Water bills rose by by 7.5% from April, and with many of us already struggling to pay household bills, it’s vital to look at ways you might be able to keep costs down.
Our water sills are set to increase by an average of £31 to £448 a year, according to Water UK, equivalent to around 60p more each week, although costs will vary depending on where you live and your water usage. Customers will pay around £1.23 per day on average – an increase of 8p per day on last year’s charges.
Here are some of the ways you might be able to save on water and reduce the cost of your bills.
Make the most of free or low-cost water-saving devices
The SaveWaterSaveMoney website offers a range of water saving devices, all of which you can get for free from your water company. You simply put in your postcode and the site will come up with a list of gadgets available to order free of charge in your area. Bear in mind that not all companies offer free water-saving gadgets. For example, Thames Water no longer provides them. In some areas you need to access Save Water Save Money’s savings calculator at www.getwaterfit.co.uk to be able to locate the freebies available to you. These may include a regulated shower head, a universal sink plug, LeakyLoo detection strips, and a four-minute shower timer.
According to the Energy Saving Trust, restricting shower times to four minutes could save a typical household £60 on their water bill, if metered, as well as cutting £95 a year off annual energy bills. Similarly, swapping one bath a week for a four-minute shower, could reduce water bills by £11 and save £20 on your energy bills.
Repair any leaks or dripping taps
A dripping tap isn’t just annoying, it can also prove expensive if it isn’t fixed. Just one dripping tap can waste the equivalent of around half a bath of water every week. Change washers promptly when taps begin to drip, or if you’re not confident doing it yourself get a plumber to do the job for you.
Fully load dishwashers and washing machines
Make sure your dishwasher or washing machine is fully loaded before you turn it on, to save having to do more washes than necessary. You should also make sure you use eco settings wherever possible, and wash at lower temperatures too to keep energy bills down.
Could you save with a water meter?
If you don’t have a water meter, your water company will base bills on your property’s size rather than how much water you actually use. A meter might work out to be more cost-effective if there are just a couple of you living in a four-bedroom property, for example, whereas if there are four of you living in a two-bedroom house, you may be better off not having one. In other words, the fewer there are of you living in a bigger property, the more likely you are to be better off with a meter, and vice versa. If you do decide to get a water meter and your bills end up costing you more, you usually have up to two years to change back to the old system.
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Get help with bills if you’re on a low income
If you have a low household income and need to use a lot of water for essential family or health reasons, you might be able to get support through the WaterSure scheme. You’ll need to be on a water meter and claiming certain benefits to be eligible. If you qualify, your water bills will be capped, so you won’t have to pay any more than the average metered bill in your area. Get in touch with your local water company to find out more and how you can apply.