The risk of high water bills is real. Every week there’s a story in the news about an unfortunate Canadian who gets slapped with a sudden high water bill. But, summer is the time when high water bills can surprise you most. Lawn care, filling your pool, or leaving the hose on are just some of the causes.
Going on summer vacation means there’s a chance a water using fixture or appliance will run up a high water bill because you weren’t there to check on it. Drought warnings like the ones in 2016 mean that water conservation is especially important at this time of year.
Here are 10 tips to help reduce wasted water and prevent high water bills at any time during the brief, but beautiful Canadian summer:
1. Turn off water at the property when you’re on vacation. There’s a catch with this one, however. This only makes sense if your property will be vacant for extended periods of time. But even then, if someone is coming by to water plants or check up on the property, they will need the water to be left on.
2. Water the lawn during the coolest parts of the day for 30 minutes. By watering when it’s not hot, less water will evaporate and you’ll use less water to keep your grass green.
3. Don’t frown at brown. Discoloured lawns are not the end of the world….and will bounce back to green when it rains.
4. Plant hardier, water resilient plants. Or, reduce the size of the coveted all-grass yard with other landscaping options like a rock garden.
5. Capture rainwater. With summer comes thunderstorms and torrential rains and using a rain barrel (or two) to capture rainwater helps you to use less water from your garden hose.
6. Do a toilet audit. The biggest culprit for high water bills is the toilet. This is the type of leak that goes undetected because a running toilet may be in a bathroom that isn’t used as frequently or cannot be heard. There are smart water flow sensors that accurately monitor all water usage at a property and can detect things like leaky toilets.
7. Understand your typical water usage. According to the Government of Canada, Canadians use about 251 L a day. If your family of four uses 2,000 L a day, that’s too much and you need to start looking at how you use water. Smart water flow sensors can help with this, too.
8. Replace plumbing fixtures that are leaky, and check fixtures that are exposed to fluctuating hot and cold temperatures. Other common causes of wasted water include faucets and water supply lines to a dishwasher or refrigerator.
9. Upgrade your toilet, faucet and shower head by choosing water-efficient alternatives. Check your city’s website for rebates. Some will cover 50% or more to replace inefficient appliances.
10. Install intelligent leak and flood detection sensors that quantify your water use and detect unusual water incidents and floods in real time. Smart water flow devices that use Internet of Things (IoT) technology like the Flowie water flow sensor help alert property and homeowners to hidden leaks and floods by benchmarking normal water usage and supplying meaningful information for water loss prevention. Devices that include back-up battery power and can connect to a cellular network without needing access to WiFi are more reliable in the event of a power outage, often when they are needed the most.
Many people take the abundant water supply that we have in Canada for granted, but we should understand and be responsible for our own water usage to ensure that everyone can continue to enjoy this valuable resource.
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Amid a wave of sump pumps, backwater valves and other methods designed to keep home basements dry comes a new, simple way to mitigate flood risk – an e-sensor.
George Tsintzouras, CEO and co-founder of Canadian water tech company Alert Labs, became interested in creating such devices based on a bad experience he remembers as a property owner.