Help! I have a high water bill. What should I do?
Whether you are taking a sip or a shower, it is easier to forget that clean water is available to us in Australia…with a price tag. Most Australians have been taught to conserve the most precious resource from a young age, thanks to community campaigns to preserve water through the droughts. Remember those 3 minute showers, anyone?
It’s not until you get older and a high water bill lands in your mailbox that you realise water is a luxury we pay for.
With a bit of jargon attached with a water bill, it’s tempting to simply pay the bill right away. However, it is equally important to understand exactly what you are paying for and if there is any room for improvement?
In this post, we’ll explain why you might receive a high water bill and what you can do about it.
Understanding Your Water Meter
A high water bill may indicate an incorrect water meter reading. It could get wrongly recorded by the respective meter reader.
If the reading on the bill appears as if it is a mistake or you are not sure about it, you should contact a professional right away.
Properties in Australia mostly have water meters in the front portion. The reading is gone through by a water utility company in a span of few months. A number is displayed on the meter. The number allows the water utility company to observe how many kL (Kilo-Litres) you have utilized since the last meter reading. 1 kL = 1000L.
Some essential terminologies related to the water meter are:
- Meter ID:
The particular number that is assigned to the water meter.
- Previous Reading or Reading Date:
When the water meter was last observed, and the amount it displayed on the water meter.
- Current Reading or Reading Date:
When the water meter has been read currently, and the amount that is updated at the current time.
- Usage (in kL):
It is the amount of kL or Kilolitres from the current reading minus the kL number from the current water meter reading. It indicates the amount of water you have used in the given billing period.
- Total Number of Days:
Signifying the number of days since the previous water meter reading.
- Average Daily Utilization:
The total water usage in kL is multiplied by 1000 and divided by the total number of days. It indicates the daily water usage in litres.
Now you have some knowledge about your water meter you can ask any questions that may appear incorrect, should you receive a high water bill.
Check Any New Appliances
Should you receive a high water bill, in addition to water meter reading issues, you should check any new water-specific equipment in your property. Any new appliances can also affect the overall water bill on a monthly basis. Washing machines, water sprinklers, pools, freezers, and a myriad of other equipment can suddenly increase the overall water consumption and see a high water bill for your property.
If you wish to minimise the overall impact of any new appliances on the water bill, you should choose appliances that have the WELS high-efficiency assurance.
Look for the water rating label or advice on all products regulated under the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme. The label is designed to help you make informed choices. You can read more information here. According to the Australian Government’s current estimates on water efficiency, water-efficient products will start to save the average family $175 per year or more. It’s estimated to be $2 billion in total by 2030!
Saving on Your Water Bill
After your high water bill you’re probably looking for effective tips to lower your monthly water bill? Even smaller changes can deliver a significant impact on your overall consumption.
Here are some practical tips to save on your water bill:
#Installing a Water-efficient Showerhead
Water-efficient showerheads utilize less than 9 litres every minute. On the other hand, a regular showerhead can consume as much as 20 litres every minute.
#Choosing Water-efficient and Energy-efficient Appliances
Is it time to upgrade your dishwasher, washing machine, or some other water-based appliance? It is recommended to do your research before buying the same. On a shopping spree, you should search for appliances having a higher rating for water and energy efficiency.
#Use Your Dishwasher
Washing your dishes by hand considerably increases the amount of water you use on a daily basis. Install a dishwasher and let the machines do the job!
#Preventing Water to Run
Do you tend to leave the water running as you brush or shave? While it might appear harmless, it can be detrimental to your water bill. Moreover, you are also wasting huge amounts of water on the go. Always turn off the tap when you are not using it directly.
#Taking Short Showers
Do you love hot baths that convert into longer showers? The bad news; it could be harmful for your water bill. The good news; simply consider switching to a short shower. To enhance the results, you can also use a timer for monitoring the time you spend in the shower currently. You can use the same as a benchmark to ensure improvements. Make sure that you count the total time and spend no more than 5-10 minutes in the shower area. Your water bill will thank you.
#Fixing Leaks in the Home
Did you know that a leaking water faucet can waste as much as 3000 litres of water every year? If you have leaks in your property, hire a plumbing professional to fix them right away. Leaks can easily make your water bill go through the roof. Moreover, it can also damage the foundation of your house.
How to find out whether you have a hidden water leak in your house? You can simply go through the water meter reading and do not use any water source for some hours. Check the reading again. In case the reading has increased, there is a possibility of a hidden leak. A professional plumber can come to your rescue.
#Installing Faucet Aeration on the Taps
For every tap in your property, you can install a faucet aerator. The aerator screws onto the bottom of the faucet while reducing the overall water pressure.
#Cover Your Pool
Invest in a pool cover so that you can cover your pool when you’re not using it.
It will help in minimizing the total water loss due to evaporation. As such, you do not have to use huge volumes of water to refill the pool area.
Repurpose Your Water To Avoid A High Water Bill
Basically, the less water you consume the better! So learn how to repurpose your water in fun and interesting ways. Get the whole family involved and make it part of your monthly or quarterly family goals. If you’re aiming for a more sustainable lifestyle and teaching your kids about the environment this is a fun exercise. Do you use a lot of water in cooking? Do you look at all that wasted water from baths? Water re-purposing tips include:
- Use cooking water (pasta/veges) in the garden.
- Install a small rainwater tank to catch any excess rainwater from your gutters (you can use this for pretty much any water need in your home).
- Install a greywater collection system so water is not wasted and can be redirected into your garden.
- Use bath water in the garden too!
- Put a bucket in your shower to catch any droplets (you’ll be surprised how much it collects) then use that to water plants, gardens or lawns or wash your car)!
- Instead of pouring the quarter of a bottle of water you don’t drink down the drain, use that in your garden or house plants.
Call A Professional
If you feel that your high water bill is an indication of a larger plumbing problem then call the professionals to inspect your water meter, your pipes and your home’s plumbing system. A professional plumber can carry out an in-depth inspection and check for any cracks in your pipes, issues with your hot water heater, sewer line and water appliances. If there is any issue with your water consumption it could indicate a plumbing emergency is close. Our team at Proximity Plumbing will gladly help you out. Call us now on 0420 102 394 or book online here.
As you limit water wasting patterns or behaviours, you can lower the overall water bill significantly while maximising resource efficiency. There is only so much consumable water on our planet, let’s not waste it.