Understanding my water bill?

Simple living, extreme early retirement, being wealthy, ...
Alphaville
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Alphaville »

eta: you've seen this?

https://www.epa.gov/watersense

Hristo Botev
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Hristo Botev »

The certification? Yes.

Alphaville
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Alphaville »

no man they have all the products listed--shower heads, toilets, urinals, faucets, etc. plus rebates, plus programs & recommendations, children's ed, housing code, etc.

Alphaville
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Alphaville »

last--the other side of the equation is rainwater harvesting. it can go from simple barrels to large tanks/kiddie pools/etc.

on the low end:
https://www.popularmechanics.com/scienc ... -the-rain/

on the high end, this guy:
https://www.harvestingrainwater.com/
he lives in phoenix and doesn't use utility water.

eta: or maybe it's tucson, i forget. either way he's for real.

white belt
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by white belt »

If it takes 45 seconds for running water to heat up, you have a few options. You can try insulating your water heater and pipes, which would save you energy to heat the water and might also cut down on that warmup time. Additionally you could use a large jug or bucket to capture that 45 seconds of water and then use it for drinking or some other purpose later on. If you have a low flow shower head then it might only be a gallon of water, but then again that’s enough to cover all of your drinking needs for one day.

There is a whole world of rain harvesting out there, but I would say that is a follow-on step after first figuring out how your family consumes water and then reducing consumption.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Hristo Botev »

white belt wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:13 am
Additionally you could use a large jug or bucket to capture that 45 seconds of water and then use it for drinking or some other purpose later on.
Ooh, I really like that idea! I could use that water to: (1) fill the toilet tank; (2) shaving; (3) hand washing; (4) teeth brushing; and (5) drinking.
white belt wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:13 am
There is a whole world of rain harvesting out there, but I would say that is a follow-on step after first figuring out how your family consumes water and then reducing consumption.
I'm definitely interested in rain harvesting, and I think we actually have a decent set up for it (2 downspouts off the back of our townhouse that empty into the ground hidden behind a privacy fence), even though it's almost certainly against our HOA rules. But for sure my journey into the world of my water billing was to figure out my current level of water use, make the "easy" cuts where I can (less frequent showering, smarter use of the dishwasher and washing machine, low flow faucets, etc.), and then build in some more involved strategies like rain harvesting.

Alphaville
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Alphaville »

if the hoa allows kiddie pools that's a discreet way to store water which you can then cover to prevent evaporation

there are some nice "decorative" water barrels also which don't have to be mega-obvious.

eg, this one is new to me

Image
and hilarious

i assume the hoa doesn't want you guys looking like the clampetts (understandably so) but there are ways around the hippie style now that water conservation has gone mainstream.

eg here's a slick one

Image

you could place that outside a commercial building and nobody would notice. or next to a grill looking like your outdoor refrigerator.

IlliniDave
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by IlliniDave »

white belt wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 11:13 am
If it takes 45 seconds for running water to heat up, you have a few options. You can try insulating your water heater and pipes, which would save you energy to heat the water and might also cut down on that warmup time. Additionally you could use a large jug or bucket to capture that 45 seconds of water and then use it for drinking or some other purpose later on. If you have a low flow shower head then it might only be a gallon of water, but then again that’s enough to cover all of your drinking needs for one day.

There is a whole world of rain harvesting out there, but I would say that is a follow-on step after first figuring out how your family consumes water and then reducing consumption.
Another solution that my aunt had done to her house is a small pump on a timer that will recirculate the cold water sitting in the "hot" line back to the water heater, pulling hot water from the heater. It runs once in the morning around the time she gets up so near instant hot water in the shower. She has well water so it doesn't save her much $, put it does prevent a few gallons of water from going needlessly down the drain.

I keep a couple of gallon jugs next to the sink in my kitchen (longest run to the water heater in the house. I collect the cold water coming out of the hot line when I am getting ready to wash dishes and either use it to refill the dogs bowl or to water outdoor potted plants. Trivial savings, more of a make-myself-feel-virtuous-act.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Hristo Botev »

IlliniDave wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 1:49 pm
more of a make-myself-feel-virtuous-act.
My favorite kind.

Alphaville
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Alphaville »

here some great looking cisterns blending with the whole architectural concept

Image

on commercial property/ storefront

Image
Last edited by Alphaville on Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Hristo Botev »

Yeah, I think a lot of the fun is going to be figuring out how to camouflage mine, so that our nosy HOA patrol doesn't spot it. So far my best idea is camouflage it as a large planter, surrounded by other planters, and perhaps with some marigolds on top.

Alphaville
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Alphaville »

there are rain barrels that are planters. just search "rain barrel planter" and you'll see tons.


also, if you have a shed area... there's a brewery (in colorado i think?) that makes beer from their rainwater. ofc takes filtration and purification and regular roof shingles might not be optimal for human ingestion but one could diver water to a shed...

white belt
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by white belt »

@Hristo Botev

That's good to hear. I think the mental framework shift from typical water consumption to a "greener" approach requires understanding the difference between black water, grey water, and potable water. This is a common differentiation in RVs and boats, but since our residential sewage systems just lump everything together, we end up taking potable water for granted and using a ton of it. The challenge is how to implement changes once you have that knowledge, since typical house plumbing is not set up for gray water. Rob Greenfield's apartment video pretty much shows the limit of what one can do in a rented property, however if you own your property you might be able to incorporate more solutions.

The feasibility of rain barrels will also depend on your local rainfall rates. For the folks that go completely off the grid, we're talking about tanks in the thousands of gallons range per person. The 55 gallon drum barrels you see are a nice idea, but most of those will be completely full in a matter of minutes during a typical rainstorm. Actually treating rainwater to be potable is an entirely different beast, so I think that's why most folks start with smaller barrels and use it as gray water for gardening.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Hristo Botev »

white belt wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:34 pm
I think the mental framework shift from typical water consumption to a "greener" approach requires understanding the difference between black water, grey water, and potable water.
This whole ERE thing has been one long, uncomfortable, frustrating, and depressing mental framework shift.

white belt
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by white belt »

Hristo Botev wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:08 pm
This whole ERE thing has been one long, uncomfortable, frustrating, and depressing mental framework shift.
Believe me, I feel the same way. On the other hand, ERE’s focus on developing skills and taking action at the individual level means you can make progress quickly. This approach at least makes me feel better than just throwing my hands in the air and saying, “we’re all doomed!”

Hristo Botev
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Hristo Botev »

white belt wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:31 pm
“we’re all doomed!”
This popped up today in my Google News feed: https://www.discovermagazine.com/planet ... ntologists

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Ego
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Ego »

A free way to "encourage" shorter showers is to turn the water heater temperature down to the point where it is just slightly colder than the Goldilocks point.

Hristo Botev
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Hristo Botev »

Hmm, that will have to be done very stealthily indeed.

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Ego
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Ego »

I've found that if you do it slowly over time people barely notice. :twisted:

Alphaville
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Re: Understanding my water bill?

Post by Alphaville »

dont you get risk of legionnaire's disease below some temp?

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