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Water saving tips

From our morning shower to brushing our teeth at night, it’s easy to assume that water will always be there when we need it. In a rainy place like the UK, it can sometimes feel as though water is endless – but this isn’t the case.

A person loading their washing machine

Every drop counts

Our world is changing, and we need to change with it to protect our most precious resource. Unpredictable weather and a growing population mean it’s important we work together to save water where we can.

Saving water could help you save money on your bill too – even more reason to check out our water saving tips, and make every drop count.

Top tips for cold weather

In colder weather, changing temperatures can cause our pipes, and the ground around them, to expand and contract. This means pipes can contract or burst, putting more demands on our network.

Take shorter showers

On average, a shower uses 10 litres of water a minute. That means a 10-minute shower can use 100 litres of water.

If a family of four reduced their shower time by just one minute, they could save:

  • £45 on metered water bills
  • Up to £52 on energy bills
  • As much as 11,648 litres of water a year

Why not see how much water and money taking shorter showers could save you with our water-saving calculator?

Turn off the taps

A running tap can use six litres of water a minute. Turning off taps when not in use is a really simple way to save water at home. By turning off the tap just five seconds sooner, you’ll save half a litre! Try not to keep it flowing when you’re doing the washing up or brushing your teeth.

Fill your dishwasher and washing machine

Save water, electricity, and dishwasher tablets by only starting the dishwasher once it’s fully loaded.

The same goes for the washing machine – fully loading your washing machine every time can save up to 4,000 litres a year.

See where you use the most water

Try our water-saving calculator to see if having a water meter could save you water, energy and money. Answer a few quick and easy questions to get a water report that’s tailored to you. It’ll show you how much water you’re using, let you know how you can save, and offer lots of water-saving tips.

Try the calculator

Check for leaks

Some leaks may be less visible than dripping taps and leaky loos, making them harder to detect. There are some common signs you can look out for:

  • Wet or damp patches in the garden during dry weather
  • Dirt or air in your water
  • Cracks in paving
  • Potholes or sinkholes appearing
  • A noticeable reduction in water pressure
  • An unexpected increase in usage (if you're on a meter)

If you're on a water meter, check for a leak by following the steps below:

  • Make sure all your water appliances are turned off
  • Turn off your inside stop valve (this is usually under your sink)
  • Take a meter reading and write it down
  • Wait 30 minutes then take another meter reading

If the two readings are the same, you don't have a leak. If they're different, you have a leak somewhere between the meter and the inside stop valve.

Fix leaky loos and dripping taps

A diagram showing three types of leaky loo and what the leak looks like at the back of the toilet bowl. One toilet is trickling, one is rippling and the other is flowing

A leaky loo can waste an average of around 400 litres of water a day. That's equal to five full bathtubs. It’s easy to check whether you have a leaky loo. Just:

  • Wait for 30 minutes after flushing and then wipe the back of the pan dry with toilet paper.
  • Place a new, dry sheet of toilet paper on the back of the pan. Leave it there for up to three hours without using the toilet (it might be best to do this overnight).
  • If the paper is wet or torn, you have a leaky loo. 

Leaky loos are usually caused by a faulty flush valve or fill valve inside your tank, and don't forget to check your outside taps.

How to check your flush valve

Mark the water level inside your tank and pop back 10 minutes later. If the water level has dropped, you’ll know the flush valve is the problem.

How to check your fill valve

If you can, look to see if any water is running into the overflow tube inside your toilet tank. If your tank takes a long time to refill or your flush isn’t as powerful as normal, that could also be a sign your fill valve isn’t working properly.

Need help fixing a leak? Check out our list of approved plumbers to get it sorted ASAP. Don't forget that if you have home plumbing and drainage cover, you can give them a call.

What we’re doing

We’re working hard to ensure our network is in the best condition to deal with demand all year round. We've invested more than £1 million every day to protect pipes and predict and prevent problems before they happen. In 2020-21, our teams fixed over 60,000 leaks on our network.

Learn more about how we’re tackling leaks.

If your pressure drops or water stops

At peak times of the day, you may notice your water pressure is lower. This can happen when water’s in high demand, and it should return to normal within a couple of hours. If your water stops completely, please check for the latest updates.

If you or someone you know needs water to manage a medical condition, please let us know so we can provide extra support.