How to Track Water Usage at Home
Indianapolis families use water in many different ways throughout the day. With access to plentiful, clean water, many of us don’t think to track water usage at home. When you track water usage in your home from month to month, you become more conscious of how it is used and what you can do to reduce waste.
In addition to water conservation efforts, tracking water usage in the home provides important clues about your plumbing system. The information gained when you track water usage helps you protect your home from damage and make improvements to your plumbing system and its fixtures.
Williams Comfort Air shares ways to track water usage at home and what this information means to your household. If your tracking efforts indicate a plumbing problem or lead you to make upgrades to your system or fixtures, we are here to help – contact us today to schedule plumbing service.
Why Would You Want to Track Water Usage?
Water is something most of us in Indiana and the United States are lucky enough to have access to, as many parts of the world do not have such plentiful access, nor reliably clean water safe for consumption. The average family in the U.S. consumes over 300 gallons of water at home each day – it probably doesn’t seem like you use so much, but all the activities we use water for in the home add up.
If you do not track water usage in your home, you miss out on important opportunities. Tracking water consumption at homes helps Central Indiana families in the following ways:
- Detect plumbing leaks
- Plan for plumbing upgrades
- Conserve water
- Lower utility bills
Sometimes, the first sign of a water leak is a high water bill – you don’t even know you have a leak until you are hit with an unusually high bill one month. The most common reason behind an unusually high water bill is a leak.
Not all leaks are so obvious as a flooded basement or a puddle of water, but they still have the potential to cost you money and waste water. These sneaky leaks include:
- Slab leaks under the home’s foundation
- Leaks in the toilet tank which leak into the bowl
- Outdoor spigot leaks
Not all leaks are seen, so they are able to cause significant water waste without your knowledge. They also have the potential to cause significant damage before they are found. They may cause further damage to your plumbing system or water damage in your home – damage that could be mitigated if you track water usage and keep an eye on your water bills.
If you receive a high water bill, access the bills from the few months prior. On the bill, locate your usage amount – it is reflected in gallons or CCF (centum cubic feet, 1 CCF equals 748 gallons). When water bills unexpectedly rise, you should notice that water use for the period has as well. Compare to your past few months’ bills to verify your home has consumed more water. Also, check the unit price you are charged to ensure a change in commodity price is not responsible for the bill increase.
Next, examine your household. Factors that legitimately increase your water consumption and bill are sometimes easy to overlook:
- Guests staying over for a long period
- Children returning to the household after being away at school
- A person joining your household
- Adding a water-consuming appliance
- Beginning to water a lawn or garden after a dormant period
If none of these are relevant to your household, a leak is likely the cause of your increased water bill. Contact your plumber to assess your home for leaks and make needed repairs to stop excess water consumption.
Identify Plumbing Upgrades
Older appliances and plumbing fixtures consume far more water than newer ones. When you track water usage, you are able to determine how much water your current equipment consumes with each use and compare it with the rates of a new model to see how much water you stand to save with upgrades.
Efficient plumbing fixtures are marked with the WaterSense label. Use the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense calculator to estimate the total water savings of the new fixture you wish to install.
Upgrading plumbing equipment and appliances greatly reduces water consumption, benefiting your household and the environment. The money you invest in upgrades creates returns in the form of utility savings, helping pay for themselves over time.
According to the EPA, the average person in the U.S. consumes approximately 88 gallons of water at home each day – with this average, find the average estimated water use for your household. Multiply the 88 gallons per day average by the number of people in your household, then multiply that number with the number of days in your billing period.
88 gal/day x 4 people in household = 352 gallons
352 gallons x 30-day billing period = 10,560 gallons per billing period
If your household’s average water use is above this number, take a hard look at your habits and identify ways to cut back water consumption at home. Even if your number is below the national average, reducing your water consumption is still beneficial. It generates savings on utility costs and reduces water waste to benefit the environment. The less water you consume, the less water that must go through the treatment cycle, which adds expense for everyone as well as energy waste through treatment methods.
Lower Utility Bills
An obvious benefit that comes with reducing consumption is lowered energy bills. As water utility providers typically meter service and measure consumption, each unit of water your household consumes costs you money. When you use less water at home, your bill goes down and your savings increase.
Some households throughout the Indianapolis have private wells to supply water and therefore do not have a water bill to pay each month. However, conserving water can save you money on your utility bills – your well pump runs using electricity. The well pump pumps water from the ground source into your home periodically.
Ways to Track Water Usage
Track water usage to improve conservation efforts at home and save money on utility bills. There are multiple ways to do so, from estimates to exact numbers.
Estimate Household Water Consumption
If your water utility provider meters service – meaning they track water usage by your home and bill based on the volume consumed – you are able to use your monthly utility bill readings to assess your family’s consumption.
Utility companies have found that metering water usage and billing by the unit generates higher consumer water conservation than billing at a flat rate – one price, no matter the volume of consumption. Many consumers believe metering is only done for more accurate billing, but it has a major impact on conservation.
When utility providers track water usage through metered service, there is a potential to reduce consumption 15 to 30 percent. When the bill is based on units consumed, customers are more conscientious of household water consumption. Customers change their habits to control the amount they pay each month, and limit waste to lower bills. The difference between allowing water to run while brushing teeth versus shutting off between starting and rinsing, or letting the shower run for a few minutes while you get ready or turning water on only after you’ve gotten in makes a difference in the amount you pay for water each month.
Your water bill holds data that you are able to use to track water usage. While it does not tell you what exactly water was used for, it does tell you the total volume consumed for the period – with this number, you are able to break it down and estimate consumption by fixture.
Install a Water Monitoring System
Home water monitors and water monitoring systems give homeowners a precise way to track water usage for the entire household and by fixture. Thanks to today’s technology, there are several different products available to help you do so, many of them Internet-connected to deliver data straight to an app.
Products are available to track water usage by fixture. The water monitor simply screws into the water supply pipe and measures the volume of water flowing through. Features range by product, and collects other useful data that helps you analyze your habits and find ways to increase conservation.
Other water monitoring systems are whole-home solutions. They are installed along your home’s water main line and measure all water consumption in the home. For many of these products, the goal is early leak detection and protection in the event of a leak, with connected water sensors and an automatic shutoff valve that activates if a water leak is found or suspected. Because of this protection, installing a whole-home water monitoring system may qualify you to receive discounts from your homeowners insurance provider.
Plumbing Solutions Help Track Water Usage
We often take home water use for granted and don’t pay it much mind, which hurts our environment and our budgets. When you track water usage at home, you become more in-touch with water usage at home and further mindful of conservation. Your plumbing system benefits, too, through reduced wear and tear due to lowered consumption through changing habits and efficient fixture upgrades.
Track water usage and make smart personal and home improvements to increase water conservation. Williams Comfort Air offers the plumbing solutions you need to reduce water consumption at home. We also provide advanced leak detection services to find the source of unexpectedly high water bills. Whatever the issue you face when you track water usage, we are here to help – contact us today to schedule plumbing service.