Author Topic: Water Bill  (Read 12365 times)

face-punched

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Water Bill
« on: February 20, 2014, 04:18:50 PM »
Hello all!

I was wondering what people around here normally pay for water/waste? Our apartment averages out the use of the complex and charges... this month's bill is ~$90 and to me that seems insane. Something like 60 is sewage. Do I have any rights or anything to protect myself from this other than break my lease and move? Thanks for the info, by the way I live in Austin TX

Edit: The complex does have a pool, and I regularly (even in winter months) see sprinklers squirting a straight stream of water onto a bed of rocks or parking lot.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 04:49:32 PM by face-punched »

dragoncar

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2014, 04:21:39 PM »
$90/mo is insane, but are you guys having some kind of drought?  In SF I think I paid $60/quarter with the bare minimum water usage (back when I was responsible for water)

Tenants rights are pretty local, so you're better off asking a local lawyer, tenants union, etc.

face-punched

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2014, 04:24:24 PM »
There was a couple of freezes this past month, and the complex told everyone to drip the faucets... they are blaming that, but the normal bill is still like 70/mo. It is getting really old really fast.

Fireman

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2014, 04:39:41 PM »
Our apartment complex was recently bought by a new company and they changed our water bill to facility wide averaging.  Since then, water bills have been between $25-$30 for two in a one bed/bath apartment.

I also own a rental and the water there is between $25 and $40.  The highest i've ever seen it is ~$75.

Does your complex have a pool (or 6) that they routinely empty and refill?  How about irrigation/sprinklers (although i'm guessing not during these months)?  Is it possible that some jackass left the water on full blast during the recommended drip phase?  I'll 2nd dragoncar in that you should check locally to check averages and determine recourse.


Cassie

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2014, 04:44:22 PM »
Our water bill for our house is about 21/month & sewer is 35.

MustacheWantaBe

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2014, 04:46:23 PM »
We are from Connecticut. For our house we pay $266.00/year for waste water and about $200.00/every 3 months for incoming water.

Fireman

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 05:10:32 PM »
Our water bill for our house is about 21/month & sewer is 35.

It surprised me that your sewer bill was higher so I did some research.  Wouldn't have guessed that as I had always thought sewer was a (smaller) percentage of your water usage.

I have heard of jurisdictions that charge residents a fee for runoff water based on the amount of roof and asphalt/concrete space.  I recall reading an article about a couple that lived in one such jurisdiction but collected their roof runoff to use for gardening and grass watering.  They (unsuccessfully) lobbied their local government to have the fee removed.

lithy

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2014, 05:31:56 PM »
What is everyone's billing usage?  We're using 2500-3000 gallons a month.

I feel as if our rates are very high,  I usually pay $35-40 each for the sewer and water bill. 

We're using 2500-3000 gallons a month.

Maybe our usage is high?  Two people.

Beridian

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2014, 05:41:50 PM »
My bill averages about $65 a month but I am aggressively working to drive it downward.  I live in SE Michigan, we have tons of water around here.   One thing that hurts me is that I love keeping a green lawn and a beautiful lush garden, so I get hammered by the water bill at the end of summer.

I have always thought it funny that they separate water and sewage into two parts on the bill.  First, they don't meter sewage, they just assume that what comes out the clean pipe ultimately goes into the dirty pipes.  A lot of my water usage is for gardening and landscaping and doesn't go back as sewage but I pay as if it did.   Maybe I should complain or appeal my bill on that basis.

Anyway I am keeping a bucket in the shower now that catches the warm up water, I use this to flush the toilets.  In the spring I'll be setting up rain barrels and catching the washing machine water to supplement the outdoor watering.

Fireman

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2014, 05:55:19 PM »
Anyway I am keeping a bucket in the shower now that catches the warm up water, I use this to flush the toilets.  In the spring I'll be setting up rain barrels and catching the washing machine water to supplement the outdoor watering.

As for the washing machine water, is there no concern that what's in it (detergent) will kill your grass?

Rural

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2014, 07:11:55 PM »
I'm delighted to be able to report that we have county water and, therefore, a water bill. We pay $20-30 a month. That's incoming water only, no sewer since there isn't one (septic).

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2014, 07:42:16 PM »
Our water bills also have a crap top of other taxes fees added on, primarily snow removal, so it may not be directly comparable.

