How to Reduce Your Water Bill in Texas: Plumbing Upgrades that Pay Off

Many Texans are finding themselves gritting their teeth, needing a stiff drink, or running for relaxation exercises every time they open their water bill.

Just scan news reports from around the state and you find:

“What would you consider a high water bill? $500? $1,000? One Houston family just received a more than $21,000 water bill,” reported Fox 26 at the end of January. “There are a lot of things that cost $21,000, a water bill for a 3-bedroom home shouldn't be one of them.”

Of course, you do not need a $21,000 shocker to find an incentive to reduce your water bill in Texas and the answer for many residents may be plumbing upgrades that pay off. Houston area residents, for sure, may want to explore cost-saving options.

Houston Area Water Bills: Sticker Shock

Shocking water bills in Texas, especially in the Houston area where some residents have recently gotten bills of more than $1,000 due to faulty water meters, are on the rise as the Lonestar State deals alternatively with drought conditions and historic freezes.

Houston Public Media reported in December 2023 that the Houston City Council approved nine proposals that officials hope will bring relief to residents experiencing high water bills.

KPRC reported earlier in 2023 that new Houston water rate increases translated into an average homeowner paying 17.5 more on their utility bill.

The city said the rate increases would cover:

  • Resources to continue water and wastewater services.
  • Maintenance of water and wastewater infrastructure.
  • Reduced water main breaks.
  • Reduced sanitary sewer overflows.
  • Improved resilience against hurricanes, freezes, and climate change.
  • Ability to comply with the consent decree.
  • Ability to comply with federal regulations rather than pay penalties for violations caused by lack of investment.

KPRC said that a Houston household that uses 3,000 gallons of water would pay $43.37 a month vs. $37.35 a month.

“Houston Public Works says the most common household usage for a single-family home in the summer is 6,000 gallons a month. If you use 6,000 gallons, it says your bill goes up about $16 a month,” reported Fox 26. “And brace yourself: this is part of a 5-year rate hike, and we're only in year two. Many Houstonians feel like they're getting soaked.  Water rates are going up as much as 15% to 17% this year.”

Plumbing Upgrades to Reduce Your Water Bill in the Long Run

Water bills in Texas can often be a surprising expense, especially when inefficient plumbing fixtures are silently driving up costs.

From leaky faucets to outdated toilets, your home's plumbing system might be quietly contributing to a higher water bill without you even realizing it.

Strategic plumbing upgrades, however, can help you reduce both your water usage and your water bill, saving money and precious resources in the long run.

Here are five ways that your current plumbing fixtures may be driving up your water bill:

  • Leaky Faucets
    • Dripping faucets can waste significant amounts of water over time.

    • Even a slow drip can add up to gallons of water wasted each day.

    • The constant flow of water from a leaky faucet results in increased water consumption and higher utility bills.
  • Running Toilets
    •  A running toilet occurs when water continues to flow into the toilet bowl after flushing.

    • This constant flow can result from a faulty flapper valve or a malfunctioning fill valve.

    • Running toilets can waste hundreds of gallons of water each day, leading to a substantial increase in water bills.
  • Older, Inefficient Appliances
    • Outdated toilets, showerheads, and other plumbing fixtures may use more water per use compared to newer, more efficient models.

    • Older appliances lack water-saving features such as low-flow technology, resulting in higher water consumption and increased utility costs.
  • Undetected Leaks
    • Hidden leaks within pipes or fixtures can go unnoticed for extended periods.

    • These leaks may be small but can lead to significant water loss over time.

    • Undetected leaks contribute to inflated water bills as water continues to flow and accumulate without the homeowner's knowledge.

“The average household's leaks can account for nearly 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year and ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day. Common types of leaks found in the home are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves,” explains the EPA.

Try These 4 Plumbing Upgrades to Lower Your Water Usage

While the path to reduced water bills in Texas is different depending on your unique situation, here are four plumbing upgrades that usually save on water usage and water bills:

  • Low-Flow Fixtures: Low-flow fixtures, such as faucets, showerheads, and toilets, are designed to use significantly less water without sacrificing performance. Look for certifications like EPA WaterSense® for guaranteed efficiency. These fixtures typically incorporate aerators or pressure regulators to reduce water flow while maintaining adequate pressure. By installing low-flow fixtures, you can cut down on water usage for everyday activities like showering, washing dishes, and flushing toilets, resulting in substantial savings on your water bill.
  • High-Efficiency and Dual-Flush Toilets: Upgrading your toilets can save water and money one flush at a time.
    • High-efficiency toilets
      • Use less than 1.3 gallons per flush (GPF) compared to older models that used 3-7 GPF.
      • Many qualify for the EPA WaterSense® label, guaranteeing their efficiency.
      • Can save an average household of four, thousands of gallons of water per year.
      • Offer comparable flushing performance to older models.
      • Typically, the cost is slightly more upfront, but the water savings offset the cost over time.
    • Dual-flush toilets
      • Provide two flush option
        • Full flush: uses around 1.28 GPF for solid waste.
        • Half flush: uses around 0.8-1 GPF for liquid waste.
      • Offer greater water savings than even high-efficiency toilets.
      • May require a slight behavioral change to utilize the half-flush effectively.
      • Can save even more water for households with frequent liquid waste flushes.
  • Leak Detection Systems: Early detection of even small leaks can save gallons of water. Consider installing smart leak detectors or regularly checking for drips and damp areas. Smart water meters or leak sensors can help identify and alert you to potential leaks in your plumbing system promptly. By addressing leaks early on, you can prevent water wastage and avoid costly surprises on your water bill.
  • Tankless Water Heaters: Traditional water heaters with tanks continuously heat and store water, which can result in standby heat loss and increased energy consumption. Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, heat water only when needed, eliminating the need for a storage tank. By heating water on demand, tankless water heaters reduce energy consumption and lower utility bills. Additionally, tankless water heaters typically have a longer lifespan compared to traditional tank-style water heaters, reducing maintenance and replacement costs over time.

While the upfront cost of some plumbing upgrades might seem high, the long-term savings on water bills make them worthwhile investments.

Consult Pilot Plumbing in the North Houston and Greater Montgomery County area today to find the right plumbing upgrades to reduce your water bill.

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