How to save water in your home

Caroline Cassidy

In recent years our lives have become ever more focused on energy efficiency and eco-friendly living and, with the economic downturn still affecting the majority of householders, saving money is also high on the list of priorities.

Save water at home
Save water at home

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The good news is that when it comes to water, a few simple changes can not only reduce consumption and waste but also save pennies when you really need them.

In the bathroom
Showers have long been thought of as more water efficient than the bath - this is true in some cases but power showers, which are becoming more and more popular, can easily use more. Invest in an aerated or low flow showerhead (from as little as £25) to reduce the amount of water you use.

Aerators can also be fitted as water efficient taps but even a simple thing like turning off the tap while you brush your teeth or wash your hands could significantly reduce water wastage.

Toilets too are a huge drain on your household water use. According to Waterwise, the average household flushes 5,000 times each year and the toilet accounts for 30 per cent of the water your home uses.

The majority of new loos are fitted with a water-efficient dual-flush system which reduces waste (whenever possible) from six litres to four litres.

If your toilet was installed before 2001, however, it may be worth considering a cistern displacement device such as a 'Save a flush' bag. Many water companies provide these free but they are not expensive to buy and, by displacing roughly one litre of water with each flush, you could save up to 5,000 litres a year.

In the kitchen
As with bathroom taps, an aerator or water efficient tap can save water and money in the kitchen. But there are even simpler ways to reduce the amount of water you use.

Just by using a bowl or plugging the sink instead of washing up under the tap, you could reduce water wastage by more than 50 per cent.

Many homes are equipped with dishwashers and washing machines these days and if you have a modern product, it will likely be an energy and water efficient model.

But even then, there is potential for unnecessary waste. Check the instruction manual on your dishwasher or washing machine as new efficient products will often have a water-efficient cycle and try to ensure that you are washing a full load to prevent the need for further wastage.

Water is, of course, essential for our good health and thankfully we Brits are able to enjoy H2O at the turn of a tap.

Nevertheless, most of us will have thrown a left over glass down the sink or filled the kettle to capacity when we don't really need to. Instead, boil only you need for that refreshing cuppa (saving energy as well as water), pour unwanted glasses of water over your houseplants and keep a jug of water in the fridge instead of waiting for the tap to run cold.

We've already had a dry time of it this summer and it's tempting to treat your thirsty plants to a much-needed drink.

Sprinkler systems and hosepipes are a no-no when trying to save water though, so consider switching to a watering can or, if you must use your hosepipe, fit a trigger nozzle to direct the water straight to the roots.

If you don't already have a water butt, it's worth investing for the coming autumn and winter as that free rain water will come in handy next spring. Using mulch or bark in your beds will also help to keep your plants fit and healthy by reducing evaporation.

Old bathwater can also be used to water your garden but never use it on fruit or veg and avoid using it if your young children are fans of making mud pies!

It is largely unnecessary to water your lawn - browned grass may look unattractive for a time but it will miraculously revive as soon as the inevitable rain falls.

Last but not least, muck in with a bucket and sponge when you wash your car - it will save water, money and a little elbow grease never hurt anyone!

Have you managed to save water in your home? Let us know how below...