Avoid Money Down the Drain

Avoid Money Down the Drain

by Connor Schlecht

It is another summer drought season in San Diego, but unlike previous seasons, this one comes with a spike in water prices as our reservoirs trickle to an alarming low. As a result, there have been record high water prices. Whether you pay the water bill or not, here are some simple fixes throughout your property that will maximize your water usage for this year’s drought.

Bathroom

If there was one room where water is wasted most, its the bathroom. The amount of water used just by forgetting to turn off the sink while brushing your teeth is mind-blowing. Here are some simple fixes that can be done in the bathroom that could save you a fortune in water.

  • Faucet Aerators: (average cost: $2.00) – According to EPA.gov, “Faucets account for more than 15% of indoor household water use”. That’s right, 15% of your water bill comes dripping right out of your faucet! To cut these costs, owners should invest in Faucet Aerators. These gadgets screw on to the tip of your faucet and cut back on water usage by 1.5 gallons per minute and can be used on every faucet in the house.
  • Low-flow Toilet: (average cost: $60-$200) – Regular toilets are another huge water waster. Each flush of one of these is like throwing money down the toilet, literally. To solve this, invest in a low-flow toilet. These water-efficient porcelain thrones save an average of 6.4 gallons of water per flush. Upgrade to one of these and flush your high water bills away.
  • High-Efficiency Shower Head: (average cost: $10-$20) – The last thing on your mind in the shower is the money dripping down the drain. Making the switch to a high-efficiency shower head would cut down on water usage by up to 3.5 gallons per minute. Even if you take a 10 minute shower, it would still save you 35 gallons… that’s a lot of water.
  • Kitchen

    Statistically, the room with the second most water usage has always been the kitchen. Daily acts of washing the dishes, filling up pots to cook with and running the dishwasher use up a lot of water. Here are some tips on how to cut back while still keeping your kitchen clean.

  • Wash your dishes!: The dishwasher has made life a little bit easier for everyone and the best news is, they are only going to get better. New water/energy efficient dishwashers (average cost: $500-$700) have been produced that save between 3 and 8 gallons of water per load.
  • Sink Rules: After installing your $2 faucet aerator, there a few other rules of thumb which will let you get the most out of your sink.
  • Soak pots in the sink until they are ready to be cleaned.
  • Defrost food in the fridge, not the sink.
  • Don’t let the sink run while hand washing dishes. Use one basin for washing and another for rinsing.
  • What does this switch do?: That switch is the garbage disposal, and it should be used sparingly. Instead, try composting your vegetables and other organic waste. This simple step provides fertilizer for your garden and can save you gallons.
  • Whether you are being environmentally friendly, or just trying to save a buck, these tips will cut down your water usage. One important note, California Senate Bill 407 requires that all residential properties built prior to 1994 must be retrofitted with the water saving measures listed in the bathroom section above, by Jan, 1 of 2017. Since these upgrades will be required eventually, you might as well make the switch now and save yourself a bucketful of water and headache.

    Have you noticed the recent increase in San Diego’s water rates? Share your observations and any tips that have worked for you.

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