Don’t splash the cash – save on your water bills

When we’re spending an average of £405 per year, our water bills really can feel like money down the drain. But there are plenty of ways to save – both cash and water.


Switch to save

How are you billed for water? For most people, it’s either by a fixed rate or a water meter.

Water rates aren’t actually based on the water you use, but your home’s rateable value. Values were set between 1973 and 1990 based on the property’s annual rental value. So factors include property size and condition. You can’t appeal or change your home’s rateable value, even if there have been changes to the property.

Any homes built after 1990 have water meters fitted. Meters measure how much water you use and your bill is based on consumption. In England and Wales, you shouldn’t be charged to have a water meter installed – unless it requires changes to existing plumbing. Scottish residents may have to pay for water meter installation.

Some houses might save money on water rates. Others might find a water meter cheaper. It usually depends on how many people live in your house, and how much water you use.

A general rule of thumb is if there are more people than there are bedrooms, sticking with water rates might save you money. But if there are fewer people than bedrooms, a water meter might get you cheaper bills.

This calculator can help you work out your water usage and whether switching to a water meter could save you money.

Water meter for billing


Water-saving gadgets

There are plenty of devices available to help you save water – from small tools and freebies to larger appliances and equipment.

  • Water efficient showerheads can help reduce water flow. Prices start at around £15, but you can sometimes get one for free from your water company!
  • Toilet cistern bags reduce the amount of water used to flush a toilet. They can save up to 5,000 litres of water a year. You usually get these for free from your water company – or for a couple of quid online.
  • You could even collect rain water in a water butt. It can then be used to water plants or wash cars.


Do it yourself

So you’ve switched to a cheaper billing method, and installed a few water-saving gadgets? These tips can help you conserve water, and save even more cash.

  1. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth. A running tap can use nine litres of water each minute.
  2. Steam vegetables instead of boiling. It’s healthier, tastier, and saves water.
  3. Turn off dripping taps – they can waste up to 5,300 litres of water each year.
  4. Only use your dishwasher or washing machine when it’s full.
  5. Take a shower instead of a bath – a five-minute shower can save half a bath’s worth of water.
  6. When washing up, use a bowl rather than running a tap. It could save you £30 a year on your water meter, and £25 a year on your energy bill!
  7. Catch the water used for washing fruit and vegetables and reuse to water any plants.
  8. Water plants with a watering can, not a hose pipe. You could even use one to wash your car!

Save water with a watering can


There are always ways to cut down your bills – whether you switch to a meter, or from a bath to a shower. You could be doing your bit to help the environment, too!

Want to save even more? Head over to our Budget Buddy and see where else you could make savings.

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