12 ways to save water and money

I don’t know about you but I got a bit of a shock when I saw how much my water bills had shot up when we went into lockdown last year

All of that time spent at home instead of using water outside of the house.

Since then we’ve implemented a few methods at home to try to reduce our water use.

And we seem to have managed it! 

The good news is that if we are using less water we’ll also be spending less money! Here in the UK if you don’t have a water meter it is usually worth asking your ultilty company to install one for you. In fact, our utility company came around and installed smart water meters on our street this year, which is pretty cool!

How much water does the average household use?

A single person household uses an estimated 149 litres per day, which almost doubles to 276 litres per day in a two person household. This equates to approximately 54 cubic meters of water per person annually. The average family of four in the UK could use more than 500 litres of water each day.

Something to note is that it is estimated that unmetered households use 3% more water than metered households. This equates to approximately 72 litres per week, or about 3,700 litres a year.

Why should we save water?

Water is all around us isn’t it? Rivers, lakes, our seas and oceans. There seems to be an endless supply. So why are we encouraged to save as much as possible?

Well, the fact is that less than 1% of the earths water is usable to us! The rest of the water is stored in the oceans, frozen in ice and floating around in the atmosphere. On top of that, out of the freshwater that is available for human use, a huge 70% goes to agriculture. Limiting even further, water available for household use.

Water is a precious resource. Sometimes it may not feel like it – especially in the UK where it feels like it’s always raining. But climate change, and the more extreme weather that comes with it, means that water supply is becoming more unpredictable than in years gone by. If we can use water more wisely in our homes, gardens and workplaces, we can ease the pressure on our wetlands and rivers in these times of stress.

On top of all of that, water use accounts for 6% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions. A massive 89% of this comes from heating water in our homes. The remaining 11% comes from pumping and treating water as part of the supply and sewage network. If we use less water, it will reduce the volume of water pumped, heated at home, and treated. Energy bills and carbon emissions can be cut simply by being more aware of how we use water: use less, reduce both water and energy bills and reduce emissions.

It’s actually a win-win-win!

Onto the 12 ways to save money and save water on a budget

These are the ways that we have reduced our water use plus some added extras that we are planning to try out this year.

1. Stay on top of leaks

Check for inefficient appliances or dripping taps. A dripping tap can waste over 3 litres of water every day. That’s over 1,000 litres a year.

2. Use your dishwasher

Using a dishwasher is more water efficient and energy efficient than running the taps to wash dishes by hand!

I just LOVE this! My dishwasher is probably one of my favourite purchases I have made for my house. The best thing about it was that I found it discounted in my local John Lewis because it had been returned due to a small dent in the front panel. As my kitchen is so small you can barely see the dent but I get to save time, water and money every time I use my dishwasher. 

I swear that dishwashers also save on household arguments over the washing up!

My top tips for using your dishwasher: 

  • Don’t rinse your plates before you put them into the dishwasher! This just defeats the object!!
  • Wait until your dishwasher is full before putting it on. This usually takes my household a couple of days. It just means that it runs at the most efficient it can be.
  • If you can delay your dishwasher cycle until around 3am you’ll also be drawing energy from the grid at the least energy intensive time of the day! Not water saving but CO2 saving!

3. Take shorter showers and fewer baths

Shortening your showers by 60 seconds can save 15 litres of water. We made it a bit of a competition in our house to see who could have the shortest showers. This is our second tip that saves money, water and time!

I’m definitely not saying that you should never have a bath, if you’re a bath lover then I can see how they can be a wonderful part of your self care routine. Having said that, on average a shower will use 50 litres of water whereas a bath uses 115litres so swapping from a bath to a shower every once in a while could really add up.

When you do take a bath how about using the leftover water in your garden?

If everyone you know spent 1 min less in the shower it would save a huge amount of water. Plus it would save money on your water and energy bills. A family of 4 could save as much £120 per year!

Waterwise have created a Spotify playlist of 4 minute songs. Put one of these 4 minute songs on and try and finish your shower before the song ends!

4. Collect rain water

I collect rainwater in a number of ways, which helps me to keep my garden and houseplants watered throughout the year.

My neighbour has a gutter that drips into my garden, which I place a bucket under and it fills up surprisingly quickly! When we start to approach the drier spring and summer months I will often collect bottles from the house and start to fill them up from the bucket and keep a collection ready for when I need it.

I also have a water butt connected to one of my downpipes. It only comes off a small flat roof but it also fills up quickly when we’ve had rain. The great thing is that it’s so compact. I only have a small garden so I didn’t want to have something that takes up too much space. Even though it’s compact it still holds 100 litres of water!

When I was researching a water butt I found out that some water suppliers have discount offers on them to encourage you to save water so it might be worth checking with your water company.

5. Reduce the size of your cistern

A third of water used in the home goes down the toilet. Cistern Displacement Devices (CDD) are a super affordable way to reduce the amount of water we flush down the toilet. They are placed in the cistern and save around 1 litre of water for each flush.

A CDD is placed in the cistern to displace around 1 litre of water every time you flush. They are super easy to install.

Check out tip number 12 and see whether you can get your hands on a CDD through your water company.

6. Replace taps and shower heads with low flow

Nine litres of water flow through open taps each minute. If you’re refitting a kitchen or bathroom consider purchasing low-flow taps to reduce the amount of water that flows through them. These kinds of taps can use up to 60% less water and you won’t even notice a difference!

An alternative to this if you don’t want to replace your taps is to add an aerator to your existing taps. They’re super inexpensive and save you money by reducing the water flow through your taps.

7. Turn off the taps while brushing your teeth

This one’s a classic! If you turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, you could save around 12 litres of water. Every. Single. Time.

According to Waterwise, if each adult in England and Wales turned off the tap when brushing their teeth, we’d save enough water for nearly 500,000 homes or to fill 180 Olympic swimming pools – every day!

8. Use a watering can instead of a hose

A hosepipe can use as much as 1,000 litres of water an hour.

If you water your garden in the early morning and late afternoon this will reduce evaporation and also save water.

9. Use a mulch in the garden

Cover soil with pebbles, gravel or bark to keep the moisture in the soil. It’ll keep the weeds back too – win, win!

I’ve recently started using Shell on Earth on my houseplants and even in planters in the garden. It looks wonderful and they are a lovely family owned business focused on sustainability.

10. Fill up your washing machine and dishwaher 

If you do 1 full load of washing instead of 2 half loads you could save 10 litres of water so wait for them to fill up before you set them going.

11. Use a washing up bowl

If you don’t have a dishwasher use a washing up bowl instead of letting the tap run. Also use the same bowl of water to wash fruit and veg. Once your water is caught in the bowl you can use this to water your plants.

12. Request a water saving kit from your water supplier

My water supplier has a water saving kit for both the garden and your home. They’re usually free and will contain some really helpful parts to help you save water in the house.

In ours we had:

  • a shower timer – make showers a competition to see who can have the shortest shower!
  • water efficient tap inserts – these could cut the water flow in half 
  • save-a-flush bag – placing this in your toilet cistern saves 1 litre of water per flush
  • swell gel crystals – placed in the compost these crystals reduces how much your plants need watering

So that’s the list of 12. What do you think? Has your household water usage gone up in the last year? Will you be trying any of these tips out in your home?

Let me know what you think, I’d love to hear from you! Also, if you enjoyed this post I would love it if you’d subscribe to the Conscious Crew mailing list and you’ll be notified when I release more posts.

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