Especially if you have a family, your water bills can feel like a bucket with a hole in the bottom. Here's some cost-free ways to get it plugged and save yourself a packet.
Having forked out for all the costs associated with moving house, any ways of cutting back on your household spending once you’re in your new home, will be welcome.
You might already be familiar with the idea of taking steps to cut your energy bills, but there are some simple ways to cut the cost of your water bills too.
Here are 7 ways to prevent water bills from draining your finances.
1. Try out a water meter
While you can’t currently switch water companies – as you can with energy and broadband companies for example – you may be able to save money by having a water meter fitted.
With a meter, you are only billed for the amount of water you use. And as a rule of thumb, you should be able to make savings if your property either has more bedrooms than people living in the property – or the same number.
In some cases, households can save more than £100 a year by making the switch.
You can trial a water meter for up to two years. And if you don’t save money – or decide it’s not for you – you can switch back.
To find out if you might be better of switching to a meter, make use an online calculator.
2. Be more water-efficient
Figures suggest that around a third of the water each person uses on a daily basis is wasted.
By using water more wisely you can make some significant savings. Here are some simple steps you can take around the home:
Taps: A running tap wastes a staggering 6 litres of water per minute, so remember to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth. Mend dripping taps too – this simple fix could save you £18 a year.
Toilet: Around a third of the total water used in a household is through toilet flushing. You can save water – and money – by installing a dual-flush toilet.
This type of toilet typically uses 4 to 6 litres of water, as opposed to the old-style flush system which use a huge 13 litres per flush.
Shower: Have a shower rather than a bath and invest in a water-saving shower head. This can cut the amount of water used by around 30%.
You could even use a timer to help you reduce the time you spend in the shower.
Kitchen: Ensure the dishwasher or washing machine is full before switching it on. Avoid half-load settings, as these use more than half the energy and water of a full load.
If you’re washing up by hand, use a bowl, rather than keep the hot tap running.
Garden: Use rainwater collected in a butt to water your plants.The average house roof in the UK collects enough rainwater in a year to fill about 450 water butts.
Car: Wash your car with a bucket, not a hose.
4. Fish for freebies
Call up your water company, as some will offer free devices that can help you reduce the water you use. This might include gizmos such as shower regulators, shower timers and tap inserts.
5. Check what you’re paying for
Did you know that if you have a soak-away in your garden – which drains the surface water from your property back into the earth – you can apply for the surface water drainage charges to be removed from your bills?
Similarly, if you’ve got a septic tank – rather than a connection to the sewerage system – you shouldn’t be paying sewerage charges.
6. Check the size of your bills
Once you’ve been in your new home for a few months, spend a few minutes comparing your latest water bill to earlier bills. If there is a big discrepancy in charges, find out why – as you may have a water leak.
Watch out for warning signs, such as damp patches inside or green patches outside.
Get help with your bills: If you are struggling with your water bills, help is available. Try the following:
Social tariffs: water companies are able to offer a reduced social tariff to eligible low-income customers. Some of these tariffs can slash bills by more than 80%.
Grants: in debt with your water bills? You might be eligible for a grant. Use this grants search tool to find out.
WaterSure: this scheme enables water suppliers to cap bills for low-income customers using a lot of water for essential family or health reasons.
6. Make use of online tools and resources
Check out the savings calculator at Savewatersavemoney. It only takes a few minutes to fill out the details needed. You then get a report showing how much water, energy and money is going down the drain around your home. You also get personalised tips, advice and devices to help you save.
Take advantage of tools and resources available from organisations such as the Consumer Council for Water and WaterWise.
WaterSafe-approved plumbers can help you make your home more water efficient. Visit WaterSafe for a list.
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