Published On: Tue, Jul 9th, 2024
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Simple DIY water fixes could save some hundreds ahead of bill rise | Personal Finance | Finance

Person filling up glass with tap water

Doing a few DIY repairs could save you hundreds of pounds (Image: Getty)

Water bills are on the brink of a significant hike in just a few days.

Come this Thursday, July 11, the industry’s watchdog Ofwat will disclose how much companies can inflate their charges. Powerhouses like Thames Water are eyeing a mammoth 56 percent surge in costs, which could propel average bills to a staggering £722 by the turn of 2030.

Eager to shield customers from wallet-shocking spikes, energy gurus at Clearsight Energy have dished out savvy tips to slash water bills. And it’s no rocket science: simple fixes like mending a leaky faucet could see yearly savings in the hundreds.

A representative from Clearsight Energy said: “By implementing these simple and effective changes, businesses can drastically reduce their water consumption and save on operational costs. Tap aerators and energy-efficient dishwashers are just a couple of the many ways companies can be more water-wise without compromising service quality.

“It’s paramount for businesses and homeowners to recognise the potential water savings they can rack up at zilch cost, including such no-brainers as regularly eyeballing visible plumbing for telltale leaks, or running dishwashers full tilt on eco-mode.”

Repairing leaky taps

Potential savings: £398.67

Among the low-hanging fruit for astute businesses is the straightforward fix of a leaky tap. figures suggest that a solitary dripping tap could fritter away upwards of 5,500 litres of water annually, bleeding funds at around £22.12 for each offending fixture.

If a dripping tap turns into a steady trickle, it could waste up to 175,000 litres of water annually, costing around £398.67, according to a study by Tap Warehouse. The main culprit is often a faulty washer, which can be replaced in five simple steps:

1. Cover the drain to prevent anything from falling into it.

2. Turn off the water supply.

Toilets are another area where businesses can make significant water savings. Traditional toilets can use up to 14 litres of water per flush, but modern low-water-use toilets can reduce this by about 80%.

This could result in savings of up to 25,000 litres, or around £56.95, of water per person each year.

Dual-flush toilets, for instance, provide different flush options for varying amounts of waste, allowing users to opt for a lighter flush when suitable. Installing these toilets can decrease your water usage and lower your overall water bill while maintaining the same level of hygiene and comfort for employees and customers.

If you’re on a tight budget, installing a water displacement device could be a feasible option. These devices effectively cause the cistern to underfill and use slightly less water per flush.

Rainwater harvesting systems

Potential savings: £306

Rainwater harvesting systems allow businesses to gather and store rainwater for non-drinking purposes, such as plant watering, toilet flushing, and cleaning. This lessens the dependence on mains water and can result in substantial savings, especially in areas with high rainfall.

An excellent initial step in rainwater harvesting is fitting a water butt, which can be bought for as little as £34 on Amazon. This allows for trialling the reclaimed water process without the expenses linked to a full system installation.

More comprehensive water harvesting solutions could help households save between 40-50% on their average water bill, equating to savings of up to £306 for a family of four, based on Southern Water’s 2023 rates. Considering that 30% of a home’s water usage is typically for toilet flushing, businesses could also see significant savings by utilising rainwater.

Leak detection systems

Potential savings: £1,000s

Undetected leaks are estimated to cause three billion litres of water wastage every day in England alone, according to Global Citizen. The European Commission suggests that smart leak detection technologies could save up to 50% of public water supplies.

The installation of leak detection systems can help identify and repair leaks promptly, with some systems even automatically shutting off the water supply.

Insurance companies are promoting the use of leak detection devices, with businesses potentially qualifying for additional discounts if they have one installed. For those who cannot or do not wish to commit to a leak detection method, manually inspecting visible plumbing for leaks and addressing them promptly can be a good starting point, helping to avoid unexpected repair costs from water damage.

UKLeakDetection has reported that fixing a leak in kitchen walls and tiles can cost up to £10,000, while properly drying concrete floors can run up to £1,000.

Tap aerators

Potential savings: £110.17 per person

Installing aerators on taps can effectively reduce water flow while maintaining the same pressure. These handy devices blend air with water, creating a more robust flow whilst using less water.

They are simple to fit and compatible with most standard taps.

Considering that an office worker is estimated to use 75 litres of water each day and a restaurant uses approximately 265 litres per seat daily, there are ample opportunities for business owners to make savings. According to online aggregator platform, taps equipped with aerators use up to 50% less water, translating to annual savings of up to £110.17 per person.

3. Remove the top and valve of the tap.

4. Replace the faulty washer.

5. Reattach the top.

Energy-efficient dishwashers

Potential savings: £78.66

Dishwashers can be major culprits when it comes to water and energy consumption, especially in businesses within the hospitality sector. However, switching to energy-efficient models can significantly reduce this usage.

Compared to standard machines, these dishwashers use about 30% less water, resulting in an annual saving of £40.16, and 12% less energy, saving approximately £38.50 when used daily.

Consumer advocacy group Choice reveals that washing dishes by hand can use up to 100 litres of water. In contrast, older dishwasher models, although not as efficient as modern ones, only use about half the water of hand washing, with newer models using as little as 8.4 litres per cycle.

Businesses without a dishwasher should consider investing in one, even if it’s a second-hand model, due to the potential savings. If you already have a dishwasher, try to run it only when it’s full and use the water-saving setting if available.

Low-water-use toilets

Potential savings: £56.95 per person

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