Conserve Water, Lower your Bills
While it might not seem it, or not in the UK at least, water is a precious resource. After a damp summer, it seems crazy to advise you to take care of your water, but access to clean water is growing more scarce around the world.
Even here in the UK we haven’t got it as good as we might think! So it’s a good idea to conserve it in every way possible. You are doing your bit to keep your water bill low, as well as helping the planet.
Turn the taps off
I always turn the tap off when I brush my teeth, so it surprised me to meet my partner who didn’t. He walked around the house scrubbing away, and just let the water just run down the drain – what a waste! I wet my brush, turn off the tap, and then only turn it back on again when I need to rinse. A fraction of the water used, and no risk of a flooded bathroom if you forgot to take the plug out of the sink 😉
Catch Water for House Plants
If you’re waiting for the hot tap to get up to the right temperature, grab a container and catch the cold water. You can use the cold water for house plants, or wherever else you might need it. My mum does this for every tap and actually catches enough to water all of her houseplants and some of the garden too!
A double win.
Take Shorter Showers
Another thing that shocked me about my other half – the time he took in the shower! I mean, what was he DOING in there?? I’ll tell you what: nothing. Just standing under the red-hot water and letting it wash away.
The average shower is typically 8-10 minutes, but I spend about around 5 minutes on an average day. One tactic to try is to get wet, switch the water off, suds up, then hop back in after you’re done lathering up. This doesn’t work in my house as it is freezing for most of the year, so I just get wet, lather up and rinse off quickly.
Top tip- invest in a shower cap so you don’t need to wash your hair because it got damp in the steam!
Catch Rain Water for Watering Plants
One successful way to conserve water and live more sustainably is by catching rain runoff from your gutters that will eventually end up as wasted water. Get yourself a water butt and attach it to a gutter, and catch the water from when it rains – this will, of course, depend on the design of your house and its roof. I love my water butt, and my plants love the rain water far more than the chemically treated stuff from the hose. Every time I fill up a watering can from the water butt I feel smug about not having to pay to use that water on my thirsty plants. My garden is very important to me, small though it is.
I have a little backyard patio, on which I grow fruit and a little veg in pots, and have a sweet little bistro set and a deck chair to sit and enjoy the outside world. I spend as much time out there as I can when the weather is nice.
Being among nature is so good for the mental health, and getting some sunshine on the skin is great for vitamin D production. Watering garden plants with saved rain water is an extra bonus.
Take Showers instead of Baths
Believe it or not, a shower can use less water than a bath. Filling up the tub takes more water than you need to bathe in. Years ago I switched most of my baths for showers – because my bath leaked terribly into my downstairs neighbour’s flat. So I had no choice! Now I have a bath tub and actually, it’s more of a treat to reserve a bath for after a strenuous day, or as a reward. Light a candle and put a facemask on, and it’s like a spa experience. This is something I didn’t do when I took a bath more regularly!
Fill the Dishwasher Up
Using a dishwasher actually uses less water than handwashing dishes. While I haven’t tested this myself, I hope this is true as I love mine!!
This topic has divided many a household- how to stack the dishwasher! However your household does it, make sure you only run the dishwasher when it is full. This way, you conserve water by not running the dishwasher three times when once would have sufficed.
Fill the Washing Machine up
Just the same as the tip above, running the washing machine a load of times when once would have done is not only wasting water but detergent, electricity and your time.
How often do you really want to be hanging out wet washing? I’d like to keep it to a minimum myself!
Top tip- make sure you have at least 7 pairs of pants and socks, and a few staple outfits to see you through, so you don’t need to run the machine to wash a vital item!
Fix Leaky Taps Immediately
This sounds so simple, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t get a leak sorted immediately? Well, we didn’t… It was one of those jobs that just kept getting put off, until one night, very late in the evening, someone pulled the tap out of the wall thanks to a worn away washer. This created a massive gush of water flowing for ages before we could switch the water supply off (our stopcock is cunningly hidden). This not only wasted a LOAD of water, but it meant the ceiling in the kitchen below has got stained, and I had to wash a LOT of wet towels the day after it happened. Now we are looking at a bathroom renovation! So don’t make my mistake, get in contact with a plumber right away! One dripping faucet can waste gallons of water quickly.