Photo Source: Mr.CBB
It’s amazing the things we take for granted in Canada and around the world and water is one of them. Water is free when it rains but turn on the tap or flush the toilet and you will pay! I didn’t have a big garden back home in the UK but we definitely made use of conserving water best we could as home owners.
I remember seeing business offices run out of old homes where an office water system using the rain barrel was being used. All they needed to do was walk out the office door, fill the watering can and water the plants. You have to save money in the budget wherever you can even if you are a business owner.
When the rain decides to stop and we turn on the tap money is rolling out as fast as it’s coming in. Not everyone knows the facts on water and how to conserve and save money. Today I want to go over a few ways to save money on water using simple water collection systems, low-flush toilets/shower heads and rebate programs.
Photo Source: Mr.CBB
I noticed last spring and summer our water usage during the summer went up dramatically. Is it because we’re getting particularly sweaty and smelly? Probably, but it’s not the only cause……the garden, it costs a lot to keep your grass-green and flowers vibrant during the heat of June through to September.
Photo Source: Mr.CBB
We decided we needed a rain water collection system and fast as we wanted to lower our water bill. You can buy rain barrels from a variety of stores, personally I thought they were a little on the pricey side.You can easily make your own rain barrel if you have the time and motivation, which I had neither. We picked up our plastic rain barrel with a screw on top complete with netting to prevent bugs from having a bath for $20 on kijiji. You can always find cheap rain barrels for sale on-line, garage sales or second-hand shops. Sometimes our local city runs a sale and sells them for $40.
How To Set Up A Rain Barrel?
If your unsure how to set a rain water collection system up, there’s plenty of ideas and how-to’s on the internet. You’ll also need to change the way your downspout is routed so keep that in mind as well.
Our barrel holds approx 120 litres of rain water, that’s 0.120 cubic metres or 36.72 cents per barrel. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but I can water the garden roughly 3-4 times in the summer instead of turning on the hose. If it rains about 10 times during the month that’s roughly 1 cubic metre I’ve saved or $3.06.
We also looked into the whiskey rain barrel but decided it wasn’t for us but is also an option. I’m now looking for a rain barrel water pump preferably the solar-powered rain barrel pump to save on energy and to pump the water out quicker. If all else fails you could always hook up a manual water pump for the rain barrel but it will take some elbow grease to get it going.
A more cost-effective strategy is to link rain barrels if you have the space to collect and store more water. Just remember not to use your water on your plants if the sun has beaten down on the barrel all day. Hot water will kill plants, so wait until the evening.
Important Tip: Always measure the space where you will be installing the barrel so you purchase the correct size.
How much is the garden hose costing us you ask?
Photo Source: Mr.CBB
Using the garden hose is easy but it ain’t cheap, on average we were using 20 cubic metres per bill more over the hottest 4 months of the year, that doesn’t seem like a drastic amount does it?
Let’s work it out….
You pay more for your water than you think, every time you turn the tap on you’re gonna be charged twice if you’re on city mains water and mains sewage. You will get charged once for using the water in the first place and then again for the waste water treatment. But watering the garden doesn’t make any waste water you say. Doesn’t matter, your still charged for it and it’s all based off what you use through your water meter. If you have a septic tank system you’ll only be charged by what you use coming into the house. If you’re lucky enough to have a well on your property you have none of the issues described here.
The water company (sometimes combined on to your electricity bill) charges you by the cubic metre. Check your own water bill and work it out.
So how much is a cubic metre?
1000 litres = 1 cubic metre
1 cubic metre of water costs $1.30
1 cubic metre of waste water costs $1.41
True cost of 1 cubic metre of water = $2.71 before extra charges and then tax on top, with tax it’s $3.06, then there’s the daily charge.
So, for me using 20 cubic metres per bill extra (10 cubic metres per month) to water the garden, it’s costing me 20 x $3.06 = $61.20.
Either way you’re still going to be subjected to the wrath of mother nature, so filling your barrel(s) is not a guaranteed thing, nor is it gonna completely eliminate your summer water bill, but every bit helps.
Flushing the toilet is a big user of water…….
An old slow flushing toilet can use up to approx 13 litres of water to flush so 77 flushes per cubic metre. At 10 flushes per day that’s approx 8 days of use for $3.06, to get a months use it’ll cost you $11.93.
A more efficient low flow toilet uses 3 litres of water to flush or 333 flushes per cubic metre. At 10 flushes per day that’s approx 1 month of use for $3.06. You can also purchase the dual flush toilet technology that allows the user to select a short flush (three litres) or long flush (six litres).
That’s a lot of cash for making a splash!
Take advantage of toilet rebate programs in your area if available, we did. If you don’t have the skills and a plumber is a little too expensive for you, make friends with someone who can install a toilet.
Showers of 10-15 minutes….
An old inefficient shower head can use anywhere up to 15 litres per minute or 225 litres for a 15 minute shower, over a week that’s 1575 litres, for the month 6750 litres or $20.65 per person.
A low flow shower head uses around 9-10 litres per minute. Based on the same 15 minute shower that’s 150 litres, for a week it’s 1050 litres or 4500 litres for the month or $13.77 per person. All you need to do now is limit your shower time and save on your hot water bill.
As you can see, on a daily basis it doesn’t sound like you’re making much of a difference to your bills but start adding it up over a month and then over the year. I’m sure you’ll be surprised. Even more surprised when there’s multiple people in the house. You can also purchase low flow faucets for your sinks to carry out the same goals.. saving money!
So, there are ways to save money on your water bill but you need to get out there and get informed. Do what it takes to put your system in motion and educate everyone in the home on the cost of water and ways to save. I’m sure our rain barrel will make an impact on our water bill this summer and can’t ever see us without one.
Come chat with us on Facebook HERE and Twitter HERE… Don’t be shy… save money in your budget today! Mr.CBB
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