Author Topic: Save Money on Water  (Read 10191 times)

Bob W

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Save Money on Water
« on: September 04, 2014, 11:01:00 AM »
If its yellow, let it mellow.  If its brown flush it down.

Set your hot water heater to warm setting and cover it with lots of blankets if its electric.

How to shower --  Get wet,  turn off shower,  lather,  wait a minute for the soap to do its mechanical action,  rinse,  wipe excess water off your body with your hand, use a small micro fiber towel to dry,  wash that towel after every 10 - 20 uses.  When to shower  -- every 2 days in the winter if your an office worker.

Use a low flow shower head,  one with that whirler thingy on it for power.

Washers use the most water,  something like 30-50 gallons per load.  A good rule of thumb is one load per person per week.  Since your small micro fiber towel requires washing every 2 weeks you won't ever have a "towel" load.  (do not use fabric softener with microfiber.  It messes up the fiber)

Don't let water run when doing dishes or using the sink.

Let the rain water your lawn.

Use a nozzle for car washing.

By following this advice you will be using less than 2000 gallons per month for a family of 3-4. 

These are very simple steps that require a lot of "not doing."   Your lifetime savings could be huge!

Average family of 4 uses 12,000 gallons per month.  http://www.epa.gov/watersense/pubs/indoor.html


 


skunkfunk

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2014, 11:17:31 AM »
You should be collecting waste water. You can use it to pour in the toilet for the semi-weekly toilet flush.

Don't use a clothes washer!!!! You can use that same waste water to hand wash your clothes.

Ideally you won't even have running water, you can collect water when you are away from home for these purposes.

/s

Bob W

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2014, 11:55:14 AM »
You should be collecting waste water. You can use it to pour in the toilet for the semi-weekly toilet flush.

Don't use a clothes washer!!!! You can use that same waste water to hand wash your clothes.

Ideally you won't even have running water, you can collect water when you are away from home for these purposes.

/s

Yeah,  So a person who lives in the city could collect and recycle enough water to have no water or sewer bill.  That would be sweet!

I on the other hand actually live in the country on a well.   We don't use much water as noted above but we do use probably around 100,000 gallons a month through our pump and dump geothermal HVAC system.  The water is pumped from the well and then run through the heat exchanger.  It is then released to the wild in our backyard.    Perfectly legal and very efficient.   We also live in a part of the country (Missouri) where water literally falls from the heavens and bubbles out of the ground.   We have one spring in this state that boils up enough water that equals over 300,000,000 million gallons per day!

I do realize that in the west water is rarer and that people's monthly bills are based on usage.   So it is good to keep usage low. 

skunkfunk

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2014, 12:01:19 PM »

I on the other hand actually live in the country on a well.   

I live in a city on a well. In possibly related news, my well water tastes GROSS.


We have one spring in this state that boils up enough water that equals over 300,000,000 million gallons per day!

Where is this spring I must go live there to save on my water bill. Imagine all the lentils I could grow with that much water!

arebelspy

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2014, 01:46:24 PM »
Ideally you won't even have running water, you can collect water when you are away from home for these purposes.

..what?  How would you collect water away from home, and how would you cart it back home?

I'm assuming your whole post was satire.
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skunkfunk

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2014, 01:48:07 PM »
Ideally you won't even have running water, you can collect water when you are away from home for these purposes.

..what?  How would you collect water away from home, and how would you cart it back home?

I'm assuming your whole post was satire.

Easy you drink it! Then when you get home, you undrink it.

/s is for sarcasm

domustachesgrowinhouston

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2014, 02:26:22 PM »

Workinghard

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2014, 03:05:59 PM »
I thought you were going to say stop buying bottled water.

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Bob W

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #9 on: September 04, 2014, 04:06:19 PM »
Ideally you won't even have running water, you can collect water when you are away from home for these purposes.

..what?  How would you collect water away from home, and how would you cart it back home?

I'm assuming your whole post was satire.

