11 July 2024

7 ways to reduce your water usage at home – as bill increases proposed

11 July 2024

Many families are feeling the pinch with spiralling utilities bills, and the announcement that our water bills will be hiked up even more over the next few years has likely added to concerns.

Under draft proposals announced by Ofwat, household water bills in England and Wales could rise by an average £19 a year over the next five years (a third less than the rises companies requested).

With this in mind, are there any helpful hacks when it comes to reducing the water consumption in your home? Here are some suggestions…

1. Install a water meter

Getting a water meter installed could help you regain a sense of control over your bills.

Water meters have risen in popularity in recent years and can provide valuable insights into your water consumption habits,” says Cheryl Risdon, client services manager at accessible bathroom specialists, Assisted Living. “Unlike the traditional method of paying your water bill, a meter allows you to pay for the exact amount of water you have used.

“This extra control and insight should encourage you to be more mindful of your water consumption and also means you are then able to detect and fix leaks promptly, preventing wastage and unexpectedly high bills.”

Risdon suggests this switch could save households between £50 and £100 per year.

2. Swap a bubbly bath for a short shower

Taking a long, warm bubble bath too often could be behind a spike in your water bill.

“For shower systems that feature standard shower heads, around 2.5 gallons of water per minute will emerge, so a 10-minute shower will use about 25 gallons of water in total,” explains Big Bathroom Shop’s in house expert Rikki Fothergill. “By contrast, filling a bath can take up to around 70 gallons of water, depending on the size – so unless you are spending an hour or so in the shower, you’ll likely use significantly more water when taking a bath.”So, how long should we be scrubbing in the shower for?

“Ideally five minutes or less – this should be plenty of time to get clean, even if you have long hair,” says Gin Tidridge, product sustainability manager at home improvement company, Kingfisher. “Our research found that bringing the time in the shower down from eight minutes to five can save up to £58 each year.”

Switching to aerated taps in your bathroom could also help.

“Aerated taps conserve water by mixing air with the water flow, reducing the volume of water used while maintaining the sensation of a strong, consistent stream,” says Fothergill. “This efficient use of water decreases overall consumption without compromising the effectiveness of the tap.”

3. Switch your shower head

Changing a standard shower head to a low-flow one is another easy way to reduce water consumption in the bathroom.

“Low-flow shower heads save water by using advanced technology to reduce water flow while maintaining adequate pressure, resulting in less water usage without sacrificing the quality of the shower experience,” explains Fothergill. “This is achieved through features like aeration, which mixes air with water, and laminar flow, which controls water stream more efficiently.”Tidridge adds: “Our research found they can save up to £89 each year and they are very easy to install – simply take off the old shower head and attach the new one!”4. Stop drips and don’t leave taps running

From dripping taps to leaving the water running when we don’t really need it – wasting water can be all too easy.

“Make a conscious decision to switch off the tap when brushing teeth, and fill up a washing up bowl rather than running the tap constantly when washing up,” advises Ronke Ugbaja, leader of product management at bathroom and kitchen solutions brand, Lixil Emena & Grohe. “Replacing dripping taps or showerheads can also provide significant savings.”

5. Switch to a dual flush toilet

“Toilet trivia isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, yet many people would be shocked to learn that most modern toilets use a huge six litres of water per flush,” says Risdon. “Replacing your toilet with a low-flush model (around four litres) is an excellent long-term investment.”

Fothergill adds: “Dual flush modern toilets conserve water by offering two flush options: a lower volume flush for liquid waste and a higher volume flush for solid waste. This system reduces overall water usage by allowing users to select the appropriate flush based on the type of waste.”

6. Make sure your dishwasher is fully loaded

So, should we be washing dirty plates and pans in the sink, or is it better to load them into the dishwasher? “Many people may be surprised to know that using a dishwasher is much more efficient than hand-washing– but make sure it’s full before you turn it on,” says Tidridge. “There’s also no need to pre-rinse your dishes before putting them in the dishwasher – most modern dishwashers are well up to the job.”

7. Install a water butt to collect rainwater

Use the wet, soggy British weather to your advantage!

“It may seem a tad extreme, but making use of rainwater will help you reduce your water consumption, lower your bills, and do your bit for the environment,” says Risdon. “Installing a water butt will allow you to collect rainwater for outdoor activities like gardening or washing your car.”

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