Reducing water bills is not as easy as with gas and electricity where you can switch to a cheaper provider to reduce water bills further. However, the steps below can help you save by deciding how you’re billed.
Can a water meter reduce water bills?
There are two ways you can be billed, you can pay a fixed bill depending on your home’s size, meaning your bill will be based on your home’s ‘ratable value’, and will not be dependent on the amount of water used.
The second way is to pay for the water you use through the use of a water meter so the size of your bill reflects your usage. About 40 per cent of homes have a water meter, but water meters usually calculate the sewerage bill too and these costs are higher than everyday water use because of the processing involved in pumping waste water out of your home.
Should you get a water meter?
You should first work out if a water meter is financially viable and will reduce water bills. As a rough guide, if the number of people in your house is equal to or higher than the number of bedrooms it could be cheaper on a meter. In London it is free to have a meter installed and you have the right to switch back within a year.
How much can you save?
Savings will vary depending on your household’s usage, but an average household could save about £100 or more per year, in some cases.
Thames water website has a handy water meter calculator, asking basic questions about your water usage like how many live in your house, the number of showers or baths taken a week, your dishwasher and washing machine use and what you’re currently paying. It then gives you an estimated cost if you were on a meter. The site also offers tips for how to reduce water bills.
Alternatively, you can ask your water company for a more accurate, although time-consuming, comparison.
Good to know…
Your decision to switch depends of course on the savings. If you’ll reduce water bills by a substantial amount it’s a good idea, though there are a few more facts to consider…
- If savings are minimal, stick to what you know. Water bills give you security of knowing exactly what you’ll pay each month, regardless of usage. Circumstances could change,
- You can test it for a year. It is possible to switch back to a regular bill within 12 months, or even a month after your second measured bill, whichever comes later. So you can try it and see if it works out better for you. However, if you move into a home that already has a meter, you can’t switch back.
- The effect on your house price… Some people say water meters lower a house’s sale price. There is a small chance this could put high-use buyers off, but it’s rare. So if you’re not planning to move soon, and can reduce water bills, ignore it and make the most of your savings.
- High water usage can force you onto a meter. If you use a lot of water for non-necessities, such as swimming pools, ultra-power showers, sprinkler systems, or live in a water-stressed area, a meter will be fitted automatically.
For more information on water saving in the home read our article on leak prevention.
A Homecure plumber can also advise you on the most energy and water efficient boilers for your home.