The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has officially been categorized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a pandemic, meaning infection is accelerating in multiple countries concurrently. The United States of America has declared travel bans on 28 European countries, many countries have closed schools and universities, and large gatherings of people have been stopped.
High-profile companies such as Google and Microsoft are encouraging or mandating that staff adopt a work-from-home policy. Many states have mandated people stay at home.
That means that millions of people are now confined to their home at all, or most, hours of the day.
During times like these, it understandable to not focus on the impact staying home may have on your utility bills. But, the fact remains, being home 30-50% more during the day can lead to higher bills and more wear and tear on your home.
The average American uses 101.5 gallons of water per day at home. This is a very rough estimate based on a number of factors. One of which, is that people leave their house for a period of time during the day. Whether for work or school, not all their water consumption happens at home.
You can see in the graph below that the average American water bill for a family of 4 using 100 gallons per day per person is $70.39.
Now, that that same family of 4 and make them stay home for the entire day. Instead of going to work or school for 8-10 hours per day, they are at home using toilets, drinking water, bathing, etc. Let's do some math on how much that will cost you on your water bill.
Typically, there is very little water used while you sleep so we can cut out roughly 8 hours per day. So, during a typical 16-hour water usage day, the family of 4 is normally only home for 8 of those hours.
But, currently millions of Americans are now home all 16 of those hours. That could lead to a 50% increase in water usage per day.
That water bill that was only $70 last month could easily be over $100 this month.
The Hard Water Impact
If we assume that we are using 50% more water at home during quarantine, we can also assume that hard water may drastically shorten the lifespan of our appliances during this time.
Roughly 85% of Americans have a varying degree of hard water. Without a water softener or another form of water treatment, that hard water is running through your appliances, your sink, your shower, and any other water-using products in your home.
The problem with hard water is that those minerals can build up in plumbing, appliances, showers, tubs, and sinks and can greatly reduce the lifespan or cause costly repairs. Also, hard water does not interact with soap and detergent as well, meaning it takes more to get your clothes and yourself clean. Some people can actually taste a very noticeable difference between hard water and soft water.
Add It All Up
If you add it all up; the drastic increase of water usage, the hard water impact on your home and appliances, and the added cost of soap/detergent you can see how staying at home can have a significant impact on your budget.
Remember, this is just water. This doesn't cover electricity, the internet, or any other utility you will be using more while staying at home.