My part of the post wasn't satire.

I'm assuming they meant to bring water in as needed.  For example -- you collect rain water in a cistern like in the old days.  You can recycle grey water (sink, shower, washing machine through a very simple sand, reverse osmosis and ultra violet light treatment system.   

You may be a bit uneasy about drinking recycled grey water so it would make sense to keep a 5 gallon water bag in your car and fill it up as needed for home drinking water.   

We have about 24 inches of rain per year in our area,  so just the roof on our house (about 2,000 sq ft of roof) would provide 15,000 gallons of water per year.

No need for toilet water as I am assuming you would use a humanure type toilet system.  These are extremely mustachian.  Basically you take a 5 gallon bucket and put a toilet seat on it.   You use aromatic cedar saw dust in the bucket.  Do your business.   Add a layer of sawdust.  After it is full to your liking it goes to the compost heap and is turned into free food.  Google humanure for a gander.

If one is crafty enough they can avoid the need to be hooked up to city water at all!   

Why go through the effort?   

Well do the math ---

Up the road from us one town charges $65 for their basic water and sewer.  (goes up if you use more than 5000 gallons)   So if you save $65 per month that is  $780 per year.   (you could put together the system I mentioned above for less than that DIY).   So let's say you save $780 per year.    At the oft quoted 3 -4% SWR that would be  25,000 less dollars you would need to save.   Figuring the average reader here earns 45K and saves at a 40% rate that would mean you could reach FIRE 1 - 1/2 years sooner.

Now I know we pride ourselves on not be too hippy like here,  (sarcasm intended) but it would seem to  me to be worthwhile to at least look into this possibility and do a little creative research.   

Let's say you spend 10 hours researching how to make your daily water usage uber efficient and how to put a home recycling system in place.  (of course you would post your findings here!)  Then lets say you spend 40 hours putting the parts together and building out the system.  (I know we have plumbers reading this post!)  So for 50 hours of your time you earn 1 - 1/2 years off of work.  That is a huge return on investment! 

When we look at a budget (as mustachians I think)  we should ask ourselves how can we get that budget category to zero or close to zero?   

Every dollar less required per month in retirement equates to 3 less days you need to work to get to FI.  (Math 1 dollar per month times 12 months = 12 dollars,  at a SWR of 3% ish you would need to save $360 to generate that 12.   360 might be the average income for 3 days for the average reader)



So if you can learn to cut $1,000 from your monthly budget you can retire 3,000 -  4,000 days sooner.  That is 12 - 16 years sooner!  As always,  ymmv depending on your savings rate.




domustachesgrowinhouston

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2014, 11:05:17 PM »
Get rid of the lawn.

http://www.allaboutlawns.com/lawn-maintenance-care/landscaping-and-gardening/the-history-behind-lawns.php

Very un-mustachian.

How is it un-mustachian?

Modern lawns are a centuries old hand me down. When they first came into vogue, there were only hand tools. So not only was it an unproductive use of land, it also required massive labor and time to maintain; basically a gross display of excessive wealth.

Current practices tend to be pretty bad as well. Around here, most lawns consist of St Augustine, some Bermuda. St Augustine needs to be kept 4" or taller to stay healthy.  Most lawn mowers dont cut that high.  So the grass is handicapped. To keep it looking healthy requires the use of fertilizer and excessive watering.  Most people dont know or care much about fertilizer.  They just run to home depot, grab a bag, and spread it around.  The excess runs off into whatever water drainage exists. In all you have the cost of the mower, cost of gas and maintenance, water use, fertilizer, downstream costs of excess fertilizer, herbicides, or whatever, time and energy for a mostly unproductive use of land.

skunkfunk

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #11 on: September 05, 2014, 07:54:26 AM »
Get rid of the lawn.

http://www.allaboutlawns.com/lawn-maintenance-care/landscaping-and-gardening/the-history-behind-lawns.php

Very un-mustachian.

How is it un-mustachian?

