‘I’m an expert – here are 7 tips to slash water bills by hundreds ahead of price rise’
While water bills are set again in April, Britons may be able to knock hundreds off with a few tips, an expert has said.
While the average bill is forecasted to increase by around £2.30 (six percent) per month, certain regions and providers may experience more substantial hikes of up to 20 percent.
Liz Hunter, Director at Money Expert, told Express.co.uk: “The UK’s water system is ageing and in desperate need of maintenance and major repairs. Water companies also plan on building new facilities, such as reservoirs and water recycling plants.
“These upgrades, coupled with costly sewage cleanups, unpredictable rainfall and stricter environmental regulations, are the driving force behind the increase.
“While necessary, the timing of these increases couldn’t be worse for many families who are already facing higher energy bills, increasing rent and mortgage costs, and rising food prices.”
Water bills will rise in April, but there are some simple ways to cut costs
For this reason, Ms Hunter noted: “It’s important to remember that support is available for those on low incomes, and there are numerous ways to lower costs and become more water-conscious.”
Consider moving to a meter
There are two ways people can pay their water bills. Ms Hunter explained: “You could be paying an estimated ‘unmetered charge’, which is based on your home’s size and/or value – if you don’t have a meter.
“If you do have a meter, you pay based on your usage. Most new homes have a water meter installed.”
For those who don’t currently have a meter and are paying an estimated bill, getting one could save money if:
- The person’s property value is high, but water usage low
- They have fewer occupants than bedrooms
- They live alone.
Ms Hunter said: “This is because you could be paying for more water than you actually use.”
However, she added: “If you have a large household and therefore predict you use more water than average, you’re better off staying on an estimated charge. Otherwise, a water meter could lead to higher bills.”
Those who are unsure can use the Consumer Council for Water’s calculator to see if they’d save money by switching to a meter.
According to WaterWise, showers account for the highest usage of water in UK households, at around 34 percent.
Ms Hunter said: “Anglian Water claims that cutting showers down to five minutes could save the average household over 28,000 litres of water and £100 in energy and water costs per year.”
Setting a timer can be a helpful way to assist in cutting down shower time. Ms Hunter added: “Find a song you enjoy – that lasts around four to five minutes – and play it as a guide. It can also help to turn the shower off whilst shampooing or whilst leaving conditioner and hair masks on for their allocated time.
“You could also switch your showerhead to a low-flow version to conserve even more water. Traditional showerheads use around eight to 10 litres per minute in the UK, whereas low-flow showerheads use approximately four to six, amounting to huge savings over time.”
Choosing showers over baths can also reduce energy bills
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Choose showers over baths
Ms Hunter suggested choosing showers over baths whenever possible.
She said: “The amount you’ll save varies depending on how long you shower for and how much you fill the tub. However, an average eight-minute shower uses 96 litres, whereas a full bath holds 80 to 100 litres. But if we compare it to a shorter, five-minute shower, which only uses 60 litres, you can see how much water you can save on a daily basis.
“As well as reducing your water bill, choosing showers over baths will also help to cut back your energy bills, as you won’t need to heat as much water.”
Turn off the tap whilst brushing teeth
Turning off the tap whilst brushing teeth can save approximately six litres of water per minute, according to WaterWise UK. Ms Hunter said: “So if you brush your teeth twice daily for two minutes, you’ll save a whopping 8,544 litres of water per year.
“If you have a meter and save this amount of water per year, you’d knock around £16 off your annual water bill, based on the average UK water price of £1.90 per cubic meter in 2023. If a family of four all did the same thing, you’d cut around £50 off your water bill – and the saving is likely to increase in 2024.”
Choose water-efficient appliances
When the washing machine, dishwasher or toilet next needs replacing, Ms Hunter suggested choosing water-efficient models, if possible. She explained: “These are specifically designed to use less water compared to traditional models.
“When shopping, look for the WEL label (Water Efficiency Label). This will show a rating of between A (most efficient) to G (least efficient) based on the appliance’s water consumption. Aim for higher ratings (A+, A++, or A+++) for the biggest savings.”
Check if you’re eligible for financial assistance
As well as taking steps to reduce water usage, it’s worth people checking if they’re eligible for any financial support, such as social tariffs and hardship funds.
Discounted water bills are offered by water companies throughout the UK to help low-income households afford their water. Schemes differ in terms of who is eligible for help and what assistance is provided.
However, Ms Hunter said: “They’re generally available to those that have a household income of less than £17,005 excluding benefits, or £21,749 if you live in a London Borough.”
People can find a list of all the social tariffs available, as well as how to apply, here.
A scheme for customers with a water meter who use lots of water, but struggle to afford it, is also available.
Ms Hunter said: “If you meet at least three of the following criteria – you use a water meter, are in receipt of benefits, receive child benefit for three or more children, have a medical condition or live with someone who does – you could be eligible.”
To apply, people need to contact your water company and fill out a form.
Financial hardship funds
Many water companies offer financial hardship funds to assist their customers who are struggling to pay their water bills. These funds can be used to help clear debt. To apply, people need to contact their water company.
Contact your supplier
Finally, Ms Hunter said: “If you’re struggling to pay your water bills, it’s worth getting in touch with your supplier. In most cases, they’ll be able to spread your payments over a longer period through a payment plan, to make things more manageable for you. In rare cases – and depending on your circumstances – it might be possible to have the debt written off.
“If you’re unsure how to approach the situation, you can contact Citizens Advice for advice. If you’re unhappy with how your water company has dealt with your financial hardship, you can also ask the Consumer Council for Water to investigate your behalf.”