Summer usually means an increase in your water bill. Much of this is normal based on outdoor watering, running the swamp cooler and playing in the water with the kids. Here are the five top ways you can save money on your water bill without limiting your summer fun!
1. Have a plumber check for leaks
One of the biggest problems that leads to high water bills is undetected leaks. Sometimes leaks are obvious, like when your showerhead or faucet is dripping. Unfortunately many leaks can be harder to find when they are in the pipes that run through the house. Even a toilet leak can go unnoticed for long periods of time.
But what can you do about it?
Checking for toilet leaks is an easy process, but other leaky locations can be harder to find. It is a good idea to hire a professional plumber to do an “audit” of the plumbing in your home. This means that they check the entire system for leaks and damage that would otherwise go unnoticed. This audit only needs to be done once a year and is a part of TLC’s Preventive Maintenance Program.
2. Scheduling and timing when to water your lawn
Why does it matter what time you water your lawn? The two main reasons are water conservation and money savings. By watering your yard at prime watering times, you can maximize your water usage.
The Albuquerque Water Authority has created a simple “Water By The Numbers” guideline to help you know when to water. It’s a simple concept that not only saves you money, but also conserves New Mexico’s water resources.
According to “Water By The Numbers”, you should water:
- Once a week in March
- Twice a week in April and May
- Three times a week in June, July and August
- Twice a week in September and October
- Once a week in November
From the start of April to the end of October, spray irrigation systems, or sprinklers, are not allowed to run from 11 AM to 7 PM. The reason for this is that water evaporation is at its highest during these hours. Watering isn’t as effective and the water authority could fine you for water waste.
It is also a good idea to have your sprinkler system checked by a professional if you suspect it may be malfunctioning. We often see instances where yards suddenly flood with water due to a problem with the sprinkler system. You should also know where your main water shut off is located in your home in case this happens and you need to quickly turn off your water.
3. Upgrade appliances to low-flow
Low-flow appliances can save you an incredible amount of water. Advancements in technology have reduced water usage for low-flow toilets, showerheads, washing machines and more. Low-flow installations can reduce water waste in your bathroom by as much as 50%. This is promising when you think about your water bill.
TLC provides and installs low-flow hardware, including:
- Low-flow aerators for your sink
- Low-flow showerheads
- Low-flow toilets
4. Install a recirculating pump
You are probably used to waiting for hot water when you turn on your faucet or shower. This is because water is still sitting in the pipes from the last use and has most likely cooled. The hot water being pumped from the water heater has to push this cold water out. Most of us usually allow this water to run down the drain, adding to water waste and increasing our water bill.
What does this have to do with a recirculating pump? A hot water recirculating pump is installed on your water heater and returns unused hot water back to the water heater. Without cold water sitting in your pipes, you don’t have to wait for hot water. This means less waste and possibly a lower bill. Ask a professional plumber if a recirculating pump is an economical option for you and your family.
5. Convert from a swamp cooler to refrigerated air
A swamp cooler, or evaporative cooler, uses water evaporation to cool your home. It draws outside air through wet pad filters. As the air passes through the pads, the water is evaporated and cools the air. This humidified air then flows through your vents into the house and out an open window or door. It has been effective way to cool homes in New Mexico for many years.
For this evaporation process to happen, there must be water. Swamp coolers are constantly wetting and rewetting the pads as the water is evaporated. This constant water usage has the potential to increase your water bill.
Converting to refrigerated air removes the need for this water. This may be an excellent option for you and your family. However, unless you buy a high efficiency air conditioner, you may replace the water bill savings with a higher electrical bill. To determine if refrigerated air is a good option for you, download our Homeowners Guide to Converting to Refrigerated Air or ask one of our licensed technicians.
What’s the bottom line?
Your water bill does not have to be high, even with the onset of summer activities. By maintaining your plumbing, watering at the right times and being mindful of appliances that use water, you can lower your bill and help conserve New Mexico’s limited water supply.