The annual budget for Water and Sewer expense for the coming fiscal year at Park Tower is $422,700. To give you an idea how expensive that is, our bill for Natural Gas to heat the building and heat your kitchen and bathroom water is expected to be $440,000. Now, water prices have gone up dramatically the past years, with the City passing increases between 15-25% every year since 2010. AND, it is fair to point out natural gas costs have come down.
BUT the average household at Park Tower spends as much as $550 per year as a share of the water and sewer bill. A recent survey conducted by the Management Company, DK Condo shows this to be about $200 to $225/per unit more than the average at other highrises. Our management and engineering team are looking at ways internally we can cut back, and trying to identify any maintenance issues that need to be addressed. Of course this may help lower the expense.
However, as a group, residents and owners who live here are the folks who could do the most to bring this cost down. We estimate the building could save about $100 to $150 per unit per year by reporting drippy faucets and running toilets sooner, using water efficient fixtures and incorporating water-saving practices.
And RENTERS – higher costs do mean there will be higher rent. So we need your help too!
Here are some simple and smart steps:
Report Maintenance Issues Right Away! The drippy or leaky faucet, or that toilet that constantly runs…that’s money constantly running down the drain! Call the office and put in a work order. We don’t charge labor to address most issues like this. Yes, if you need to replace your faucet or toilet, the owner will need to foot some of the cost. But over time, if you need to replace your toilet, that could pay for itself within the first year the new one is in place!
Turn It Off! Whether you are washing dishes, brushing your teeth or running the shower or bath, don’t let water needlessly go down the drawn. Sure, if it takes 30 seconds to brush your teeth, that’s just 30 seconds. But if you brush your teeth at least twice a day, that’s 6.1 hours per year. If you leave the water on while you brush, at that rate it’s like leaving the water running for over 6 hours.
Improve Your Flush! Consider installing a high efficiency labeled toilets, some of which use 20 percent less water than the average toilet, while offering equal or superior performance. Compared to older, inefficient models, some of the toilets available today can alone save $90 annually per household, and $2,000 over their average lifetimes.
Also – even if it does not seem like your toilet is constantly running, if you are really adventurous you check for toilet leaks by adding food coloring to the tank. If the toilet is leaking, color will appear in the bowl within 15 minutes. (Make sure to flush as soon as the test is done, since food coloring may stain the tank.)
Replace or Accessorize Your Faucet! There are aerators available which reduce water use and that can be a very cost-effective ways to save water. Also consider replacing the entire faucet with a high efficiency labeled model. Either way, you can increase the faucet’s efficiency by 30 percent without sacrificing performance.
Watch for the “Water Sense” label (much like Energy Star) which can help you identify faucets and fixtures which are considered efficient by the EPA.
And, we can’t tell you enough not to ignore dripping faucets and showerheads. A drip rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year.
To Shower or Not To Shower? A full bathtub can require up to 70 gallons of water, while taking a 5-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons. Mic dropped.
Lighten Your Loads! Wash only full loads of dishes and clothes or lower the water settings for smaller loads. Also, consider replacing your old washing machine with a high-efficiency, ENERGY STAR® labeled model, which uses up to 50 percent less water and electricity.
The Condo Association is doing several things to identify ways to save. Our maintenance team is laser focused on catching any pipes, pumps or equipment which may be leaking or wasting water. And many of the plumbing improvements we have done over the past decade have incorporated efforts to save water such as installing high efficiency toilets during the riser projects.
In general, if we all use common sense when we are using water, we have the potential to save thousands of dollars.