machines, save up enough laundry and do one full one.
Not only will this save you money on your water bill, but if you’re paying to use a machine it can save you \$2.50 per load not used. Also, it saves you time! More time to lay in bed watching Youtube videos…. Or maybe that’s just me?
Wrapping it up
Overall, just being mindful of water use can make a huge difference. I find that for myself, after I realized the importance of water conservation, I was a lot more careful about how I use it. While I'm not perfect (I still like to take a long, hot shower every once and a while), I treat those instances like... treats and I value them a lot more.
And I think that with this respect for nature and water comes more mindful practices which will benefit us all <3
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Hi, I'm Taylor
Amateur adult. Zero waste zealot. Personal finance fiend. Spicy food supporter. I’m an mid 20’s gal living in Denver, Colorado. My love of the outdoors has cultivated my zero waste lifestyle, which inadvertently fueled my passion for personal finance. Cheers to everyone interested in lessening their footprint while growing their wallet!