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Water saving tips

How to save water and reduce your bills

 Dripping taps and leaks

Most of us are lucky enough to have water on tap, so we tend to take it for granted. While many countries now regulate water use amid concerns about global shortages, the idea of running out of water can seem like a distant concern. However, water conservation has some direct benefits for the average UK consumer; saving water can help you to reduce energy bills by helping you cut down on hot water use, for example. Considering the fact that each of us tends to use an up to 150 litres of clean water every day, it certainly seems like there could be a little room to cut down a bit. Here's a few things you might want to try:

  1. Check for leaks. Whether it’s a tap or a pipe, fixing a small drip or leak can save over 90 litres of water per day. An easy way to check an entire house for leaks is to read the water meter before and after not using any water for two hours. If the reading has changed, there’s a leak somewhere.

  2. Do the toilet leak test. A leaky cistern can be a hidden source of water wastage. To see if your toilet tank has a leak, put a few drops of food colouring into the tank and wait for 30 minutes. If the coloured water has entered the bowl, then your toilet tank has a leak and needs to be fixed.

  3. Don’t use the toilet as a bin. Although this sounds quite basic, many people use the toilet to get rid of small bits of paper or other rubbish. That’s as much as 31 litres of clean water gone to waste each time, so you might want to consider using a bin for minor litter. If you don’t have a bin… you really should get one.

  4. Turn off the tap during tasks. Leaving a tap on for even a minute can waste over ten litres. If you’re brushing your teeth or washing just one or two dishes, there’s really no need to keep the tap on the whole time. If you’re shaving, fill up the sink a few inches and use that to rinse your razor.

  5. Consider your cooking. If you need to wash vegetables, fill a bowl with water and rinse them in there rather than using a running tap. The water can then be used to water other plants. Similarly, after boiling pasta, leave the water to cool and use it for plants afterwards. 

  6. Don’t take your time in the shower. While singing New York, New York in the shower is a time-honoured and truly noble tradition, showers use around 22 litres of water per minute. So even reducing the time by a few minutes means a lot of water will be saved. It also means saving on your gas or electricity bills as you’ll be using less hot water. Some people have even resorted to shower buckets. Instead of having a running shower, they simply fill a bucket and only use that amount to wash and rinse.

  7. Only use the washing machine and dishwasher when full. Both machines use a lot of water to make sure your clothes/dishes are clean so only use them when they are filled. The smaller loads will add up to a large amount of water wasted. If you're hand-washing your dishes, fill the sink up and use that rather than a running tap. This will also help reduce your electricity use.

  8. Install a rain barrel. Gathering rainwater that can be used for plant watering or car washing is a great way to save on the clean water from your tap.

  9. Buy water-efficient products. If you’re replacing your toilet, shower or tap, why not consider installing a water efficient model. For toilets, there are duel flush toilets that have buttons for both small and large flushes. There’s also products such as an Interflush kit that attaches to your toilet syphon and allows you to control the amount of water you use. For showers, there are water saving shower heads or water flow restrictors that are easy to install yourself. Taps can be fitted with an Aerator that limits the water flow.

  10. Insulate your hot water pipes. This is an inexpensive and easy way to get more from your hot water. Better insulated pipes heat your water faster. As a result, you don't have to run your taps as long before you take a shower or do the dishes, helping you conserve water.

  11. Wash your pets outside. If your dog needs a clean, it’s wiser to wash him or her outside - although maybe not in mid-winter. That way, any water used will then will go on your grass and plants. A more efficient method is to fill a large bucket with water and use only that. Afterwards, you can spread the leftover water to the plants in the garden. And even if you have one of those dogs that love it, maybe consider not using a hose to wash them.
For more information on efficient boilers and tips on how to get the most out of your hot water system, read our Big Boiler Handbook.

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