First-Time Homeowner Intel: Are Water and Sewer The Same Bill?

Congratulations on your first home — and the onslaught of never-ending utility bills that accompany homeownership. The usual utility bills are easy to figure out: energy, internet, garbage. But what about water and sewage? Is water and sewer on the same bill? And what is a sewer bill? Learn about these specific utilities in this helpful guide — and figure out how to cut down on consumption all around!


Sewer Charge vs. Water Charge


Water that comes out of the faucets in your home is charged to your water bill, while anything that goes down the drain is considered a sewer charge. Both of these charges are typically determined by the gallon.


While most water utility companies separate the two utilities, others charge one lump sum for both services. If your utility company bills them collectively, check your invoice, find the itemized section, and search for words like “sewage,” “treatment,” and “collection.”


Water, Trash, and Sewage: Apartment Edition


If you live in an apartment community, you may be charged for water, trash, and sewage in the same bill. This bill covers the same items as above – water you use and water that goes down the drain – but also includes the cost of picking up and carrying trash away. Some apartment communities use a third party with dumpsters. Others may pick up trash from your door. 


What Is a Normal Water Bill?


The cost of your water bill is a culmination of many factors, including how many people live in your household, how efficient your appliances are, and, of course, how much water you each use. A family of five in an older home may have a much higher water bill than a single person in a modern apartment! With that in mind, according to Forbes, in 2023, California had the highest monthly water bill at $77, and Wisconsin and Vermont tied for the lowest at $18. Remember that bills may also rise and fall seasonally, especially if you water your lawn or maintain a swimming pool.


What Is a Normal Sewer Bill?


Much like water bills, sewer bills are highly dependent on factors such as the number of occupants in your household and their water use habits. According to, the average sewer bill for a household in the United States is $60 to $70 per month.


How to Reduce Your Sewer Bill


You may notice that your sewer charge is often more expensive than your water charge. Simple influxes in water consumption can cause a spike in your sewer bill — extra people in your household, a leak, more frequent laundry, etc.


Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to combat this. Try these simple tactics to reduce wastewater usage and save money on your next bill.


1. Take Shorter Showers


Sure, it’s nice to stand under a hot shower for minutes on end, but you may not be doing yourself any favors when it comes to your sewer bill. The average shower uses around 15.8 gallons of water and lasts for approximately 7.8 minutes. Talk about money going down the drain.


If possible, set a timer and limit your shower use to no more than five minutes. For extra savings, try turning the water off while you lather and turn it back on to rinse off. Is that a little extreme? Perhaps, but those small steps can lead to big savings in the end.


2. Do Laundry Less Frequently


Nobody likes doing laundry, so do yourself — and your sewer bill — a massive favor by washing larger loads less frequently. Standard washing machines use up to 40 gallons of water per load, and even high-efficiency washers still use between 15 and 30 gallons for each load. That’s a lot of wastewater!


Instead of just washing a couple of shirts and a pair of pants at a time, designate one day each week as “laundry day” and opt for larger loads. By doing this, you’ll produce less wastewater, which equals less work for you. Clean clothes and a lower sewer bill? That’s a total win-win.


3. Only Run a Full Dishwasher


Dishwashers use about four to six gallons of water per cycle. That may not sound like much, but it can quickly add up! And if you think that washing dishes by hand would cause less wastewater, that’s not the case. The average faucet pumps out between three to five gallons a minute.

Wait until your dishwasher is full before running a cycle. The fewer loads you run, the less your sewer bill will be. And, if you have to wash something by hand, try filling up the sink instead of running water while you scrub.


How to Reduce Your Water Bill


When it comes to reducing your water bill, many of the same tactics apply — take shorter showers, do laundry less frequently, and run a full dishwasher whenever possible. However, there are a few other things you can do to reduce that water bill charge.


1. Fix Leaky Faucets


According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a single drop per second from a leaky faucet can lead to 2,082 gallons of wastewater per year. The good news is that you can often go to your local hardware store, gather the necessary supplies, and, if you’re handy, fix the leak yourself. If not, contacting a plumber can cost you a bit upfront but can help save you cash in the long run.


2. Upgrade Your Washing Machine


Consider purchasing a more efficient washing machine. On average, washing machines account for about 16 percent of total water usage in a household. By upgrading to an EnergyStar model, for example, you’re likely to use 33 percent less water than regular washers.


Tip: When deciding which model to get, consider opting for a front-loading machine rather than a top-loading one, as they typically run on less water.


3. Convert Your Toilets to Low-Flow


While the best option is to replace the toilet you already have with a more energy-efficient model, converting your current one to low flow is also a great alternative. Upgrading a 3.5-gallon toilet to a low-flush 1.6-gallon model can reduce toilet water usage by 54 percent. If you’re handy and want to do it yourself, there are simple tutorials. Otherwise, pay a bit more for a plumber and watch the savings roll in.


Save More With CORT Furniture Outlet!


Another fantastic way to save as a new homeowner is on home furnishings. Instead of going to a big box store, taking out a credit card, and spending thousands on furnishing your new home, visit CORT Furniture Outlet. At CORT Furniture Outlet, we offer a large selection of used furniture, decor, and more at great prices. So not only can you shop great deals to fit your budget, but you can find high-quality furniture that has been cleaned and inspected by our experts to give you peace of mind.

With discounts of up to 70% and many items available for pickup the next day, sticking to your budget has never been so easy. Browse online or visit your local CORT Furniture Outlet and see what our ever-changing inventory has to offer you today!

Find Furniture