Sunday 22 October 2017

Be savvy about water usage so you don't flush money down the toilet

The water charges arrive in January. Here are nine top tips to save before then

Consumers will pay a high price for the cost of providing their water
Consumers will pay a high price for the cost of providing their water
Aideen Sheehan

Aideen Sheehan

Water charges are on the way and for most households there's no avoiding them.

The first bills are due to land in our letterboxes next January.

The Government says the average charge per household will be €240 a year with a free allowance per home of 30,000 litres and an extra 38,000 litres for every child.

But judging by Irish Water's own figures that Irish people use an average of 54,750 litres of water each per year, that free allowance will be just a drop in the ocean when compared to our current use.

This means the only way to limit the damage in your bills is to use less water – Smart Consumer looks at the nine best options.

Short showers

A seven-minute power shower uses up to 175 litres of water so spend less time in it to save.

A gravity shower uses a more modest 49 litres in seven minutes and there are low-flow showerheads available which aerate the water to make it feel more powerful.

Keep baths to a treat

A typical bath uses 80 litres of water so bathe kids together or keep baths for a special treat.

Brush wisely

Turn off the water while you brush your teeth. It'll save six litres a minute, which could add up to a massive 35,000 litres a year for a family.

Flush less

Invest in a dual flush for your toilet – they cost from just €13.99 in Woodies – and use the half flush for liquid waste and a full flush for solid waste.

Put a brick or a full bottle of water in your cistern to reduce the amount of water in each flush by a few litres.

Use a dishwasher

Dishwashers use up to 20 litres per cycle but this is much less than washing by hand as long as you always wash a full load.

Don't rinse plates before loading, wipe them with a damp cloth instead.

Washing machine

A washing machine uses up to 65 litres per cycle, so make sure it's a full load and choose the Eco setting to save on water and energy.

Keep your glass

Use the same glass each day for refilling water to avoid washing lots of them, or use a refillable bottle. Keep a jug of water in the fridge so you're not running the tap for ages every time you want a cold drink.

Use your leftovers

Use leftover water from glasses to water your plants. Wash fruit and veg in a basin instead of under a running tap, and use it on plants as well.

Water butt

Install a water butt under your gutter downpipe to collect rainwater for watering plants or washing the car.

These cost from €40 at garden centres and some local authority recycling centres.

You can make your own from an old barrel but make sure there's a secure lid on it to prevent kids or pets falling in.

Irish Independent

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