a cost of living list

Can saving water help ease the cost of living crisis?

04 October 2022 | Facts & CuriositiesSmart Saving Water

The burden of the cost of living crisis is being felt in every corner of the UK. 

Spiralling costs are forcing people to rethink their lives.  And there is no let-up in sight.  Experts predict that inflation could reach as much as 20% in January 2023, mainly due to the increases in the cost of energy. 

As bills are rising, householders are looking for ways to save money in as many areas as possible – especially around utilities.

Water, however, seems to be the ‘forgotten utility’ – a lot of people ignore it because a) they cannot move to a cheaper tariff; or b) they think savings on water are so minimal as to not worth bothering with. 

However, contrary to popular belief, there are plenty of ways to save on water, which then have a knock on effect on their bills. 

The first step to reducing water use is to monitor consumption

We all need water and use it in so many ways around the home. Through cooking, washing our hands, showering and bathing, the litres soon add up.

Most of us however do not know how much water we use on a daily basis.  A research study conducted in 2020 showed revealed that nearly half of the people polled thought their household used under 20 litres a day, equivalent to taking a two minute shower. The true figure is closer to 142 litres per person per day – which is 15% more than individuals in Germany use on a daily basis. This means an average family of four in the UK could in theory use more than 500 litres each day.

What prompts people to use less water?

Smart meters, like Sonic, which relay that reading live to a display, make people immediately aware of how much water they are using.  We know that people take an active interest in their own usage if they are provided with the relevant information.  This then stimulates them to make better choices. 

We discovered that once our users had Sonic in place for three months or more in their own homes, there was a consistent drop of average water usage month by month, resulting in households using almost 15% less water than they did before installation:

  • In month one, the average daily consumption was 319 litres per property
  • In month two, the average daily consumption was 310 litres (2.71% drop compared to month one)
  • In month three, the average daily consumption was 272 litres (14.62% decrease in usage compared to month one)
Overall average daily water consumption of households in the first three months after having Sonic installed

We also need to incentivise efficiency

In addition to the oft quoted ‘flush your toilet less often’ and ‘showering at the gym’ solutions, we should look at ways to save water include incentivising efficiency – ie installing more water metersacross the country.  Only 60% of households in the UK are charged for the volume of water they use.  The rest, who pay on a fixed-price basis, generally use 30% more water than metered households. 

Not only could water meters reduce the amount of water used, they could also reduce water bills for many people.  Those not currently on a water meter can potentially save hundreds of pounds by switching to using one. The general rule of thumb is that if there are more bedrooms in your home than people, or the same number, it’s worth considering getting a meter if you don’t already have one.  However you soon may not have the choice, as a number of water companies are fitting them without asking householders

Repairing leaking pipes and taps as soon as problems are identified is also vital

How many people spot a leaking tap or know that they have a minor leak in a pipe and decide to ignore it, thinking it is not worth the hassle or cost of calling out a plumber?  But preventing water from being lost to leaks and drips can not only help save a significant amount from your water bill, but can prevent bigger and more costly problems later on.

However, a lot of the time we wouldn’t even know if we had a leak in a pipe.  This is where Sonic comes in.  It is a super-smart way to protect a whole property from damaging water leaks – a leading cause of property damage worldwide. Sonic detects leaks anywhere in a building, warns you via the handy companion app, and even shuts off the water supply to stop the problem fast. 

Using water wisely also lowers energy bills and benefits the environment

Many people do not realise that their water use at home contributes to energy bills and household carbon emissions.  About 12% of a typical gas heated household’s energy bill is from heating the water for showers, baths and hot water from the tap.  Therefore using less water can reduce energy use and bills

Saving water can also reduce the impact on your local environment and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by using less energy to pump, heat and treat the water.

Water is intrinsically linked to energy. But we underestimate the energy water companies need to treat and pump water into homes.

There are so many ways to reduce our water usage and ultimately cut our utility bills.  We just need to be a bit clever about it.  The most important thing is to start now.