Save water at home

Habits and products that can save water and energy.

It may not seem like it at times with the amount of rain we get, but water is a precious resource. We should always use it wisely because it's not as abundant as you might think, especially as the South-East of England is the most water stressed region in the UK.

Most of the water we use is for washing and toilet flushing, but it also includes drinking, cooking, car washing and watering the garden. We use almost 50 per cent more water than 25 years ago, partly because of power showers and household appliances.

  • Across Britain we use around 840 billion litres of water each year
  • The average home uses 350 litres of water every day
  • A running tap wastes over 6 litres per minute.
  • Only 4% of the perfectly drinkable water we use is used for drinking!
  • About 24% of a household's heating bill is from heating the water. This is on average about £150 per year.

Further advice on saving water please visit Energy Saving Trust.  

Water saving habits

Have a look at the list of things you can do to help reduce the amount of water you use. Most of these don't cost anything, but could save you money on your water and heating bills!

  • Gas is cheaper - In most homes, the hot water is supplied by the main central heating boiler, either directly if it is a combi boiler, or from a hot water cylinder. Often there will be an electric immersion heater in the cylinder as well. Use the boiler to heat the water, even in the summer. The immersion heater will be more expensive, and should only be used as an emergency back-up.
  • Snub the tub - If everybody in your family of four replaces one bath a week with a five-minute shower, you can save up to £15 a year on gas bills and up to £25 on water bills (if you have a water meter).
  • Turn it off - A running tap wastes more than six litres of water a minute, so turn off the tap while brushing your teeth, shaving, or washing your face - and use cold water if you don't need hot.
  • Don't be a drip - A dripping tap can waste more than 5,500 litres of water a year, so make sure your taps are properly turned off and change washers promptly when taps start to drip.
  • Make it go further - Try to avoid wasting water from running taps while waiting for hot water.
  • Fill 'em up! - Make sure that dishwashers and washing machines are full before you use them, and always use the most efficient water and energy settings. When it's time to replace your appliance, look for the Energy Saving Recommended logo: products with this logo will save both energy and water.
  • Suds law - Using a sink of water to wash up twice a day rather than having the hot tap running could save around £35 a year on your gas bill and around £30 on your water bill (if you have a water meter). If you need to rinse utensils or wash vegetables, use cold water if possible and don't leave the tap running!

Water saving products

There are a number of products you can buy that make saving water a breeze. Taps, showers and appliances that use less water can help the environment and your pocket.

  • Wrap up your cylinder - If your hot-water cylinder doesn't have any insulation, fitting a hot-water cylinder jacket could save you around £45 a year. Hot water cylinders should have a thermostat fitted. This should be set to 60⁰c (140⁰F).
  • Water-efficient showerheads - New water-efficient showerheads use technology that can produce water flows that feel far higher than they actually are - an easy way to save both water and energy. They are most effective on power and mixer showers with a high flow rate. You should not low flow showerhead to an electric shower as this could cause possible dangerous damage to your shower unit.
  • Reduced-capacity baths - A standard bath has a capacity of around 80 litres, so even when it's less than half full it uses a lot of water. If you're buying a new bath, look for one with a lower capacity. Of course, you can always save water and money by taking a quick shower instead of a bath.
  • Water-efficient appliances - Looking to replace water-using appliances such as dishwashers or washing machines? Look for products with the new Water Efficient Product Label - the Waterwise Marque - and the Energy Saving Recommended mark, as these models can help you to save water, energy and money.
  • Lower flow taps - Taps with a low flow rate can be fitted to bathroom and kitchen sinks. Click point taps are better for kitchen sink taps; aerated or regulated flow taps are more suitable for a bathroom sink; but all work very well.
  • Change your head - If a family of four replace their inefficient shower head with a water-efficient one they could save around £75 off their gas bills and around £90 off their water bills (if they have a water meter) each year. That's a total saving of £165.
  • Flow tap aerators and regulators - If you're not replacing taps or shower units, you can still save water by fitting flow regulators to showers and aerators to taps. Flow devices are easy to install. They often contain precision-made holes, filters or flow aerators to regulate the flow of water without changing how it feels to you.  If you have an electric shower you should not fit a flow regulator as this could cause possible dangerous damage to your shower unit.
  • Water efficiency labelling - To help you identify products that use less water, less energy and save money, the Bathroom Manufacturers Association has a Water Label Scheme. For more details of the label and help to find and compare products, visit the Water Label scheme. To identify award-winning water-efficient products, look for the Waterwise Recommended Check Mark. Find out more at the Waterwise website.