As part of my No Spend Challenge for the Year I am looking at my ‘fixed’ bills. I have found that actually a few of them are less ‘fixed’ than you might think. The first is my regular £60 a month Direct Debit to the water company. This amounts to around £720 a year. The average water bill each month is around £34. So we could probably look at our bill!
How can I reduce my water bill?
We are two adults in a three bedroomed house. It is a small three bedroomed house but it is still assumed that on average most houses this size will have three or more people living in them. However the water company will make a judgment based on the rateable yield for your property. So our three bed in the midlands would rate for more than our three bed in West Wales. Hence the massive jump! Now obviously some households will use more than the average for that rental and some will use less.
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Meaning sometimes they lose money and sometimes they make money. So by asking to pay by a meter you are asking to pay for the units you use and only the units you use.
How does my water bill work?
All bills come in two sections;
- the fresh water that comes from your taps – hot or cold
- the sewerage drain off, sometimes referred to as foul water or grey water. It is what goes back into the sewers and is estimated at around 95% of what goes in.
If you have a vacant property for any length of time have a look at the governments help site, Ofwat.gov.uk.
Is a meter right for me?
The average household water bill is at around £400 pa. We don’t love to waste water as it has to be treated and there is an environmental impact that comes with that. So we believe that even with a garden we will save money on a metered service. This decision may not be the right one for you so there are a few sites which allow you to check like a water meter calculator.
After having used the calculator I can see massive savings for us with a meter!
Firstly let’s make sure we are still all on the same page for how to save water!!
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How do we use water? How do I reduce my water usage?
Ban the hose
like seriously completely ban it. Not for watering the plants, not for cleaning the car and not for filling the pond! We have two water butts that we managed to buy in the sale from
Water Butts Direct.
We don’t even use a watering can that we have bought as we are that frugally minded that we use Plastic Bottle Recycled to a Watering Can.
That is just the zero waste eco warrior inside of me coming out but it does save money by not buying a watering can! You can also try a
Soil moisture sensor. The one shown requires no batteries and is relatively affordable. For less of a beginners kit and more of a high tech version you can try
Gardena Soil Moisture Sensor as this will monitor moisture as you are watering the crops! Very much more of a remote soil moisture sensor and suitable for the inner geek within us all.
For washing the car use water in a bucket and rinse down with a fresh bucket and sponge.
When you fill the pond with rain water it allows for a wider spectrum of native wildlife to flourish and themiddlesizedgarden.co.uk has a lovely article outlining the reasons why and some fun ideas for getting a small pond started. For a more detailed look check out happydiyhome.com for more!
Share a bath?
Well this is one of the more popular ideas! We tend to shower and don’t take long as we are always in a rush to leave the house. I do like a bath occasionally though and when I do I make sure I enjoy it to the maximum. I use lots of bath bombs and lots of bubbles. Hopefully this year I will share some ideas for making your own as some of them do still come wrapped in single use plastics! The one shown here is organic and wrapped in paper, and very suitable for a luxury bath!
Turn off the tap!
An obvious sounding one, but when cleaning our teeth we use around 6 litres of water a minute. Now I’m pretty sure I take longer than a minute to brush mine, but only dip the toothbrush under the tap two or three times. What about rinsing under the tap before you wash up? That sounds a good idea. One which is all the better if you use this fab idea of an altered nozzle and Kayla from writingfromnowhere.com has a great review to help you decide if it is the right decision for you! So if you struggle to get the kids or SO on board perhaps this is an investment worth making? We have an article around a zero waste kitchen and that has a few other options for getting the most from what you are paying for in the kitchen!
Reduce toilet water usage
For those of us who hate the phrase ‘if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down’ perhaps we could look at a toilet cistern block like a
Hippo the Water Saver.These are specifically designed not for the slimline type cistern but for those without a limiter. You can still avoid a few flushes throughout the day if you like too!
Let’s talk toilet flush water usage. Average toilets of the older type use around 14 litres per flush. meaning that the average person uses around 72 litres of water flushing a toilet each day. So for a family of four the toilet flush water consumption will sit at around 280 litres of fresh clean, drinking water per day.
Now let’s compare to dual flush water usage. It is first of all important that all users of the dual flush know which button is for which function! If used correctly the dual flush cistern could reduce water usage by 30% a day.
Washing up versus a dishwasher!
By using products which are not harmful to the environment like
you can reuse your washing up water for the plants! So this also leads on to always using a washing up bowl, you will use less water and it will be immediately transportable. Even if you are just topping up the water butt.
If you use a dishwasher there are savings to be made, but only when you fill it up completely! Dishwasher water usage can vary hugely and it may be a topic I return to if there is enough interest! There is also a case for hardwater dishwasher versus washing up with eco liquid, so we can revisit that in the future too. If washing up you can also use our zero waste no spend environmentally friendly scourer pad as this will reduce your overall costs.
Keep a fresh cold drink of water at hand
As simple as that keep a jug filled with tap water in the fridge. You wont need to run the tap to get it cold.
For us we are going to get a water meter. The calculator that I used shows we can save around £350 every year. So it is a simple yes. We may be able to save even more if we follow our own advice. Eventually we will look to build our own off grid homestead and then we can get super serious about rainwater harvesting!
I would like to leave you all with a link to a small article from Oxford Brookes on the environmental impact of ‘cleaning’ water for human consumption. As you may have a large family and it may not initially seem achievable. So if the financial costs aren’t an incentive perhaps the carbon ones will be?
WE love saving money and the hopefully contributing to saving the planet too. So if we have inspired you at all please do share this and get involved with our other media via our Facebook Page or even our Facebook Group Zero Waste No or Low Spend Ideas and Inspiration.
The main thing is to try and reduce your usage and then decide if you are ready as a household to take that plunge! I would advise it to anyone with more rooms than people living in the house, but also to all those who can be economical with their use.
How to reduce water waste!
- get a big butt
- turn off the tap
- shower or get cosy in a bath
- think before you flush
- wash up to create grey water
- chill the tap water ready in the fridge
- hand wash your car
- get a meter if you are confident that you fit the criteria!
You can also create a Zero Waste Bathroom which will involve some start up costs, but operate on a replace like for zero waste like basis.
Final Ways to reduce your household bills
Keep up to date with our page and the hints we have. I personally love the no spend challenge, and any ideas you may need can be found here.
Once you look inside teh house, why not start to look elsewhere as well like even how to cut the costs of your drive to work?
However you decide to reduce your waste, know that you are making a difference!