Modern lawns are a centuries old hand me down. When they first came into vogue, there were only hand tools. So not only was it an unproductive use of land, it also required massive labor and time to maintain; basically a gross display of excessive wealth.

Current practices tend to be pretty bad as well. Around here, most lawns consist of St Augustine, some Bermuda. St Augustine needs to be kept 4" or taller to stay healthy.  Most lawn mowers dont cut that high.  So the grass is handicapped. To keep it looking healthy requires the use of fertilizer and excessive watering.  Most people dont know or care much about fertilizer.  They just run to home depot, grab a bag, and spread it around.  The excess runs off into whatever water drainage exists. In all you have the cost of the mower, cost of gas and maintenance, water use, fertilizer, downstream costs of excess fertilizer, herbicides, or whatever, time and energy for a mostly unproductive use of land.

It's as if somebody asked the question, "What is the most labor-intensive, expensive, and yet useless thing that I could do with my extra yard space?"

Bob W

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #12 on: September 05, 2014, 12:49:35 PM »
Used to be in the lawn care business but I now allow the weeds to grow freely.  Still water through the droughts with well water.   Still push mow about 3/4 of an acre.   I think my neighbors would burn me out if I let it go totally wild.

On the other hand when we move to the city,  I hope to have a fairly large (by city spec) yard.  In that yard I will put in about 5,000 sq ft of veggie garden and fruit trees, grapes etc..   In the areas remaining in grass I plan to manicure the shit out of it.   Sure,  I'll be responsible with the fertilizer by using mostly compost tea and also will only spot shoot the weeds once the turf is established.    I plan on incorporating used baby diapers (they are full of what are called SAPs,  Super Absorbent Particles),  so lawn watering will be close to zero.    Will need a rain water system for the garden though and lots and lots of mulch. 

This will look pretty nice next to my tiki bar and bocci court I think.     
________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
I did a little research last night on self sustained water systems.    One couple in Texas spent 25K on a very nice system capable of capturing something like 15K gallons of rain water.    They seemed thrilled by this.     

They suggested they were using 100 gallons a day.   My guess is about 80 gallons of that was washing machine as they took "navy" showers.

So let's say that 90 gallons was recyclable.  They had filtering equipment.   So I don't get the need for giant holding tanks.  It appeared the bulk of their expenses were 6 massive holding tanks.   Really, if one uses just a pinch of soap in the laundry there just isn't much filtering needed to have suitable water for showers, laundry and dishes.     

I really think I could get buy with a 200 gallon holding tank.   All grey water would be recycled and mixed with fresh rain water as mother nature provides (24 inches per year here).   To keep the system simple I may not design it to be drink worthy (although it would be germ and virus free) but allow for a little residual flavor.  That means that the 5 gallon water bag would be needed to pick up some free water every few days.   

Anyone out there currently self sustaining themselves in a typical suburban or city house?

PS.  I know I am overthinking this,  but as I said above I think it will be worth the effort if I can create a perpetual water system for under 1K that will allow people to retire 1 1/2 years sooner.   



 

skunkfunk

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #13 on: September 05, 2014, 01:06:43 PM »
a perpetual water system

In many areas, we call this a well.

agent_clone

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #14 on: September 05, 2014, 11:54:02 PM »
If its yellow, let it mellow.  If its brown flush it down.
Depending on your water pipes there can be issues with this...

Backstory:
Australia's south-eastern area (and many, many other places) have or have had a long term drought.  During this drought more water efficient dual flush toilets have been invented such that very little water is used to flush number ones, and a bit more water is used to flush number two's.  Yay for using less water.

However, at the same time, most of the older pipes around the place are made of clay, over time clay pipes get little cracks.  As water pipes of course hold water, what do trees do in a drought?  They try to get their roots to the water source (i.e. they go through the cracks in the water pipes and put their roots in there).

