Friday, November 16, 2012

Frugal Friday: Reducing my water bill

The fight is still on! What fight you may ask? The one between me and my water bill! There is very little wiggle room in my budget and I've only allotted a certain amount for utitilies. Food has gone up so much that I've had to take any extra money and 'beef' up my grocery budget. (pun intended! *Smile)

So, here are the new tasks (and a few old ones already mentioned)  I'm doing each day to cut down our water consumption. I will get my bill in a week or so and I can't wait to see how much it has dropped. Any extra money saved will go into my 'summer water bill fund' since we'll have a lot more watering to do in the yard.

1. I saved the water from washing my floors and poured it into my 'shower buckets'. (I mentioned a few weeks ago that I've been keeping a few small buckets in my tub/shower (and also one in my kitchen). Any extra water I save gets dumped into those buckets and is used for flushing.

2. I've been turning off the water while soaping up in the shower then turn it back on when rinsing.

3. I put two dishpans in my kitchen sink for washing dishes. 1 pan is for washing and the other pan for rinsing. I started using a 3 dishpan to soak the dishes and get off any extra food. All of this water is either used to throw on plants outside or if it's clean enough it goes in the 'shower buckets'.

4. I pre-soak some of my wash loads (turning off the washing machine) so that I don't have to use a longer wash cycle.



5. I have a large 2 quart Pryex measuring cup. I started running cold water into the measuring cup and heating it in the microwave for 3 minutes to wash and rinse my dishes. I also do this in a large coffee cup to wash my face in the mornings and evenings.  Our water heater is in the garage and it takes a LONG time to get to the kitchen sink. By that time it's hot I've wasted a lot of water.

6. There is one other drastic measure you can take but I won't mention it here. Email me if you're interested.

7. Since it's winter we are only watering the lawn and flowers when it's absolutely necessary. Flowers are getting watered LIGHTLY maybe 1-2 times a week and the lawn maybe once a week.

Do you have any other suggestions you'd add to this list?

Other Frugal Friday posts can be found at Life as Mom

18 comments:

  1. You seem to have clever plans for using less water. Years ago I would throw my floor washing water (that had a little Murphy's oil soap in it) in the flower containers ... they bloomed profusely! Our non summer water bills are a flat $25 unless we go over 10,000 gallons in a month .. which in the autumn, winter and spring .. never happens.

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    1. How interesting that the M.O. helped your flowers grow!

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  2. I notice our hardware store now carries large water storage bins (bigger than a large garbage can) that one
    can siphon water into it when it rains. (from the roof
    of your house or a shed)mm,vancouver,wa.
    Yes,I live in the Pacific Northwest...but even if you don't, even a thunderstorm can give off a lot of water if collected from a roof top area.

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    1. I set out buckets yesterday while it was raining to catch some water for the coming week or two. Not sure how much it captured but anything helps.

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  3. Get drinking water from a public park might be one way. You do, after all, pay taxes for that park. I always refill my water bottles instead of throwing them out.

    You are very disciplined and clever in being frugal.

    Hugs and prayers,
    Carol

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  4. Great tips. Our water bill comes every other month and continues to climb. I need to be more mindful of using less.

    I love your prints. I have been on the lookout for years for the one of the man saying grace/praying. I just love it.

    Love reading your posts. So uplifting.

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  5. Oh and wanted to ask about flushing water in toilets. Can that be done in any toilet??? Wouldn't it still use the same amount of water anyways??? Tried googling it but info given makes it sound like one has to buy a certain toilet for flushing gray water. Could you explain how you do this???

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  6. I'm guessing at your unmentioned idea --there is a little rhyme to what I'm thinking. It will be interesting to hearing the difference this all makes in your bill...some reduction I'd think. The only problem with turning off the water while soaping in the shower, in my house, is that when its back on it will be cold again! So far from the HW heater!

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    1. I don't turn off the water when it's real cold here, either! :-) So far I'm doing okay with it.

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  7. We have 3 rain barrels that drain the water from the back of our house. I wish I could have some for the front as well, but I don't think my neighbors would appreciate 55 gal. barrels in the front! During the spring, summer & fall, I use them for watering the garden. Even with the drought this summer (I'm in MO), I only had to use the hose a few times for watering. Now they are disconnected for the winter but still fairly full & I've been using that water for flushing.

    My master bathroom has no tub, just a shower. I have a 5 gal. bucket as well as a smaller one in there. Any water that collects as we shower is used for flushing.

    I keep a tub in the kitchen sink. Anytime I scrub potatoes, drain pasta/hard-boiled eggs/whatever, etc., that water goes into the shower buckets for flushing. When I'm waiting for the hot water to come through, I collect it in a clean jug and use that for refilling the dogs' water bowl.

    Those are the ways I've been reusing greywater. I'm paying for it whether it goes straight down the drain or if I reuse it. I might as well get a 2nd use from it! I hadn't thought about the floor-washing water; maybe if I washed them more I would! LOL!

    Here's a link to a site I found helpful. I haven't quite convinced my hubby to disconnect the pipes under the sinks & put buckets there yet though! http://frugallysustainable.com/2012/03/repurposing-greywater-ways-to-save-money-by-repurposing-household-greywater/

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    1. I really liked the article you sent and it has me thinking of how to capture the water from my washing machine. My husband and I discussed it last night and that will be my new project! :-) Thanks so much. I always enjoy reading new resources.

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  8. Don't forget things such as not letting the water run while you brush your teeth, wash your face, ect.

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    1. I do try and do both of those tasks. Thanks for posting it.

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  9. I've had to do some drastic things for water in the past. Our well pump died once, and Hubby pumped water from an artesian spring we found on our property, through a filter and into the house. We also used our pool water for flushing. During an exceptional drought a few years ago I used wash water and any water that 'missed' me in the shower to water my garden. I also had a gray water from the washer routed to a hose that watered part of the landscape trees--but you can't do that everywhere.
    If you use the sink to wash your hair you can keep a tub under it in the sink and re-use that water for something else too.

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  10. One thing though--unfortunately folks go too good at saving water during that drought so they raised the water rates to make up for lost revenues.

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  11. I have purchased 0.5 gpm aerators for all of my sinks (bathrooms and kitchen) from Wal-Mart for $3 each. They paid for themselves in less than a year in water and water heating costs. I also collect the water in the shower, but the initial colder water is collected in a different bucket and used to wash clothes in the machine. The bucket and water are clean, and pouring it into a 30 gallon tub I have in the laundry adds up over the week or two it takes between washing clothes. Since I always wash in cold water and the washer detects the water level regardless of the source, it works out for the initial (not rinse) cycle or any presoaking. The other water from the shower is used to flush - but I also have a 1 GPM aerator/shower head, so quick showers don't produce much water.

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  12. I wish I had some good suggestions, but you always have so many good ones for me to try and abide by...... thank you!!!
    Hugs and prayers from Texas!

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