Toilets use about 30% of the total water used in a household.
There are around 45 million toilets in UK homes, using an estimated two billion litres of fresh water every day.
Over seven million of those are old style single flush toilets which use 13 litres of water per flush.
Approximately five million are the latest low-flush models which are more water-efficient dual-flush toilets and use only six litres for a full flush and four litres with a reduced flush.
Considering the average household flushes 5000 times per year, savings of up to 5000 litres per year could be achieved just by simply installing a cistern displacement device (CDD). These are available for free from most water companies. These devices are easy to install and are placed in the toilet cistern to displace approximately one litre of water every time you flush.
Still, there are ways to make an existing single flush toilet water efficient. The only thing you need to do is to pop a Save-A-Flush into the toilets at your/your tenant’s property or install a Hippo. You can also decide to install a dual flush converter.
Many toilets today feature a dual flush option to help you save water. These types of toilets have a split flush button giving the user the choice of pressing a small button or a large button depending on how much water is required to clear the toilet bowl. Look for dual flush toilets if you are considering purchasing a new toilet for your home.
An easy way to check if your toilet has a slow leak, is to add a few drops of food colouring to your toilet cistern. Don't flush the toilet for at least one hour. If the food colouring shows up in the toilet bowl after an hour, then you've got a leak.
We recommend that you get a licensed plumber to fix any leaks. Plumbers know which seals and washers are right for different toilets.
However if you are a handyman, take the parts of the toilet that need replacing to your local hardware store or plumbing retail outlet. The staff there will help you choose the correct replacement parts. Remember to repeat the food colouring test to make sure you have fixed the leak.
Showers have become more popular in the last 30 years, from less than 20% of homes owning a shower in the 1970s to about 85% ownership today. Nowadays, showers use around 12% of the water used in the household. By being water efficient in the shower you can save money not only on your water bill, but on your energy bill too, whilst protecting the environment.
A worrying trend is the growth of power showers. These can easily use more water than a bath. Water use in showers can be reduced very easily without conflicting with your shower experience.
Average times spent in a shower vary a lot and with limited research available the trend for longer showers seems to be increasing.
The kitchen tap and dishwasher account for about 8-14% of water used in the home, so there exists a huge opportunity here to reduce water wastage.
Kitchen taps vary tremendously in flow volume, from 2-25 litres per minute, and behaviours such as how much you twist the tap and for how long you leave it on influence how much water is used when you wash up.
For example, washing up under a running tap can use dozens of litres of water, but if you use a washing up bowl or plug-up your sink then you can reduce water wastage by 50 percent or more!
A common misconception is that dishwashers use more water; in fact, these machines can be water savers – if used wisely. In the 1970s, dishwashers used as much as 50 litres per cycle, but modern models can use as little as 10 litres – sometimes even less than washing up by hand.
Unfortunately, many manufacturers, suppliers and retailers do not provide information about the water efficiency of their models, so you may have to put in a little effort in order to find out. Make sure to ask for this information or else manufacturers and retailers will continue to not supply it.
To figure out the water efficiency of a dishwashing machine, simply divide the model’s water consumption (in litres per standard cycle) by its capacity (in place settings). You can find water consumption information on the EU Energy Label that is affixed to all models.
Washing machines used to use as much water per wash as a person now uses in an entire day - up to 150 litres!
Advances in technology over the past 20 years, however, have succeeded in reducing the average water consumption to about 50 litres per wash - still quite a bit of water! Clothes washing now accounts for about 15 percent of the water that we use on our homes, so by reducing wastage in this area we can make significant water savings.
Washing machines vary tremendously in how much water they use per wash: when adjusted for capacity, some use as much as 20 litres per kilogram while others as little as 6 litres per kilogram! Therefore, when buying a new washing machine it is important to make sure that the model is water efficient.
So if you are thinking about buying a new washing machine, you might want to refer to our rankings for some tips on identifying water efficient models.
With any model, total water consumption will depend on how you use the machine. In order to minimise water and energy waste, follow these quick tips:
Quick tips to reduce water wastage from clothes washing