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Watering Down Your Water Bill

By Brian S.



If you’re tired of getting soaked by your monthly water bill there are a few simple things that can be done to diminish the damage it does to your domestic budget. Statistics show the average person uses about 265 litres of water every day. In Thailand, water is measured in units with one unit equal to 1,000 litres. Therefore, each individual in your household is using roughly one quarter of a unit every day. Saving water at home does not require any significant cost outlay but does require that you alter your in-home and outdoor water use. By doing so, it’s possible to reduce your monthly water bill by 35 per cent or more.


General

Ensure each tap is closed tight after each use. Check your faucets for drips and your pipes for leaks. A small drip caused by a worn washer or faulty faucet can waste a large amount of water every day. If you can’t detect any visible leaks but feel water is escaping somewhere, check the water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the figure on the water meter is higher, then you have a leak. By installing a low-flow faucet aerator, which screws onto the bottom of a faucet you can reduce the amount of water it consumes by up to 50 per cent. A faucet aerator reduces the flow without lowering water pressure.


Bathroom

bathroomThree-quarters of household water usage takes place in the bathroom and 25 per cent of that is swallowed up by the toilet. Something everybody can do is to turn the water off while shaving or brushing your teeth.

  • If you make the switch from an old school 5.5 GPM showerhead to a newer low-flow 2.5 GPM showerhead, you’ll reduce the amount of water used while showering by 25 to 60 per cent.

  • Limit your showers to the time it takes to soap up, scrub up and rinse off. And don’t forget to turn the water of between each operation.

  • Take a five-minute shower instead of a bath and you’ll save plenty of litres.

  • Stop using the toilet as an ashtray or wastebasket. Every time you flush a cigarette butt, facial tissue or other small bits of trash, you waste a lot of water.

  • A toilet with a leaky water tank can waste a huge amount of water a day and you’ll never even know it. To find out, place a dye tablet (available from most home centres) or some food colouring in the toilet tank. Wait thirty minutes, and then check to see if the dye has seeped into the bowl. If it has, you have a leak that needs to be repaired. The flapper valve at the bottom of the tank is usually the culprit.

  • Most toilet flapper valves wear out quickly and should be replaced once a year to prevent the toilet tank from leaking into the toilet bowl. Select an adjustable flapper valve and you’ll be able to adjust the flush volume down and save water. A further saving will be realized if you install a fill cycle diverter. This inexpensive add-on diverts overflow water back into the tank during the toilet’s fill cycle.

  • It’s also possible to save water during each flush by filling two small plastic water bottles with a couple of centimetres of sand or pebbles and topping them off with water. Replace the lids and set them in the bottom of the toilet tank away from the working parts. Because the bottles displace water, the tank will use less water every time you flush.

  • If you need to replace your toilet, do so with a low-flow model.


Kitchen & Laundry Room

Don’t pre-wash dirty dishes. Scrape leftovers from the plates instead and wash the rest. Turn the faucet off while washing fruits and vegetables or better yet, wash them in a pan of clean water. If you’re using a dishwasher, don’t run a partial load, wait until it’s full. The same rule applies to the washing machine. Also a front loading washer uses 40 to 70 per cent less water than a traditional top loading washing machine.


Outdoors

  • Leaks outside the house can be just as wasteful as leaks indoors. Check the spigots and hose connections and use hose washers to keep them drip free.

  • Use a broom instead of a hose to clean walkways and driveways.

  • Washing the car requires plenty of water. Wash it less frequently or take it to a car wash. If you insist on washing your car do it on the lawn and place a trigger nozzle on the hose. Likewise for washing the dog, a bicycle or your motorbike.


Garden

  • GardenMove potted plants into the shade when the sun is at its peak and they’ll need less water. Use dirty fish tank water or water from the dehumidifier collection tank to water indoor and outdoor plants. Using a watering can instead of a hose will also save water.

  • Place rain barrels at the end of your gutter drain spouts to collect rainwater. Use the recycled water to wash your car and water plants.

  • Choose drought resistant plants and water less. Mulching the garden will reduce evaporation and allow you to water less frequently.


Lawn

  • Three centimetres of water per week is all most lawns require, and this includes rainfall. Water your lawn only when it needs it. Step on the grass. If it springs back up, it doesn’t need water. If it remains flat, it needs water.

  • Water your lawn after dusk or early in the morning so less water evaporates. If it’s rained don’t water at all. Avoid watering on windy days, as the wind will blow sprinklers off target and speed up evaporation.

  • To promote better water retention in the soil, keep the grass about nine centimetres tall. Deep soak the lawn so that the water reaches the roots. A light watering will evaporate quickly and accomplish nothing.

  • When using sprinklers, position them so the water sprays only on the lawn and garden, not paved areas. Using porous paving materials, such as brick, decomposed granite and gravel in garden patios and walkways will help keep water in the garden rather than in the gutter.