It's quarterly, about $230, so ~$80/month. Doesn't seem to change much through the year, even in gardening season, because so much of the bill is fixed cost not based on actual metered usage.

Beridian

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 09:09:54 PM »
Anyway I am keeping a bucket in the shower now that catches the warm up water, I use this to flush the toilets.  In the spring I'll be setting up rain barrels and catching the washing machine water to supplement the outdoor watering.

As for the washing machine water, is there no concern that what's in it (detergent) will kill your grass?

The detergent shouldn't be a problem because to most plants it is fertilizer, plus its pretty watered down.  Bleach would be a different matter, but  come to think of it, most city water is purified with chlorine, but probably at a much more diluted level. 

Milspecstache

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2014, 09:31:37 PM »
Sewage typically costs more because it is now harder/more expensive to treat than it is to bring water in.  Recent legislation is requiring many areas to upgrade their sewar systems which will mean those costs will get passed to the consumer.  So unfortunately, that does sound reasonable and you can probably expect to see further increases.

Good time to live on a property with well and septic!
FYI I have to pump my septic every 3-4 years for $300 (around $7/mo)
My well pump/tank will probably need replacement every 5 years, maybe $600 (around $6/mo).  I think the electricity is negligible for my shallow well.
Install costs would be much higher but I bought a place where it was existing and tied my new house into it.

ritchie70

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #14 on: February 20, 2014, 10:57:14 PM »
My bill averages about $65 a month but I am aggressively working to drive it downward.  I live in SE Michigan, we have tons of water around here.   One thing that hurts me is that I love keeping a green lawn and a beautiful lush garden, so I get hammered by the water bill at the end of summer.

I have always thought it funny that they separate water and sewage into two parts on the bill.  First, they don't meter sewage, they just assume that what comes out the clean pipe ultimately goes into the dirty pipes.  A lot of my water usage is for gardening and landscaping and doesn't go back as sewage but I pay as if it did.   Maybe I should complain or appeal my bill on that basis.

Anyway I am keeping a bucket in the shower now that catches the warm up water, I use this to flush the toilets.  In the spring I'll be setting up rain barrels and catching the washing machine water to supplement the outdoor watering.

At least here, you can request a second meter for your sprinkler system or other outdoor uses to avoid the sewage bill on water that doesn't go down the sewer. Very little of ours doesn't go down the sewer, but if we fix the sprinkler system before selling (it got torn up doing landscape work) it would probably be worth doing.

Rural

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #15 on: February 21, 2014, 01:16:00 AM »
Sewage typically costs more because it is now harder/more expensive to treat than it is to bring water in.  Recent legislation is requiring many areas to upgrade their sewar systems which will mean those costs will get passed to the consumer.  So unfortunately, that does sound reasonable and you can probably expect to see further increases.

Good time to live on a property with well and septic!
FYI I have to pump my septic every 3-4 years for $300 (around $7/mo)
My well pump/tank will probably need replacement every 5 years, maybe $600 (around $6/mo).  I think the electricity is negligible for my shallow well.
Install costs would be much higher but I bought a place where it was existing and tied my new house into it.

I'm glad to have the septic, but as I indicated earlier, I'm actually pretty happy to be off well water. It's no fun depending on electricity to have running water, and dead animals in the well are a stone bitch. We do have a spring for backup, and may someday drop a backup well, but our water table is not shallow at all, so costs for drilling and to run a pump are higher.

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #16 on: February 21, 2014, 08:45:42 AM »
Water bill is ~$45/month for ~3,000 gallons. I'm trying to get this down.
The sewer bill is from the municipality, and is about $150-200/quarter. No idea how they calculate this.

Milspecstache

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #17 on: February 21, 2014, 08:49:24 AM »
Water bill is ~$45/month for ~3,000 gallons. I'm trying to get this down.
The sewer bill is from the municipality, and is about $150-200/quarter. No idea how they calculate this.

Since there is no meter on the sewage bill, they calculate it based off of your water usage.  This is why it can be beneficial to change your meter setup if you are running lawn sprinklers a lot.  Otherwise you will be charged sewage for the water dumped on the lawn.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #18 on: February 21, 2014, 09:06:54 AM »
What is everyone's billing usage?  We're using 2500-3000 gallons a month.

I feel as if our rates are very high,  I usually pay $35-40 each for the sewer and water bill. 

