Saturday, October 25, 2008

Water Bill

We just got a $700 water bill for three months. My mom says that is really high and something is wrong. But we thought that at our old house.

We run the washer all day and all night, 24/7, yes its true. But (sorry to be gross) nobody around here gets a daily shower, I would say Steve and Greta take the most and neither of them lingers in there like I sometimes do. We dont have a swimming pool or a "leak"--but man o man do we run that dishwasher. 3 or 4 times a day.

So I think in the interest of flat -out-cash, I am going to go buy a huge huge stockpile of paper plates, paper bowls and paper cups. I know its bad for the Earth but so is running water, etc. Then I could wash only pots and silverware. I really want to try it for 3 months and see what happens cuz this is so bad!


Anonymous said...

hey Joy
we are a family of six (four kiddos)and your post had me digging for my water bill.( and you last one had me thinking about our groceries!)

our last bill was $97 or two months - and I definately use the most water having a 10 minute HOT shower every day and two in the winter when I'm freezing.

have you had your water meter checked to see if it is recording your consumption properly?

We use between .6-.9 M3's of water on a daily basis.

We have a dishwasher but it's a dinosaur so we have to wash all our own dishes by hand. we have tons of cheap dishes from the thrift shops. At the very least you could just buy a bunch of dishes and only run your dishwasher once when completely full.

I also put out four drinking cups each day and we have to re-use them. since we don't have milk past breakfast they don't get gross and cuts down on washing.

Rixa said...

Yes, I would be inclined to agree that that's unusually high. Even when I have a houseful of guests (anywhere from 12-26 people) showering every day, doing laundry, washing dishes, mine was still well under $70-80 per month. Something sounds suspicious. Any leaking faucets? Can you call the water company and have them verify that the meter is working correctly. I just can't see how you can use that much water. Yikes!!

Rixa said...

Oh, and dishwashers really don't use that much water. Something like several gallons each load, which is really nothing in the grand scheme of things. I don't know what to suggest other than first rule out a faulty meter.

I think if truly you do have an extremely high water consumption, the first thing to look at is buying a high-efficiency, front-loading washing machine, since they hardly use any water at all. I LOOOOOOVE my LG, which I got for $600 on sale, normally around $700. I watched Sears like a hawk and when they had their good sales (at least 15% off plus free delivery & installation) I bought it. It's one of the least expensive LG models but was one of the best on consumer reports. Well, any LG model ranked basically at the top. So, if you can find the money to invest, I think you'd see the largest savings in a washer, not so much from the dishwasher.

I agree on using the same cup for the whole day. Then you just do 1 load of cups per day, not every time someone gets thirsty.Perhaps you could assign each family member their own style/color of cup (perhaps buying fun ones at a thrift store) and that is always theirs.

Rixa said...

okay, nerdy me did a little research on water consumption:
1) Dishwashers
Energy star dishwashers use 4 gal/load.
Regular new ones use 6 gal/load.
Older dishwashers use more, possibly around 13-25 gallons/load (although that last source said "per day" not "per load" and I couldn't determine if they were figuring 1 load per day or more than that.

2) Washing machines:
Older top-loading models (the most common kind) use about 40 gallons/load.
New front-loading ones (my LG model, for example) use 10 gallons/load.

Now, other things to consider:
* Buy ultra low flow showerheads. Low-flow = 2.5 gallons/minute. Ultra low flow = 1.2 gallons/minute.

* Your toilets might be a MAJOR culprit. They are probably the old 3- or 5-gallon tank ones, rather than the new 1.6 gallon required by new government standards. You have a few options:
1) replace the toilet with a brand new water-saving one (DIY cost around $80 for one of the less expensive models in a home improvement store). Really not that expensive if you look at how much water you'll be saving each time you flush.
2) Fill your existing toilet tank with objects such as bricks to displace as much water as possible (making sure they don't get in the way of the flushing mechanisms). This won't get you as efficient as replacing the toilet, but it helps at least.
3) Don't flush every time you pee. There is a bit of "gross" factor that your kids may or may not have, but flushing only with #2 (or when the toilet gets really full of pee and TP) will save a lot of water.

Housefairy said...

Wow Rixa thank you!
We do have a front loader new washer and our dishwasher is a General Electric Nautilus. I am so thankful for your research!

The toilets geez oh petes never thought of that. FLush flush all day all night, one potty, 5 users so far.

We are gonna get a new shower head ASAP. and I am calling the city. AND the Landlord lied to us when he said the bill was "MAYBE a hundred a month".

I will not pay this bill blindly, thats for sure.

Erin, thanks for the tips! We dso run the dishwasher hwne it is completely full and that is 3 or 4 times a day, though. Its not a huge dishwasher.

Thanks so much you guys!!!!!

Anonymous said...

hi Joy
I would second Rixa's comment on the toilet flushing.

kids pee ALOT. I can't imagine what our bill would be if they flushed for every pee. Guests at our house probably don't want to know that the kids rarely flush - only for morning constitutionals.

Before company comes over, I warn the kids to flush for everything :)

you don' water your grass do you? and is your home a single family home? your water company should be able to give you a history of water consumption for your home - make sure your meter isn't supplying another residence.

Kelley said...

With the cups idea, I got tired of constantly having dirty cups this summer so I bought some cups and wrote everyone's names on them with permanent marker. I even had one for Friend #1 and one for Friend #2. The marker wore off so I'll have to do it again, but at least it helped curb the dirty cups problem.

Would it work to have different colored plates for everyone and ask everyone to wash their own plates after meals? That may be a bit much, but it might help.

Rixa said...

Yeah, if you have a new dishwasher and front-loader, then I would highly suspect toilet use to be a contributing factor, especially if it's the old kind with the big tank. Let us know what you find out from talking to the water company!

Kelley said...

So what happened with the water company?