The following are top tips from a professional to help you save money on your water bills.
If there’s one three word phrase that has seemingly defined 2022 more than any other, it would surely be ‘cost of living’. From the petrol pump, to the supermarket checkout and of course our rising electricity bills, it’s no secret to any of us that the cost of living has skyrocketed this year.
And though our water bills haven’t quite garnered the attention that fuel and electricity prices may have received, it’s another expense that we must pay in order to receive the most essential of utilities.
Any opportunity to reduce our home expenses where we can is an opportunity worth taking hold of, so for now let’s focus on water. Whether you receive them monthly or on the more common quarterly cycle, here are five helpful tips to reduce your water bills.
Let’s start in the bathroom – specifically in the shower. Sure, it might be tempting to spend half an hour under the shower first thing in the morning and justify it by saying it’s to help ‘wake up’. But that is water you’re ultimately paying for.
The amount of water you use in a typical shower can vary between 6 and 45 litres per minute, depending on factors such as the water pressure and the water flow coming from the shower head. By reducing the time spent in the shower to four minutes, you can significantly cut down the amount of water you use.
Speaking of shower heads, switching to a lower flow model can also help you reduce your water consumption. If you’re concerned about the flow being so low that it’s little more than a trickle, there’s no need to be worried.
You’ll still get all you need out of your shower, but by replacing an existing shower head that runs at a 15 litre per minute flow rate with a model that reduces the flow rate to 9 litres per minute, you can save up to $210 a year.
Your local plumber will be able to advise you on the best shower head for saving water and install it as well.
As we hop out of the shower and take a quick toilet break, you can reduce your water usage in the old WC by reducing the volume of water used in each flush. Obviously, the vast majority of toilets these days come with full and half flush buttons. But it’s also possible to further reduce that water with the aid of a cistern displacement device.
You might have heard of people placing a brick in the toilet cistern as a way to cut down on the volume of water that the tank is able to hold. If you don’t want to use a brick, simply do this:
- Put some sand or pebbles into a couple of empty plastic bottles (a funnel might be useful here)
- Fill the bottles with water
- Put the caps on
- Place the bottles in the toilet cistern
You’ll need to make sure that the bottles are safely away from any functioning parts that make the toilet work. But doing so will reduce the volume of water that fills in the cistern, which means that you’ll use less water with each flush.
A leaking toilet will also use water that you’ll end up paying for, so fixing any leaks will go a long way towards reducing your water bills. Leaks don’t always present themselves immediately though, and aren’t always obvious, so how do you go about determining whether you do have one?
The easiest way to spot a leak in your toilet is with some food colouring. If you’ve got some in the kitchen pantry, put some in the toilet cistern. Be sure to not flush the toilet; wait half an hour, and if you start to notice the food colouring in the toilet, you have a leak that needs immediate attention from a licensed plumber.
As we move into the kitchen, let’s look at the way we wash our dishes.
If you’re washing your dishes by hand, whether it’s because you don’t have a dishwasher or just don’t want to wait for a full dishwasher load, don’t wash under a running tap. This will instantly drive up your water usage and consequently your water bills.
For those homes with dual kitchen sinks, fill one basin with soapy water for cleaning your dishes, and the other with rinsing water for cleaning off the soapy water. If you have just a single basin, fill that with soapy water and then clean it off with clean water from a spray bottle or a pan filled with hot water. You’ll use far less water rather than simply letting the tap run, and your water bills will reflect that.
If you do have a dishwasher, you’re best waiting until you have a full load of dishes before doing a wash. Choose a shorter, economy wash cycle as well.
If you’re concerned about a shorter cycle not being capable of washing to its full ability, you can give the dishes a quick rinse off first (see the hand washing instructions above).
And while we’re talking about waiting for a full load before washing, the same applies with your clothes and the washing machine. Wait until you have a substantial number of items to load into the washing machine before you do a wash.
When it comes to the basic needs of humanity, water is about as essential as you can get. Unfortunately, it does come at a price though. But with these helpful tips you can reduce your water usage and therefore cut down your water bills.
By simply modifying your water consumption practices, and doing things like:
- Reducing your length of time in the shower
- Switching to a low flow shower head
- Using a cistern displacement device to reduce volume of water per toilet flush
- Fixing or replacing a leaking toilet
- Not washing dishes under a running tap
- Waiting for a full load before running the dishwasher
Your household budget, and your hip pocket, will certainly thank you for it.