Abnormal increase in your utility bills? It’s no miscalculation – the water fees and taxes in Singapore have increased.
Sure, the higher water prices probably won’t send you into financial ruin. But as the idiom goes, don’t spend money like water. Or do – if you adopt these genius tricks to save water and cut your utility bills.
A leaky faucet that spills a drop of water per second can waste over 3,000 gallons of water a year – the equivalent of 180 showers. Besides leaking faucets, household leaks can come in the form of dripping shower heads or old toilet flappers.
The quick and easy way to spot a hidden leak – rather than checking each individual appliance – is to read your water meter. Do this when nobody else is at home and all the water fittings are switched off. If the meter dial is still moving, give your plumber a call to help you find and fix the leak.
NEXT: Check the Water Efficiency Label →
At home, the fixtures and appliances that consume the most washer include the washing machine, toilet, and showerhead. By getting water-efficient appliances, you save as much as 6 litres of water every time you do the laundry, or 3.5 litres every time you flush the toilet.
Buying a new appliance? Under the Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme (WELS), WELS ratings, a grading system that uses 0/1/2/3/4 ticks to indicate the water efficiency, will be prominently displayed on taps and washing machines beginning 1 April 2017.
NEXT: Install faucet aerators in the bathroom and kitchen →
An aerator is one of the most effective and inexpensive tools for saving water at home.
It’s a small device attached to the tip of the faucet that controls the amount of water that comes out. Besides reducing water waste, the aerator also acts as a filter for small debris.
You can get one for as little as S$5 at your neighbourhood hardware store.
NEXT: Get a water saving kit from the National Water Agency →
The kit contains 6 thimbles that you can attach to your faucets and showerheads. Each thimble has 3 or 4 holes each, which greatly reduces the flow rate of water.
NEXT: Install water-efficient showerheads →
Like aerators, water-efficient showerheads restrict the amount of water that flows through without sacrificing performance. They cost S$20 or less, and many of them are designed to produce water flows that give a satisfying shower while consuming less water.
Besides looking at the WELS rating, check the showerhead’s flow rating, which is measured in gallons per minute (gpm). Conventional showerheads have a flow rate of 5 gpm, whereas a water-efficient showerhead should have a flow rate of 2.0 gpm or less.
NEXT: Pee in the shower →
Yes, we went there. But then again, so did the Brazilian government, who actually adviced people to use this questionable trick to help save water. You’re going to wash yourself clean anyway, right?
NEXT: Check your toilet for leaks →
Or, do you suspect your toilet is leaking?
A leaky toilet wastes up to 500 gallons of water every day. Check your toilet for leaks by placing a dye tablet inside the toilet tank. If you see the dye seeping into the bowl, call a plumber – you have a leak that needs to be fixed.
NEXT: Install a “dam” in your toilet tank →
Unless you absolutely need a new one, replacing your toilet with an energy-efficient one isn’t a financially smart move.
Instead, you can place a water bottle inside the toilet tank to reduce the amount of water needed to fill it. Get two plastic water bottles and fill them with water and some sand or pebbles. Screw the lid on tightly and place them in the tank, away from the toilet’s operating mechanisms. This displaces the water in the tank, reducing amount of water used with each flush. Doing this can save you ten or more gallons of water each day!
NEXT: Wash a full load of laundry →
Save your dirty clothes until you have enough to load your washing machine to the recommended capacity. Avoid washing smaller loads unless your clothes machine has water level settings that you can control.
Or, some washers have water level settings for loads of different sizes. If yours do, adjust the settings accordingly for smaller loads and save you a significant amount of water.
Limit the use of the permanent press cycle on autmatic clothes washers – these use approximately a third more water than regular cycles!
NEXT: Use basins for washing dishes →
As much as possible, don’t leave the water running to rinse dirty dishes – it’s not only more water-efficient, but also quicker. If your kitchen sink has two basins, fill one with soapy water and the other with rinse water. You can also gather the dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a basin of hot water.
Tip: using hot water prevents spotting or streaking when glass and silverware dries after washing.
NEXT: Don’t use running water to prepare your food →
Instead of using running water to clean vegetables, wash them in a pan or stoppered sink.
Similarly, when defrosting frozen food, use the microwave or keep them in the refrigerator overnight.
NEXT: Use a credit card that gives rebates on utilities →
Many associate credit cards to lifestyle expenditure – which gets you the best discounts at restaurants, or racks up the most miles for travel? When it comes to bills, some credit cards give cashback when you charge your recurring utilities payments to it.
The POSB Everyday Card, for instance, gives a 1% rebate on SP services. While it may not be a life-changing sum, a little goes a long way. Do ample research to find out what works best for you.
NEXT: The smartest way to check for leaks →
By Lauren Dado, SingSaver, March 2017
Additional reporting by Pinky Chng
Like this? Read more home stories here,