To Make Those Bills Lower (And Go Green!), Understand Your Water Use

To Make Those Bills Lower (And Go Green!), Understand Your Water Use

Besides being 70% of the human body, water is yet another household service costing you money. The average annual household water bill in the U.S. is $476, for the privilege of running the dishwasher and filling up your water bottle. While running water is certainly worth paying for, there’s no need to drown in water bills.

Water Isn’t Just for Homeowners

Individual water bills are a treat reserved for homeowners. For the rest of us, the charge is included in our rent. But the standard charge doesn’t let us off the hook! Water conservation is a responsible practice that will not only be reflected in your future bills, but also in the health of our cities, countries, and the planet as a whole. No pressure, huh?

Water Is Measured in HCF

Homeowners, take note of the following: Water is measured in cubic feet (ccf). Since we use so many, the standard unit for water companies is Hundred Cubic Feet (HCF). One HCF is equivalent to 748 gallons, and in New York City, it costs about $3.

The amount of water you use is measured through a water meter, which looks a lot like an odometer in a car. The meter can be read by an employee of the water board, or -- increasingly -- can transmit your totals automatically to the company.

On your water bill, you’re charged a water charge, a sewer charge, and usually a fixed fee and minimum charge as well. The first two are for the amount of water you use in that capacity, the fixed fee reflects the size of your meter, and a minimum charge pays for days you use less than 40 cents worth of water.

If you’re not a homeowner, this quiz can help you determine how much water you’re using at home.

Save the Water, Save the World

By taking measures to save money on your water bill, you’re also being more environmentally responsible (win-win!). According to the Environmental Protection Agency, every minute the water runs uses two and a half full gallons. Conversely, every measure you take to minimize unnecessary water flow in your home saves at least that much. With fairly little effort on your part, you can watch your water bill drain away.

water savings

Add the above fixes to good habits like watering plants in the morning (to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate) and running only full loads in the dish and clothes washers, and you can save almost 40% of your water bill. How refreshing.

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