It can be difficult to calculate whether you’re getting the best for your money on your water bills. However, you could also be wasting water without realising, which will push your bills up a drastic amount. If you are interested in keeping the bills down, you might also be interested in heat traps on your water heater. This is something that is done that could be helpful to close who are interested in saving money on the water heating bills. You can find out more about this by finding a contractor in your area who might be able to give more information. Let’s take a look at how you can get the best rate and how you can save water to keep those pesky bills down.
How much water do we use?
In the UK, each person uses around 160 litres of water per day. When you compare this to the fact that in a developing country, each person only uses 20 litres of water per day, it’s quite a shocking fact. The amount of water wasted by every household is remarkable, for instance if you forget to turn the tap off when you brush your teeth, this wastes around six litres of water. A dripping tap can waste up to 140 litres a week and major leaks that go undiagnosed can also be a big drain on your finances, so make sure you contact a plumber such as Inland Empire Plumbing company Schuelke Plumbing who use video leak detection to make sure there are no hidden problems with your pipes.
How water rates are calculated
In England and Wales, there are differences in domestic water rates. The rate will depend on the availability of water in your region as well as the size of the region.
Bills Vs. Water Meters
Water bills for most people in England and Wales has risen by around 2 per cent since the beginning of the year. However, unlike gas and electricity providers you cannot switch to a cheaper water provider. You can see if switching to a free water meter will help you save money. Sadly, water meters are not free in Scotland.
You pay a fixed bill based on the size of your home. Without a water meter, the amount of water you use is irrelevant to the price. Before 1990, councils assessed homes to produce what is known as ‘rateable values’, criteria for which includes the size of the property. Since 1990, homes have been fitted with a water meter. Unfortunately, there is no way of getting your home’s value re-assessed. In Scotland, water bills are based on council tax bands.
Around 40% of homes have a water meter, where the amount on your bill depends on the level of consumption. As well as water use, water meters often calculate the sewerage bill. Sewerage costs are higher than water use (such as showers) because of the process involved with pumping waste water out of your home.
Will a water meter work for me?
It is important to consider whether a water meter is worthwhile financially. Money Saving Expert advises this as a general rule:
In Scotland, it’s quite expensive to get a water meter installed, so it is not advised unless you live alone in a large property.
How much will I save?
The amount you save by using a water meter will vary depending on exactly how much you use. As an estimate, the average household could save around £100 a year. Some people report savings of around £348 a year, but it does depend.
How to check if a water meter is worth it for you
Whether a water meter is worthwhile depends on your water company and usage. There are two ways to calculate. You can also switch back if it isn’t worth it for you.
The Consumer Council for Water has a calculator which can tell you whether you can save with a water meter. It will ask you questions about the number of showers taken a week, dishwasher usage and more.
Using the Consumer Council for Water calculator:
So let’s say for example, your water/sewerage company is Yorkshire Water. There’s two people who live in the house, one has a shower once a day (7 a week) and the other has a bath once a day (7 a week). Let’s say that the toilet is flushed 10 times a day, the washing machine is used three times a week and the dishwasher is used five times a week. The household uses the garden hose for about three hours a year. The water company currently charges the house £400 a year on its bill.
In this instance, due to high water consumption, the household would not save money using a water meter.
Ask the water company
This is a more accurate way of finding out whether a meter is financially viable. Call your water company and ask for its water meter calculator.
Will the savings last?
There are some minor details to be aware of when it comes to choosing a water meter.
- If the savings are minimal, stick to what you know- water bills give you the reassurance of knowing what you’ll pay.
- You have a year to try it- Switch to a water meter and if you change your mind, you can switch back within 12 months.
- Some people say water meters lower a house’s price. There’s a slim chance it will put buyers who consume a lot of water off.
- High water usage can force you onto a meter. If you use large amounts of water for non-necessities such as swimming pools or high tech power showers, or you live in a water stressed area, you will put on a water meter automatically.
What to do if you have been refused a meter
Water companies must fit a water meter for free unless it is highly impractical, such as in a block of flats. You can appeal this decision if you have been refused one- go to regulator Ofwat or ask for an assessed bill. An assessed bill is worked out on details such as how many people live in your home, but will vary between companies. The most common assessed charges are based on the number of bedrooms in your property, the type of property that you live in, the number of people that live there and a fixed charge based on the average bill in your area.
If your assessed bill is higher than what a meter charge would have been, you can opt to continue with your current payment method.
So we’ve looked at how you can choose which method of paying your water bill to suit you. Saving water is something that you can do with both bills and water meters in order to keep costs down. Often, it’s really simple.
Take advantage of water saving gadgets
There’s a huge amount of freebies out there for the taking from your water companies to help you save water. Some of these include £17 shower heads (which help to regulate water usage) £10 bath toys and much more are available across all the providers. These simple tools can reduce bills by £100 if you’re using a water meter, although they still affect traditional bill payers because by reducing water, they cut the energy used to heat it too. Water website Save Money, Save Water has a list of all the freebies on offer, but you can only order from your own provider.
Here’s a list of water saving habits compiled by fellow water saving enthusiasts- most are pretty straightforward and common sense, although we advise you take some of them with a pinch of salt!
- Shower instead of having a bath, it uses far less water.
- Save all your washing up for one wash.
- Mulch your garden plants, meaning you have to water them less.
- Keep plants out of the sun, helping limit the amount of water they will need.
- When cleaning, don’t run the tap, instead use a washing bowl to rinse cloths.
- Share your bath with your other half, or put the kids in together.
- Clean your car with a bucket of soapy water and a watering can rather than a hose pipe.
- Turn the tap off when you brush your teeth.
- Steam vegetables instead of boiling them.
- Get a dual flush toilet and use the smaller flush as often as you can.
- Save rainwater with a water butt, leaving you a constant supply for the plants.
- Fix leaky taps.
So there you have it. The next step you should take if you are serious about saving money and water is to evaluate whether a meter or flat rate bill is best for you. Take full advantage of your water company’s calculator tool. If you want to save water too, get ordering your free gadgets!