Decreasing the amount of water you use at home isn’t just good for the environment—it can be good for your bank account, too. Although research estimates that the average person only needs to use about 20 gallons of water per day, according to United States Geological Survey (USGS), most individuals are using closer to 80-100 gallons of H2O instead. And considering water bills can average anywhere from $15-$30 every month (and even more in bigger cities), those wasteful numbers aren’t just bad for the Earth—they’re not so great for your monthly budget either.
Luckily, there are plenty of surprisingly simple ways to reduce your daily water consumption. While most only require minimal changes to your routine, the benefits are bountiful. From shorter showers to eco-friendly fixtures, read ahead for nine small things you can do at home everyday to save water and money.
1. Take shorter showers
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person uses up to 40 gallons of water in the shower everyday. So whether it means speeding up your hair washing routine or simply turning the water off until you need to rinse, reducing the amount of time you actually spend in the shower is a foolproof way to save water.
2. Turn off the tap while washing your hands and brushing your teeth
National Geographic estimates that tap water comes out of the average faucet at a rate of two-and-a-half gallons per minute. So if you’re looking for a no-brainer way to cut back on your daily water consumption, just turn off the faucet while you scrub your hands or brush your teeth—and leave it off until it’s time to rinse.
3. Don’t run the dishwasher or washing machine until it’s full
The average dishwasher uses up to 6 gallons of water per cycle, and over twice that amount for washing machines. Translation: All those half-loads you’ve been washing are likely adding up to some seriously wasteful amounts of H2O, so next time wait until your machine is full before running.
4. Take your car to a professional car wash
Who knew automatic car washes could also be eco-friendly? Research shows that while washing your car with a hose at home can use up to 140 gallons of water, most commercial carwash facilities have recycled water systems in place—to treat and reuse previously wasted water; only requiring an average of 15-40 gallons per cycle.
5. Flush less
Did you know that every single time you flush the toilet you’re using up to 5-7 gallons of precious water? Your toilet isn’t a trashcan. So spare yourself, and the environment, all the wasted water and stop flushing every single piece of tissue you use.
6. Insulate your water pipes
Super easy and inexpensive, insulating your water pipes with a foam-rubber wrap won’t just bring you hot water faster, it’ll help you avoid wasting water—while showering, washing your hands, or doing the dishes—while you wait for it to heat up.
7. Check for leaks
According the USGS, a small leak in your toilet or faucet can wind up costing you 20 gallons of wasted water a day. Make a point to check your water meters regularly—different readings within a two-hour period usually indicates a problem—and fix any leaks asap.
8. Buy efficient fixtures
With all of the eco-conscious fixtures available in today’s market, extremely dated—not to mention wasteful—showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and washing machines can be a real drain on your resources. Thankfully, the EPA launched WaterSense to help label products that meet their efficiency standards, so you pick out low-flow toilets, aerated faucets, and water-saving showerheads that require way less water and save you lots of money in the long run.
9. Use less electricity
Believe it or not, research shows that reducing your use of electricity is one of the easiest ways to save water. Essentially every aspect of energy production—from mining to refining to processing and generation—requires water. That’s why cutting back on electricity won’t just lower your electric bill, it’ll help save the earth’s water supply, too.