I’m pleased to say Jack Jenkins from Resooma has written a really excellent article which will be essential reading for all flat-sharing students. Jack has provided 10 great tips on how to save money on your water bill in this, a guest post.
Your student water bill is one of the easiest bills to deal with. And as water is essential to good hygiene and general survival, it should be one of the first things you sort out when moving into a new house.
Water is just about the most important house utility – some students will probably put the internet speed first – but realistically when it comes to life and death, the water probably wins! That’s why it’s the first place we want to look to get it piped in as cheaply as possible and also to find ways to use as little as possible. Of course, the planet will thank you for your service too.
Our savvy money saving team have come up with a simple guide to help you get everything sorted with respect to your water rates, including a list of money saving tips that could genuinely save you £100s over the course of a year.
#1 Only use the washing machine for a full load
This is a super simple way to cut down on your water consumption. Firstly, let your dirty laundry pile to grow and wash larger loads at a time. This is an easy and economical excuse for letting your washing basket build up. If you’re happy to share loads, then try washing all your darks and white with a housemate so make sure that the drum is full every time.
We’d also suggest keeping the heat down and washing at 30°C. This will save you money on the house electricity bill too. At this temperature you’ll be able to wash both lights and darks together – that said, if you’ve got brand new darks, we recommend putting these in separately for the first few washes in case the dye’s run out.
#2 Put a brick in your cistern to reduce your flush
Flushing the loo accounts for about 30% of most households daily water use.
We have a couple of ideas on how you can reduce this to save money. Firstly, and most obvious, is to try and simply flush less.
Don’t use the toilet as a bin for your cotton pads or face wipes as this is an unnecessary reason to flush when you can use the bin. Often you’ll end up clogging your toilet with items you flush and this too leads to extra expense and stress. Not only will flushing less this save you money on your water bills, but you’ll be doing your bit for the planet too.
If you fancy taking your water-saving practice a step further, try placing a brick in your cistern. Yes, a brick. The added brick will reduce the volume of water that will be refilled in the tank. This then reduces the amount of water used in each flush and voila, you’ve saved more water.
#3 Use Energy Efficient Dishwashers
This may well come as a welcome surprise but it is true – dishwashers save you water. Energy-efficient dishwashers generally use less water than you would use if you washed your dishes under the hot tap.
To make sure you’re getting the most of each cycle, ensure your dishwasher is full each time. You can also save energy by using the ‘eco’ cycle which is usually an option on most dishwashers. This takes a little longer but uses less energy and water.
Of course, we recommend you do some research into your own dishwasher before taking this as verbatim. For most of us living in shared housing, we’re renting and are at the mercy of our landlords to provide good quality white goods.
#4 Use a Washing Up Bowl
If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can still save some money on your water bills. Instead of washing your dishes under a running tap, committing to filling a washing up bowl of warm soapy water instead.
This simple change will save you a minimum of £25 per year. It’s not going to make you a millionaire overnight but along with all these other hacks, you’ll save a bucket load over the year.
#5 Take shorter showers
The average shower lasts for about 8 minutes and uses 64 litres of water. While this is considerably less than a bath which uses 90 litres of water, it still offers house shares a great opportunity to cut down and save money on your water bills.
We advise trying to take shorter showers – rather than showering less. While we want to save as much money as possible on our water bills, we don’t advise sacrificing personal hygiene.
Read on for the point below about using eco-shower heads – this is a good extra too.
#6 Install water saving shower heads
Before changing this we recommend speaking to your landlord to check it is ok to do so. Assuming they are happy, using an eco-shower head will end up meaning your household uses far less water over the year.
An average house share of 5 people will save over £40 per year with a simple switch.
#7 Turn the tap off when brushing your teeth or shaving
Running a tap uses on average 6 litres of water every minute. As you can imagine, leaving the tap on while brushing your teeth once in the morning and once in the evening is a huge waste of water. We advise you to turn the tap off during intervals where you don’t need the water to be running.
This helps save on your bills and the environment.
#8 Collect Rainwater For The Garden Needs
Using fresh water in the garden is like setting fire to money – a sprinkler can use as much water in one hour as a whole family can use in an entire day.
Try leaving your watering can or bucket in the garden to collect rainwater to water your plants. Alternatively, just let nature do its job and check the weather to see when the rain is on its way.
#9 Steam your veggies
Steaming vegetables uses less water than boiling them as you only need a small amount of water in the bottom pan. Steaming veg is a healthier way of cooking them too, as the vegetables retain more of their natural nutrients.
If you do choose to boil your vegetables, don’t throw the water away. This makes a great base for stocks or soups, or you could let it cool and give your houseplants a nutritious drink.
Don’t have a steamer? Pop a colander with a foil or pan lid on top of a pan of boiling water.
#10 Keep a bottle of drinking water in the fridge
This is a win-win water saving tip. You get cold drinking water and save on your water bills at the same time.
You know when you go to get a drink of water, but when you first run the tap it’s not as cold as you want so you run the tap for a short while. Over the course of a year, think about how much water you waste by waiting for the water to turn cold.
Instead, we recommend filling a jug of water and keeping it in the fridge at all times. Doing this will avoid wasting water every time you want to have a nice cold refreshing drink.