A lady who is friends with my parents now has issues with the tree roots and her plumbing, she has to put something down her pipes to clear out the roots.  Apparently the water efficient number one flush doesn't move the water much, and certainly doesn't move it enough to clear the pipes.

Also apparently there were issues with things getting backed up closer to the sewerage treatment places.

Let the rain water your lawn.
Like others I would get rid of the lawn as well, although there are some grasses the need less water to keep going.  Personally as i"m not much of a gardener I would be putting in a ground cover that isn't lawn and doesn't require much water.  Once established it should hopefully keep out weeds.

stripey

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2014, 05:45:31 AM »
Michael Mobbs might have some useful material: http://sustainablehouse.com.au/. He is a former environmental lawyer living in Sydney. He took his suburban house off the grid over ten years ago. His book 'sustainable house' is about that-- I think it's up to a second edition which takes into account new technologies, etc. I have browsed this book and it looks the business, and I own his other book ('sustainable food'). Of course this material will have an Australian perspective. For reference, Sydney has an annual rainfall of about 45 inches/1125mm.

Edit: grammar
« Last Edit: September 06, 2014, 06:01:14 AM by stripey »

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2014, 12:31:44 PM »
Re: lawns- look into native buffalo grass. That's what we put in. It takes minimal water, we have not artificially watered it since it established. For a one year old lawn, it has completely filled in. It only grows 6" tall and is very soft and shaggy. Definitely barefoot grass. If you don't mind the shaggy look, you can easily get by with mowing once every 2-3 weeks. Once established, never needs watering. It spreads both through seeds as well as runners, so when you pull weeds, the bare spots are filled in quickly with buffalo grass. It is very expensive per lb, but totally worth it in my opinion.

We have Cody buffalo grass from stock seed farms. They also have great wildflower mixes.

Elderwood17

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2014, 08:04:17 PM »
We have a well with extremely high pressure on our side of the hill.  Love not having a water bill! 

Bob W

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2014, 08:51:16 AM »
Michael Mobbs might have some useful material: http://sustainablehouse.com.au/. He is a former environmental lawyer living in Sydney. He took his suburban house off the grid over ten years ago. His book 'sustainable house' is about that-- I think it's up to a second edition which takes into account new technologies, etc. I have browsed this book and it looks the business, and I own his other book ('sustainable food'). Of course this material will have an Australian perspective. For reference, Sydney has an annual rainfall of about 45 inches/1125mm.

Edit: grammar

Thanks for that!

rocksinmyhead

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2014, 09:17:40 AM »
a perpetual water system

In many areas, we call this a well.

I feel like you're just trying to shit on Bob's parade. I for one appreciate his suggestions. I also feel compelled to point out that whether or not a well is truly "perpetual" depends on your depletion rate and the recharge rate of the aquifer. We are mining water in many parts of the US.

Bob W

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2014, 09:41:57 AM »
a perpetual water system

In many areas, we call this a well.

I feel like you're just trying to shit on Bob's parade. I for one appreciate his suggestions. I also feel compelled to point out that whether or not a well is truly "perpetual" depends on your depletion rate and the recharge rate of the aquifer. We are mining water in many parts of the US.

Sure, I have a well already as I mentioned above.  I'm not the least bit concerned with our current water usage or depleting the well as we live in a rainy climate with lots of recharge.

I'm planning on moving to the city at some point so I've been toying with the idea of recycling water in the home and doing the basic math on how much.

The best mathematical reason I have found is that if one can save $800 per year on water and sewer service this equates to about 24,000 less in investments one would need.   Depending on your saving rate this could mean more than a year less to FIRE.

I really think that with some very basic filtration and storage containers (think used 50 gallon drums)  that a system could be put together for under $1,000 US.     At one time I licensed septic systems for the Dept. of Health and have been a home builder in the past,  so I have a very basic knowledge of some of the needs in order to set up a system. 

As time allows,  I will research and share my results.   Any referrals,  such as the one above are welcome. 

I think most people would say that if they could spend $1,000 and some DIY time and have free water for life, that would be a good thing.

