Saving water at home

To find out whether you use water wisely at home, try the Waterwise water usage calculator.

Toilet

  • Get a dual-flush or slimline toilet. Dual flush toilets give the option of a short flush and a long flush, whilst the average slimline toilet cistern has a 4.5 litre flush.
  • Install a water displacement device in your cistern to reduce the amount of water used for each flush. Use a Hippo bag to save up to 3 litres per flush for toilet cisterns with a 9 litre flush or greater and a Save-a-Flush bag to save up to 1 litre per flush for toilet cisterns with a 7 litre flush or greater.
  • Fit a variable flush device to an existing toilet to select the flush volume you require. They are known as retrofit low-volume flushing devices mechanism.

Bathroom

  • Switch to showers. A five-minute shower uses about a third as much water as a regular bath. By taking a shower rather than a bath you can save over 300 litres of water a week this way as well energy on heating the water. Be careful if you have a power shower as they can use more water than a bath!
  • Fit a water efficient showerhead to further reduce the amount of water you use (NB these should not be fitted to electric showers as this can lead to overheating of the water).
  • Do not leave the tap running whilst brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your hands. You can save more than 10 litres every time you brush.

Plumbing

  • Fix leaking taps. A dripping tap can waste up to 140 litres a week but a new washer costs a few pence and can be fitted in minutes.
  • Reduce your tap flow-rate by up to 50% by fitting an aerator or spraying device to washbasin taps.

Garden

  • Collect rainwater from the roof of your house, garage, greenhouse or shed using a water butt. You can then use the stored water on your plants and lawn. Plants actually prefer rainwater to treated tap water. Installing a water butt is easy and can considerably reduce the amount of tap water you use. You can purchase discounted water butts from Thames Water.
  • Do not hose, rather use a watering can or bucket.

Water meter

  • Measure up. Install a water meter so you can monitor how much you use. If you are a low water use this will save you money as well. For more information and to request a water meter please visit please visit Thames Water. If you have a water meter you can check for leaks by turning off the water and taking two readings several minutes apart. If the readings are different there may be a leak.

Use water efficiently

  • Buy low water use appliances. When buying a new dishwasher or washing machine look for the EU energy label which will also tell you how much water is used per wash, and how much energy it uses. Choose an appliance with an ‘A’ rating and one that uses less than 50 litres per wash for a washing machine and less than 15 litres per wash for a dishwasher. This will save you both water and electricity.
  • Wash with a full load. Wait until you have a full load before switching on your washing machine or dishwasher. A full load uses much less water and electricity than two half-load cycles.
  • Only fill kettles and pans with enough water for what you need. This will save you not only water but also gas/electricity.
  • Keep a bottle or jug of water in the fridge rather than running the tap until the water runs cold.

Many of these measures will also save energy on heating water, and thus reduce your energy bills.