A year ago we were looking at ways to reduce our water bill and after rummaging around the web we found a few online calculators to gauge our annual estimated usage. Of course for these to work and have any level of accuracy we had to answer as honestly as one can, in some cases slightly over estimating the amount we generally consume. It’s better to overestimate to receive a nice surprise of a slightly lower bill, than to underestimate and receive a much larger bill at the end of the year.
So the first step was to work out if a meter was the best way forward to cutting back on our bill by calculating our average usage. More than likely it will be in litres or referenced as units, which a unit is:
- Unit = 1000 litres OR 1 cubic meter (1M3) OR 220 gallons
So which water calculators did we use?
Well as we are in the Thames water region, we personally found the Thames Waterwisely calculator a really useful tool. They provide a drop down menu with 16 counties, plus there are additional regions available if you live outside the UK upon which they base their calculations.
Here are some of the available calculators in our order of preference; the ones at the top are much more detailed and are easier to use. (each opens in a new window)
Note: If you know of any other good calculators to add to this list, please let us know in the comments below.
Since we first calculated our usage we have noticed that many of the calculators have changed but they should all still help to get an idea of your household usage, especially if you are considering switching from rates to a meter. It does not matter too much if the calculator does not cater for your region; you just want to find out your average usage first.
Why would I switch from rates, when we could end up paying more?
Unless you have a large family and are heavy users, you are more than likely paying too much on your rates. We live in a three bedroom house and there are only two of us, we were paying on average £35 per month (£422 per year!) When we calculated our usage, we found that on each of the three calculators we used, each reported that we were “low water users” and once you then multiply your usage in litres/units to local water cost per unit, the result being roughly what you would expect to pay on a meter.
If you own your own home, then if you switch to being metered within the year you can switch back without any fuss. Just to be clear, at the time of switching, this was Thames Water’s policy on reverting back to rates. (Please check your local supplier’s terms)
Before we switched this was something I wanted to be clear on, as I wanted to retain the choice to switch back if it ended up costing us more.
How much did we actually save?
We went from a whopping monthly median of £35 per month (£422 per year) to £15 per month (£180 per year) by simply switching to a meter and changing the way we use water in our home.
Here is the old annual bill for £422 for a year.
Now checkout the NEW metered bill!!!!! (we are so chuffed)
We will go into more detail in later posts how we reduced our daily usage but for the meantime we will cover the main points we undertook.
How did we manage to save so much?
I know many of these seem obvious, but it’s shifting that mental perspective of understanding what should be done, to physically doing and adjusting your lifestyle. These changes should not seem daunting; it can all be done by making small daily changes and getting into a new routine. Here are the first five things we did:
- We switched from rates to metered
- We improved the efficiency of our taps & toilets with water saving freebies
- Installed several water butts in the garden
- Cut back on our water usage by changing our daily habits
- We found simple uses for recycling the grey/waste water
Moving forward we have read about some great ideas to utilise grey water/rain water for toilet flushing, watering household and garden plants with a little plumbing knowledge from a friend.
If you have any great tips or ideas please let us know
I am sure we have only just touched on a few water saving techniques and there are plenty of other wonderful water saving ideas, does anyone know of any I can add to the list?