We're using 2500-3000 gallons a month.

Maybe our usage is high?  Two people.

we are pretty consistently at ~4000 gallons a month (2 adults in a ~1100 sq ft house with small yard that is never watered). I don't have our bill handy to know what our rates are, but it's usually $65/month and trash service is $12-13... so I guess that puts us at $0.013/gallon for water+sewer? there might be some kind of base rate in there that I'm not considering... so yeah, I don't know how you stack up with everyone else but your usage is totally better than ours and your rates seem to be similar!

I'm fine with our water usage. we have a low-flow showerhead, can't replace the toilet (we rent), and we don't do anything crazily wasteful... maybe we run the dishwasher above average because we cook (somewhat elaborate) meals from scratch almost daily, and maybe we do more laundry than average because we both work out at least 5x/week and the BF's work clothes usually need to be washed every day, but I am okay with all these things :) I do wish we got more of a discount for using the smallest size trash bin, though, or an option to go biweekly or something... I think we only save like $3/month.

edited to add: we also can't replace our dishwasher, and our washer is a few years old non-fancy/efficient model off CL, so those things probably aren't helping us either!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2014, 09:16:33 AM by oscarsmom »

kolorado

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #19 on: February 21, 2014, 09:14:05 AM »
Family of five using about 5500 gallons a month. We are charged $70 by 2 different "Metro Districts" for water service and sewage processing before we pay a dime for actual water use. The actual water costs about $28 a month($.005G). Still, I feel compelled to save water whenever possible, especially if it's painless to do so.

Quick and cheap ways to reduce water use:
shower or bathe less if possible(my kids get two baths or showers a week)
place 2 or 3 beer bottles in your toilet tank(I put 3 in each of our three toilets cutting the flush from 3.5 gallons to just over 3, makes a huge difference with our family size)
install .5 GPM aerators on faucets(mine were 2.2gpm faucets so the aerators paid for themselves very quickly)

Additionally, we have a top-loading, water-saver washer and also just replaced our 1992 water hog dishwasher(12GPW) with a new efficient model(3.5GPW).

There is some truth to soaps acting like a fertilizer on a garden but the safety is certainly suspect. My in-laws used to live in an old cabin with inadequate septic for their family of 5. So at shower time, they plugged up the drain and caught all the water. Then my FIL used a bilge pump to send the water out the window to his gardens. He had the most prolific garden I've ever seen in my life. I *think* he just used the reclaimed water or his flower gardens but I'm not positive. Either way,  the potential of dumping chemicals on the ground and into anything any living creature may consume is too great a concern for me.
 There are graywater safe detergents available if anyone is interested: http://5kidsonanacre.blogspot.com/2013/04/laundry-soap-grey-water.html


rocksinmyhead

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #20 on: February 21, 2014, 09:15:45 AM »
place 2 or 3 beer bottles in your toilet tank(I put 3 in each of our three toilets cutting the flush from 3.5 gallons to just over 3, makes a huge difference with our family size)
install .5 GPM aerators on faucets(mine were 2.2gpm faucets so the aerators paid for themselves very quickly)

ooh thanks for these ideas!

MustachianAccountant

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2014, 09:19:59 AM »
place 2 or 3 beer bottles in your toilet tank(I put 3 in each of our three toilets cutting the flush from 3.5 gallons to just over 3, makes a huge difference with our family size)

I did this for our old 3.5 gpf toilet (family of 6) until I priced out new low flow toilets - $200 for a dual flush toilet at your big box store. Dual flush toilets have two buttons - one is a 1 gallon flush for yellow water and the other is 1.6 gallons for *ahem* solids.
Replacing a toilet is a pretty easy DIY job, and since most flushes are "yellow," we're saving WAY more water than a few beer bottles in the toilet tank. (And the flush is more "robust" than our old toilet - no worries there, the low flow flush tech has come a long way.)

Just something to think about.

Jmoody10

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #22 on: February 21, 2014, 09:20:36 AM »
+1 on the aerators. We got a pack of 4 from amazon for $6. They made a big difference.

Our weakness is nice hot showers. We traded our showerhead out for a 1.25 GPM model that was $20. Those two changes cut $8 a month off of our bill.

oldtoyota

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #23 on: February 21, 2014, 09:25:56 AM »
Our February bill was $156, which looks like it's for three months. So, $52 per month.