I have also noticed that city water rates seem to be far out pacing the rate of inflation around here. 

Anyone live somewhere that their water and sewer exceeds $100 per month for the average home?


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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2014, 09:44:54 AM »
Since the shower water is always cold at first and I'm too wimpy to step into it, I collect the water in a bucket until it runs hot.  It usually amounts to about a gallon which I can use to wash one days worth of clothes by hand. Water so used can be recycled by throwing out onto the garden (or the lawn) provided you use phosphate free detergent.  It sounds extreme, I know, but but it's easier than it sounds and California's drought is extreme.  BTW, "washing by hand" bit different misnomer since I actually use a plunger type tool to wash clothes.

Bob W

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2014, 11:20:52 AM »
Since the shower water is always cold at first and I'm too wimpy to step into it, I collect the water in a bucket until it runs hot.  It usually amounts to about a gallon which I can use to wash one days worth of clothes by hand. Water so used can be recycled by throwing out onto the garden (or the lawn) provided you use phosphate free detergent.  It sounds extreme, I know, but but it's easier than it sounds and California's drought is extreme.  BTW, "washing by hand" bit different misnomer since I actually use a plunger type tool to wash clothes.

I know the wringer washers are making a come back.  I'm not opposed to these as my grandma used them and I loved her immensely.   So instead of sitting around watching TV I could be flexing my washing muscles.   I'm also guessing that I would be washing my clothes  only when needed.

Any idea how much water you use in your plunger washer set up?

I see on the net that an average washer uses 40 gallons per load.   

EricL

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2014, 11:34:15 AM »

shadowmoss

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2014, 11:48:51 AM »
You might look into the Permaculture web sites as well.  This fits in with their entire mindset.

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Chranstronaut

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #26 on: September 08, 2014, 01:38:50 PM »
Since the shower water is always cold at first and I'm too wimpy to step into it, I collect the water in a bucket until it runs hot.  It usually amounts to about a gallon which I can use to wash one days worth of clothes by hand. Water so used can be recycled by throwing out onto the garden (or the lawn) provided you use phosphate free detergent.  It sounds extreme, I know, but but it's easier than it sounds and California's drought is extreme.  BTW, "washing by hand" bit different misnomer since I actually use a plunger type tool to wash clothes.

This is a tip I read a while back that opened my eyes; it's so simple but I never thought of it.  I was getting into the idea of "Riot for Austerity" which is a challenge to use only ~10% of the normal first world's level of resources like water, food, electricity, etc.  Since my financial house is pretty well in order, I felt like this was a secondary Mustachian challenge.

My favorite dish washing method to save water.

Utilize a plugged sink better for washing dishes.  Plug the sink without water in the basin and put dirtiest dishes on the bottom.  Wash and rinse the cleaner items OVER the dirty items to let your "used" rinse water start to fill up the basin.  Use this "dirty" soapy water as your soaking to get the really nasty stuff loose.  Drain sink once when done.

domustachesgrowinhouston

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2014, 07:30:57 PM »
I have also noticed that city water rates seem to be far out pacing the rate of inflation around here. 

Anyone live somewhere that their water and sewer exceeds $100 per month for the average home?

When i moved in 8 years ago my water bill was about $20/month (i tend to use less than the minimum). Now it's up to $70/month. Not sure what the inflation rate on that is, but ill sure appreciate it if you let me know when you get your system figured out!

arebelspy

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Re: Save Money on Water
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2014, 09:01:06 PM »
I have also noticed that city water rates seem to be far out pacing the rate of inflation around here. 

Anyone live somewhere that their water and sewer exceeds $100 per month for the average home?

When i moved in 8 years ago my water bill was about $20/month (i tend to use less than the minimum). Now it's up to $70/month. Not sure what the inflation rate on that is, but ill sure appreciate it if you let me know when you get your system figured out!

20 to 70 in 8 years is a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 16.95%, well above inflation over the last 8 years.
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