Reducing our energy and water usage is something many of us are trying to do at the moment. Every day, we seem to wake up to new reports about global warming and dangerous emissions. Our bills also seem to increase year on year. So what can you do to help?
Have a think about some of the ways you can save energy and water at home. Perhaps you could turn your thermostat down by one degree or add an extra layer of insulation in your loft. Maybe you could fill your washing machine instead of only washing a few items. These things don’t necessarily save a lot of energy or water separately, but when combined, they could make a big impact.
So, how can you reduce your water usage easily at home? We’ve outlined some of the most effective ways below, so give them a try.
There are many ways that you can start to reduce your water usage at home without making a huge impact on your life.
Taking shorter showers is one of the biggest ways you and your family can start to save water at home. The average person showers for around eight minutes. While this doesn’t seem like a long time, over seven litres of water are used for every minute the shower is on. Therefore, showering for five minutes instead of eight could save around 21 litres of water per person in your household. Power showers use almost twice as much water as regular gravity-fed or electric showers, so this could even increase to around 42 litres per person. Reducing the amount of time you’re using the shower for could make a big difference.
Leaks are not only a waste of water, but they could be seriously increasing your water bill. This can be frustrating, particularly when it’s water that you’re not even using. A dripping tap can waste as much as 80 litres of water per day, enough to fill a bathtub. A leaking toilet could waste five times this amount - around 400 litres of water per day and enough to fill over four bathtubs.
While it’s quite easy to see whether a tap is leaking water, it can be harder to tell if your toilet is leaking. The leak might not make any noise and generally can’t be seen. The easiest way to check is to apply some dye to the toilet tank. If the dye appears in your bowl without flushing the toilet (check after a few hours) then your toilet is leaking water when it shouldn’t be. You should call a qualified plumber to take a look at this for you.
You may also want to check if your boiler is leaking water too. Leaks are most common around pipe joins but can also be a sign of a valve fault or corrosion. If you can see or feel water around the section where two pipes join together then you may have a small leak. This is also a common problem for sink and shower joins too. For other issues, like a valve fault, you may be best calling in a heating engineer to determine the cause of the leak and fix it.
This may seem obvious, however a lot of water wastage in homes is caused by taps that are left on when they’re not in use. Do you ever leave the cold water running when you brush your teeth? Turning the tap off during this time could save around six litres of water per minute. For a family of five, this could be the equivalent of one five-minute shower every day. You could do the same in the shower while you’re shampooing your hair or waiting for your conditioner to work its magic. Turn the shower off during these tasks to save even more water.
Do you leave the cold water to run for a long time before filling up a glass to drink? Many people don’t like tepid water but leaving the tap to run for a long time is a waste. If you prefer to drink water when it’s cold, you could put some in a jug in the fridge to save water.
Toilets are sometimes used for more than just flushing away waste. Have you ever blown your nose and flushed the tissue down the toilet? Next time you do this, think about the water wastage and throw the tissue in the bin instead. Doing this just once could save around six to 10 litres of water from one flush.
This also goes for flushing wipes. Putting baby wipes, make-up wipes or antibacterial wipes down the toilet can cause blockages. The wipes end up in the ocean too, adding to the amount of pollution. Instead, put your wet wipes in the bin.
A quick and easy way of saving water in the shower is to install a water-saving showerhead. These aerate the flow, increasing the amount of air in the water so that you don’t lose pressure but use less water. Alternatively, you can have a flow regulator installed. Instead of increasing the air in the water, they reduce the flow of water from seven litres to around five litres per minute.
If your toilet has a button flush, it’s likely that there are two flushing options. Have you ever noticed how the button is split into a smaller half and a bigger half? These increase or decrease the amount of water that is used for the flush, depending on how much water you need. Using the smaller button will release a reduced amount of water from the tank.
A bath uses lots more water than a shower does. A gravity-fed shower will use around 35 litres of water in five minutes and a power shower will use nearly double this amount at 60 litres. A full bath uses around 80 litres of water.
However, you shouldn’t always avoid a bath. It might be more beneficial to bathe three children together than it is to give them separate baths or showers, so be smart with your water usage.
The best way to work out your water usage is to use an online tool, such as aqKWa’s water usage calculator*. The tool is quite accurate and will tell you how many litres of water you’re using per day, month or year. It’ll even recommend ways in which you can save water around the home and garden.
Alternatively, if you have a water meter, you’ll be able to see exactly how much water you’re using on your water statement.
*Viessmann are not affiliated with this tool.