You guys have MUCH lower bills.

My last bill (October) was $170 for three months.

We don't water the lawn or plants. What can I do to reduce this?

I've been showering less often, which is why I think it went down. I've also been more meticulous about doing laundry only when I can fill the washer the entire way.

We are going to install a more efficient toilet.

Anything else?




jba302

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2014, 09:34:27 AM »
There was a couple of freezes this past month, and the complex told everyone to drip the faucets... they are blaming that, but the normal bill is still like 70/mo. It is getting really old really fast.

If you live in an apartment/condo , you don't need to do that where you live. Your incoming pipes are below the frost line (which is what, an inch in your city?), so the ambient air / building temp would have to be below freezing to burst a line. Outdoor lines, etc. are at risk but asking you to run a faucet is absurd.

nedwin

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #25 on: February 21, 2014, 10:05:10 AM »
For comparison, we used 3300 gallons last month and our bill was $51.50 for a family of four, including sewer, storm water and mosquito control (this is $1/mo. all year).  About $12 of that bill was for actual water use, the rest were fixed fees for everything else.  Our highest use during the summer was close to 5800 gals. and the bill was just over $58.

We have a separate irrigation water supply for our lawn (untreated irrigation water), which is only available from April through October.  The highest that bill has been was $27.

We have a rental in Anchorage, AK which is billed a flat rate for water and sewer.  The bill just went up to $90.66/month in January.  I think this is really expensive, and it's frustrating that it doesn't change whether 1 gal or 100,000 gals are used.

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #26 on: February 21, 2014, 10:13:07 AM »
Our February bill was $156, which looks like it's for three months. So, $52 per month.

You guys have MUCH lower bills.

My last bill (October) was $170 for three months.

We don't water the lawn or plants. What can I do to reduce this?

I've been showering less often, which is why I think it went down. I've also been more meticulous about doing laundry only when I can fill the washer the entire way.

We are going to install a more efficient toilet.

Anything else?

reading through the thread, it actually looks like you're pretty average. who had much lower bills? or does the $52/month not include sewage so really you pay like twice that?

Trirod

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #27 on: February 21, 2014, 10:18:05 AM »
My well pump/tank will probably need replacement every 5 years, maybe $600 (around $6/mo).  I think the electricity is negligible for my shallow well.
Install costs would be much higher but I bought a place where it was existing and tied my new house into it.

Our shallow well pump was in the house when we moved in 18 years ago (and it obviously wasn't new then), and it's still going strong, so I think your 5 year timeframe is on the pessimistic side!

Milspecstache

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #28 on: February 21, 2014, 10:59:37 AM »
My well pump/tank will probably need replacement every 5 years, maybe $600 (around $6/mo).  I think the electricity is negligible for my shallow well.
Install costs would be much higher but I bought a place where it was existing and tied my new house into it.

Our shallow well pump was in the house when we moved in 18 years ago (and it obviously wasn't new then), and it's still going strong, so I think your 5 year timeframe is on the pessimistic side!

Haha, I'm basing mine on what my current setup looks like.  I bought the property 4 years ago and it looks very rough now.  No problems with your pump tank?  The next time I plan on installing a very large pump tank to try and cut down on the cycling of the well pump.  But both of mine look very rough...

plantingourpennies

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #29 on: February 21, 2014, 11:10:13 AM »
Our bill averages ~$80 per month, and $41 of that is a base charge.  We use around 5,000 gallons per month for 2 people, a cat, and a pool.  Luckily the pool doesn't need water added all that much and adds maybe $3/month on average to the bill overall. 
Our water is mid-priced compared to areas nearby, but apparently our co-op is excellent and does a LOT of work with our city for drainage/runoff and flood prevention, which gets us pretty significant discounts on our flood insurance policies and makes our area much more livable in the rainy season. 

Iron Mike Sharpe

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #30 on: February 21, 2014, 11:39:19 AM »
Water & sewer for myself is no more than $15/month

greaper007

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #31 on: February 21, 2014, 11:54:48 AM »
Family of four we used 3,000 gallons last month (37 day cycle for some reason) and our bill is $34.97.

9.95 base charge with $3.00 per thousand gallons.   I'm not sure what the sewer is based on, but that's $12. something a month along with some other mysterious taxes and fees.

