Water is an essential component of life, something we in the UK are able to take for granted.
While some countries struggle to maintain an adequate supply, our rainfall and climate can be relied upon to replenish our reservoirs and treatment plants, ensuring a constant supply for our homes and businesses. This holds true even in the occasional heatwave during the summer months, where the greatest hardship we tend to face is a short-term hosepipe ban.
In terms of costs, the average water and sewerage bill in England and Wales will be £395 for 2017-2018. Bills, however, tend to rise year-on-year, with this years’ prices increasing by 2% compared with the 2016-2017 rates.
Given that our privatised system locks, landlords, tenants and homeowners into a specific water company, we can’t swap suppliers, as is the case for utilities such as gas and electricity. So how can water bills be kept to a minimum? According to Russell Morgan of Flux Pumps, providers of equipment to the water and wastewater industry, there’s a lot that can be done to reduce water usage within the home. By installing the correct appliances and applying simple changes to our daily routine, we can all make significant savings. Here are five top tips to help you save money:
Install a water meter
If you don’t already have one, it’s worth thinking about installing a water meter. As a simple rule of thumb, if there are more or the same number of bedrooms in your house than people, it’s beneficial to install a water meter. On average, you can save approximately £100 a year with a water meter and homeowners with one installed tend to be far more mindful of their water usage. You can switch back within 2 years, so if you’re not seeing any savings, you can easily reverse this decision. When we’re performing a check out inspection, this is a mandatory part of our report.
Change your routines
Given that a shower uses approximately 35 litres of water, whereas a bath uses a whopping 80 litres, it’s definitely worth opting for a shower rather than turning on the bath taps. Research shows this could save households nearly £50 a year. Also consider installing an electric shower rather than a power shower – these use considerably less water – as well as water efficient showerheads.
These changes will not only save money on water usage but will also reduce energy consumption. As a nation of tea lovers, another simple but effective tip is to avoid overfilling the kettle. This can cost households up to £18 per year, translating to a total bill of £145.4 million across the 27 million households in the UK and adding nearly £150million to the nation’s energy bill each year.
Check your flush
Toilet flushing accounts for 30% of the water we use. If you have a dual flush cistern, bear in mind that using a short flush will save around 2 litres of water. If you don’t have a water-saving cistern, consider using a save-a-flush bag. Available free of charge from many water companies, this is a harmless bag of crystals, which when placed in your toilet cistern will expand and save 1 litre of water every time you flush.
Check for any leaks
A dripping tap might be just seen as an annoyance, but it will cost you annually. Make sure to check all your taps, toilets and showers for any leaks and replace any faulty parts. If your bills appear to be too high, there may be a leak in the pipework that you can’t see or a problem with the water tank, so investigate any such anomalies.
Look at water use outside your property
Gardening and car cleaning account for the majority of our outdoor use of water.
Given that hoses and sprinklers use approximately 1,000 litres of water per hour – the equivalent of 12 baths – a couple of simple changes here can have a positive impact on your water bill. Rather than use a hose or pressure washer to clean your car, switch to a bucket and sponge. Also, purchase a water butt to harvest rainwater and use this to water your plants. Not only is rainwater free and tends to be in plentiful supply but as hosepipe bans don’t apply to water butts, you can continue to use a hose even when restrictions are in place.