Wonderful on Tap

Water-saving tips for households

How you and your family can be more water-wise at home

"Having a family means it sometimes feels like the taps are constantly running in our house, and going on a water meter has meant we feel it in our pockets too."
"Educating the kids hasn’t been easy but we’ve made saving water fun and we’ve been amazed at how the small things can really make a huge difference. It’s all about changing those habits which we do without even thinking."
Jason, Leicester

5 ways to save

Showers instead of baths

Showers are more water efficient than baths, but only if used wisely.

Showers are still one of the largest users of water in the household. However, if you shaved one minute off your shower everyday, you could save money on both your water and energy bills.


"If every household in the UK took just one minute off one shower every day, it would save £215 million on our collective energy bills a year. If everyone in a four-person metered household with a power shower did this, it could save them £60 on energy bills and a further £60 on water bills every year."

Energy Saving Trust At Home With Water Report [PDF]


Water saving devices can also help. Shower timers can help you monitor how long you and your family are spending in the shower and water efficient shower heads can make a massive difference to the amount of water you use.

Water efficient toilets and hippo bags

Toilets are the second highest domestic water-using device after showers. They account for one-fifth (22%) of the average British household’s water consumption. In a year, the average household flushes the toilet about 4,600 times. That’s about 28,000 litres of water – enough to fill 350 standard baths.

Flushing the toilet is an unavoidable fact of life, but there are still opportunities to save. Modern dual flush toilets mean light flushes can save 7,000 litres per person per year. For older toilets, water displacement devices like hippo bags can reduce the amount of water flushed by up to two litres.

Make sure you have a full load

In a house with a busy family or small children, the washing machine can be very busy.

A modern automatic washing machine uses about 50 litres of water per wash so it’s more efficient, both in terms of water and heating, to use a fully loaded washing machine (but don’t overload it!).

When the time comes to replace your washing machine, look for a machine that offers an ‘eco’ setting or has a high efficiency rating.

Dishwashers or hand-washing?

Washing the dishes – whether in a dishwasher or by hand – accounts for around 5% of domestic water use. There’s an assumption that washing up by hand can be more efficient, however a full dishwasher can be more water and energy efficient.

The average household washes dishes by hand ten times a week, but only three times in a dishwasher.

Dishwashers are becoming more energy and water efficient (and may offer savings over using the hot tap and sink). The key is to make sure your dishwasher is full before using and, if your dishwasher has one, use the eco-setting.

If you still want to wash by hand, two bowls are better than one. A separate bowl for rinsing, rather than washing off the suds under a flowing tap, considerably cuts down how much water you use.

Paddling pools

When the weather heats up, it’s fun to fill the paddling pool or get out the water-blasters. While it’s great to have fun with water, there are still ways you can stay water efficient.

Don’t fill your paddling pool to the top. You could save 30 litres of water for every inch lower the water level gets. When you’ve finished playing in the pool, covering it means you can reuse the water the next day. When it’s time to empty it, you can use the remaining water to water your garden.

Other ways to save

Brushing your teeth

Turn the taps off while you brush.

Some people still leave the taps running when brushing their teeth, shaving or washing their hands.

But simply turning them off could save over 6 litres of water every single minute.

Cold water

Keep a jug of water in the fridge.

Pouring a cold glass of water from the tap often means running the tap for a few seconds to pull the coldest water through.

Pre-filling a jug with water and keeping it in the fridge helps make sure that you’ve got a cold drink whenever you need it.

Thirsty plants

Unfinished drinks or ice cubes can all go in the garden.

It’s essential to you and the family stay hydrated, especially in hot weather, but your garden plants get thirsty too. 

If the kids have enjoyed an ice cold drink, pop any leftover drink and unmelted ice cubes in the garden for the plants to use.

Cooling down

Fill an old spray bottle with cold water to stay cool.

A quick way to cool down in the summer months is to fill an old, clean spray bottle with cold water.

This can replace cool-down techniques like an extra shower or a run through the sprinkler.