It seems to always be about $34.97 a month though.

jhartt3

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #32 on: February 21, 2014, 12:12:11 PM »
we use around 2300 gallons and our bill is around 35 bucks for both water and sewer

wizlem

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2014, 12:27:36 PM »
My "water" bill is usually $51.83 per month but that breaks down as follows. I usually use 300 cubic feet of water so 2250 gallons of water for 2 adults.

$6 - water access
$4.40 - sewer access
$6.80 - actual water use ($2.267 per 100 cubic feet)
$10.89 - sewer use ($3.628 per 100 cubic feet)

$9.74 - stormwater management fee

$12 - garbage collection
$2 - recycling collection

lithy

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #34 on: February 22, 2014, 10:32:26 AM »
It is really interesting how all over the place the billing is.

My base service charges are $15 for water and $10 for sewer, then the rates are $1.02 per 100 gallons for incoming water and then about $12 per 1000 gallons for outgoing sewer.

At 2500 gallons for me that makes water/sewer combined about $80.  We pay separately for trash service.

I do need to get a low flow shower head we're currently on a 2.5gpm one, and a 0.5 gpm aerator for the bathroom sink at least. 

Does anyone have a 0.5 gpm on their kitchen sink?  Seems like pot filling might be a hassle, I wonder if there are reasonably priced fixture options that have adjustable flow rates.

Our toilet is 50 years old, so it is a water hog.  The beer bottle idea is neat, I sure have enough bottles hanging around.  Our washer is a newer front loading thing left to us in the house that, although I haven't looked up numbers for it, appears to be reasonably efficient.  We do 2-3 loads of laundry a week.  Our dishwasher though is probably 15-20 years old and probably uses more water than necessary.  We run the dishwasher 2-3 times a week as well.

I've taken to going every other day on showers.  My position at work has changed somewhat and is less physical than before.  That along with the cool weather means I am just not sweating as much.  During the summer though I expect to be back on the daily shower routine.  Showers tend to be my morning coffee.  Without them I'm a bit sluggish to get moving.  I do limit them to 10 minutes, usually more like 5 though, that's all I need. 

I'm going to get a rain barrel put together for our small garden space this summer to cut back on the amount of outdoor water we use.


kolorado

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2014, 03:41:57 PM »
Does anyone have a 0.5 gpm on their kitchen sink?  Seems like pot filling might be a hassle, I wonder if there are reasonably priced fixture options that have adjustable flow rates.

 Our dishwasher though is probably 15-20 years old and probably uses more water than necessary.  We run the dishwasher 2-3 times a week as well.


I put a .5gpm aerator on my kitchen faucet. But I have a sprayer that pulls out and that will give me 2+gpm. So anything I need fast I will use that. Being able to save on all the hand-washing and dish rinsing with the low flow is worth the little change.
 And FYI, dishwashers manufactured before 1994 use an obscene 12 gallons of water per wash. Those manufactured in the next 15 years use about 7. New ones use about 3.5. They also use less than a third of the energy to run and you'll also save on water heating costs for all the water you save. I run the dishwasher twice a day so we saved $35 a month by replacing the old one. With only a few loads a week, it will take a long time for you to recoup the cost of a replacement. There's always hand-washing for savings.

Jack

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2014, 04:16:28 PM »
My usage gets rounded to the nearest CCF (hundred cubic feet -- i.e., 748 gallons), and hovers between 3 and 4 CCFs/month for 2 people and a cat in a single-family house with a yard. For that, I pay either $50 (3 CCFs) or $70 (4 CCFs).

When we first moved in here, we used to hover between 2 and 3 CCFs; I need to make an effort to get back to that level (or maybe I have a leak).

oldtoyota

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Re: Water Bill
« Reply #37 on: February 23, 2014, 05:04:52 PM »
Our February bill was $156, which looks like it's for three months. So, $52 per month.

You guys have MUCH lower bills.

My last bill (October) was $170 for three months.

We don't water the lawn or plants. What can I do to reduce this?

I've been showering less often, which is why I think it went down. I've also been more meticulous about doing laundry only when I can fill the washer the entire way.

We are going to install a more efficient toilet.

Anything else?

reading through the thread, it actually looks like you're pretty average. who had much lower bills? or does the $52/month not include sewage so really you pay like twice that?

Hm. I'm pretty sure it does include sewage. I thought I saw someone mention paying $30-something per month and then another person who said $15. Maybe they were not including sewage.