Prolonged period at home may mean water consumption has risen
We’ve all been spending more time at home than we ever have before during lockdown and this can have a significant effect on our bills. Food, electricity and gas consumption has risen for most, plus, if you are on a water meter, your water bills will have no doubt got bigger. Even if you’re not on a meter, you may be concerned about the ecological impact of increased water use.
There are, however, several things that you can do to reduce how much water you use and, more importantly, how much water you waste.
Doing small things can make a huge amount of difference in terms of the volume of water used. Here are some of the most common ways we waste water without even realising, as well as what you can do about it.
Allowing the tap to run
Cleaning our teeth, waiting for water to get hot or cold, rinsing dirty plates etc. All these activities can waste more water than we actually use. The following habits will help to reduce this:
- Turn the tap off while brushing teeth. Only turn it on when you’re actually rinsing the toothbrush
- Catch any water you’re running while waiting for it to get warm. This can then be used on the garden or for cooking
- Fill jugs or bottles with water and keep in the fridge so that you always have cool drinking water to hand
- Rather than rinsing dirty crockery individually under the tap, fill the washing up bowl with a couple of inches of water (this could be water you’ve already collected) and swill dishes out in this before placing in a dishwasher or washing by hand. If you have several items to rinse (eg after a meal), this will use much less water
Most people have several appliances in the kitchen that use water. Using the appliance itself is not wasteful, but there are ways you can use them to improve water efficiency:
- Always ensure that the dishwasher and washing machine are full before turning on. You will use the same amount of water regardless so it’s more efficient for it to be at full capacity
- Only boil the amount of water you need in the kettle. This primarily saves power but also reduces loss of water through steam
- If you have a condenser dryer, use the water from the container, that usually requires emptying, on the garden
- Retain the water that you cook with (such as for boiling vegetables). You can use it for stock (freeze it in ice cube trays) or allow to cool and use on the garden. You can use less water for cooking by using a steamer, which stacks pans and only needs a small amount of water at the bottom
Items in need of a fix
You would be surprised at how much water can be wasted every year simply by not attending to minor faults and leaks. Address the following to conserve water (and spare you greater problems down the line)
- Dripping or leaky taps or showers could see up to 60 litres of water being wasted every week. A dripping tap will never just get better by itself so fix it before it gets worse. If you can’t do it yourself, call a plumber in
- Running toilets can waste a lot of water. This means that water is being released into the bowl in between flushing. This can account for up to 600 litres of water wasted per day!
- If you have to run the tap for a long time before it becomes warm, it may be an issue with the boiler. Get this checked out by a heating engineer
- Leaking pipes can cause you a much bigger issue than wasted water if not attended to. Have a look round and make sure yours are all ok. Low water pressure can be a sign that there is a leak somewhere
Get into good habits
Small changes in how you do things can make a big difference.
- Baths use much more water than showers so if you’re a bath lover, try to switch to showers
- Use a water efficient shower head. Some showers, such as power showers, can actually use more water than baths. An efficient shower head will reduce the amount of water used
- Limit time in the shower. If you switch to showers but spend twenty minutes under the water it defeats the purpose of the exercise so try and be time efficient as well as water efficient
In the garden
Gardens can account for a high volume of water consumption during the summer when it’s warm but there are also lots of opportunities to be water efficient here.
- Install a water butt. A water butt in the garden will capture rain water and this can be used to water the grass and the plants. You can even use it with a pressure washer. It’s also kinder to plants than treated mains water
- Use little tricks to allow your plants to make maximum use of rain fall. Water beads that store and then slowly release water in the soil or simple plastic bottles with the bottom cut off and placed upside down in the soil will catch rain water and allow it to soak in over time
- Water the garden when cool so you don’t lose as much to evaporation
While all these ideas are great for saving money during lockdown, they’re actually good ones to stick to anyway, and don’t require too much effort or sacrifice. Why not put them in place and see the difference you can make?
If you do need a plumber or heating engineer to deal with dripping taps, leaking toilets or under-performing boilers, you can call us on 0800 032 6478 or complete the form here.