Hands up who doesn’t think twice before turning on the tap and filling that warm bath, or cooling off under a power shower? We tend to take our running water for granted in the bathroom, and it’s easy to forget that we are paying a lot for the pleasure of having this finite resource at our disposal.
Besides bringing down our water bills, there is a lot to be gained by being water wise and using this precious resource more efficiently and sparingly.
According to the Consumer Council for Water each person in the UK uses around 141 litres of water every day. During hot spells when it doesn’t rain for a while – like the ongoing heatwave we are enduring this summer – the demand obviously rises, and the water available diminishes. That’s why hosepipe bans have to be imposed by water utility companies, and we might even face other water rationing measures if the dry period becomes more prolonged.
If you train yourself to be mindful of your water usage in your daily routine you will bring down your water bill, be prepared when extreme weather makes water scarce, and also be benefiting the environment.
The place in your home where you use the most water is undoubtedly the bathroom. All those showers, toilet flushes, baths, hand-washes and tooth-brushings simply consume gallons of water, most of which goes straight down the plughole into the sewer system. And don’t forget that when we use water we are very often using energy to heat it too, so saving water saves energy.
How to be Water Wise
There are ways that you can make some easy changes to your bathroom routine and habits, without compromising your personal hygiene, that could add up to great water savings:
1. Opt to use the shower in preference to the bath as often as possible. The average 5-minute gravity-fed shower uses 45 litres of water, whereas the average usage every time you run a bath is 80 litres. The Energy Saving Trust says that if a family of four replaces one bath a week with a five-minute shower, they’d save around £20 a year on gas bills and £25 on water bills.
2. If you shave or wash your hair in the shower, turn the water off while you lather up, saving water until you need to rinse off.
3. Flushing the toilet accounts for around a quarter of the total water consumption in the home. Older toilets in particular are not very water efficient, so you may need to consider replacing an old model with a modern low flush or dual flush cistern or fitting a water-saving device such as a “Save-a-Flush” bag (available free from most regional Water Companies). The trick is to reduce the volume of water used to fill the toilet tank after each flush.
4. Don’t flush things like tissues or wet-wipes down the toilet. Put them in the waste bin where they belong and save a flush!
5. Check that your toilet does not have a hard-to-spot leak dribbling water into the bowl constantly. To do this put some food colouring into the tank. If the water in the bowl becomes coloured before the next flush, then you know you have a sneaky leak that needs repairing. During the course of a day such a leak could waste as much as a bathtub full of water!
6. Most of us ought to know that it is wasteful to leave the tap running while we brush our teeth over the bathroom sink. If you don’t think it is important, you may change your mind at the news that around six litres of water a minute is disappearing down the plughole while you brush! The simple solution is to fill a glass with water for rinsing, and keep the tap turned off.
7. When you wash your hands and/or face in the bathroom sink, put the plug in and fill it with enough water to do the job, rather than wash under a flowing stream from the taps.
8. A dripping tap can waste more than 5,500 litres of water a year, so make sure you turn the taps off tightly and change worn washers if taps start to drip.
9. Replacing old bathroom taps with modern low-flow, aerated or regulated flow taps makes a surprisingly big difference to your water consumption.
10. If you’re really serious about reducing your “water footprint” put a bucket in the shower to catch the excess spray and use it afterwards for a cleaning job or to flush the loo. You might also invest in a shower timer, to make sure you don’t stand under that stimulating spray too long.
If you are thinking of installing a new bathroom our experts here at Port Marine will assist you in choosing beautiful bathroom fittings that are super water efficient. It’s a great idea to take the opportunity of a new bathroom to become water-wise.