Water usage around the home can be categorised as both direct and indirect. Direct water usage is conscious use of water around the home, be that turning the tap on or taking a shower. Indirect water usage is the water needed to produce the goods or services that you buy on a day to day basis. Whilst it can be difficult to lower our indirect water usage, reducing the amount of water we consume in the home can be a simple task.
Here are a few easy ways to reduce your water usage in the home:
In the shower
A standard five minute shower can use around about 35 litres of water or, if you’re using a power shower, you can be using anything up to 125 litres. By shortening your shower by 4 minutes each day, you can save yourself up to 3000 gallons of water per year, not to mention giving you 4 minutes of extra lay in time every day!
If you’re not willing to give up any of your morning spritz time, then you could always install a water saving shower head. Water saving shower heads either restrict the flow of water, allowing you to use much less in a period of time than a standard shower head, or contain a sensor that alerts you when you’ve used a pre-set amount of water.
Mix it up
If you’re a regular bath dweller, it might be a good idea to mix it up a little and opt for a shower every now and again. The typical bath uses around 100 litres of water which is almost three times as much as a shower so the water saving can be vast. If this sounds like a bit of an ask, try filling up your bath a little less or add some more bubble bath so the water feels deeper than it is. If you find yourself topping up the water in a bath every so often because it’s going cold, you could always purchase a reinforced acrylic or steel bath. Both of these types of bath retain heat for anything up to 30 minutes longer than a conventional bath, eliminating any need for a quick bath top up.
At the toilet
Reduce your flush
Around about a third of all water usage in the average household is flushed down the toilet. A lot of the time, the culprit is an old cistern with a high flush capacity that uses a lot more water than is necessary. This is remedied by adding some sort of displacement device to the cistern, be that anything as simple as adding a rubber brick to the tank or purchasing special plumbers tools such as a Hippo bag. Newer cisterns will often have a dual flush system, allowing much more control over the water used with each flush.
Check for leaks
Sometimes, old cisterns can be leaking water without you ever knowing it. The quickest way to determine if you have a leaking cistern is to add a little food colouring into the tank. If you see any coloured water running down the pan without you ever having pushed the flusher, then you may well have a crack or leak. A lot of the time, this can is a cheap and quick fix that you’re plumber will be more than happy to implement.
At the basin
Don’t leave taps running
We’re all a bit guilty of leaving the tap running when we’re brushing our teeth. In reality, our brief moment of laziness can cause as much as 10 litres per minute of water wastage. Research has shown that if everyone in the UK turned their taps off whilst brushing their teeth, there would be 960 billion litres of water saved every single year - that’s enough water to fill 384,000 Olympic sized swimming pools! If turning your taps off when you’re brushing your teeth isn’t for you, then you could always install an eco-friendly tap. A ‘stepped lever’ is incorporated into the design of the tap to restrict the flow of water with the push of a lever or click of a button, allowing you to have an (almost) guilt free brush in the morning.
It’s not just running taps that can be a problem within the bathroom. Leaking taps are also a huge contributor to water waste around the home and can account for anything up to 90 litres of wasted water every week. If you have an old washer tap, then the leak is more often than not going to be a broken washer. The cost of fixing a washer within a tap is around about 50p and will save you around £18 per tap, per year. Newer, ceramic disc taps can sometimes leak too if they’re blocked, scaled up or damaged. If they’re scaled up or blocked, submerge the ceramic disc in vinegar to quickly dissolve or wash away the problem.