Published: 00:00, 20 February 2018
| Updated: 09:36, 25 February 2018
Sophie Baylis, Houzz contributor
It’s easier than you might think to save water in the bathroom. Check out these simple water-saving ideas and find out from the experts why these small steps can make such a big difference.
Professional advice from Joanne Crane, bathroom designer at Ripples Reigate, Lisa Ward of Bristan and Robert Tyson of Victorian Plumbing
Restrict your shower’s flow
Standard showers tend to deliver a flow rate of 13.5 litres per minute, while flow-regulated ones reduce this to a rate of 10 litres per minute.
“Although this can translate to significant water savings over the year, the difference in the shower performance is barely noticeable,” says Lisa Ward of Bristan.
Look for models that feature a flow restrictor and an aerator, which enriches the water with air and delivers a softer spray.
Most homes now have a water meter, so consumption is a common consideration when choosing a showerhead.
“Many showerheads are already fitted with a flow restrictor,” explains Joanne Crane of Ripples.
“This limits the quantity of water that passes through the showerhead, in turn saving on water consumption.”
Switch to eco
Another option is a tap or showerhead with an eco setting. This means you can choose when to put it into water-saving mode.
“You may choose an eco setting for a quick shower, but normal mode for when you’re washing your hair,” suggests Lisa.
“However, when it comes to a basin tap, you may prefer to use the eco setting permanently, as most tasks won’t require a high flow.”
Invest in quality
The saying 'you get what you pay for' rings true when buying taps and showerheads.
“Cheaply manufactured fixtures can begin to rust over time, which looks unsightly and in some cases, completely spoils the look of the room,” says Robert Tyson of Victorian Plumbing.
“Poorly made taps can stiffen up over time too, especially if they feature a crosshead handle design, which can make them difficult to use.”
Stiff taps can be tricky to turn off and may drip continually, which in turn wastes water.
Quality brassware with water-saving credentials doesn’t have to mean a hefty price tag. Stick to well-respected brands and always check that the product you’re buying comes with a manufacturer’s guarantee, which will protect you if there’s a problem later on.
Swap a single flush for a dual one
You may not realise it, but your loo is a huge water waster. In fact, according to Waterwise, 30% of the water each adult uses daily goes down the toilet.
Lisa argues that making the switch to a modern dual-flush option can make for some serious water savings.
“Typically, a traditional single-flush toilet will use a generous nine to 12 litres per flush, whereas today’s dual options use a maximum of just six litres – with some as low as two,” she explains.
Don’t go for a cheap loo
Choosing a dual-flush cistern from a reputable company will save you time and money in the long run.
“Many cheaply built toilets can have problems such as water running into the bowl continuously, which can be a hassle to fix,” explains Robert.
“Some designs don’t have enough power either, so when you flush, the amount of water let into the bowl is insufficient and you actually end up using more water as a result of multiple flushes.”
You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good quality loo, but it pays to do some research before you buy. Look at customer reviews before making a decision as these will often warn you away from poor quality designs.
Include affordable updates
“If you want to upgrade your existing loo rather than replace it, companies such as FlushKING provide parts that will upgrade single-flush cisterns to dual-flush designs, such as their Top Press dual-flush valve kit,” advises Robert.
There are also clever water-saving devices that can make a difference.
“A nice little option is a cistern displacement device (CDD), which, as the name suggests, is placed in the cistern to displace water, which can reduce up to three litres each flush,” adds Lisa.
“According to Waterwise, this can equate to a saving of 5,000 litres per year.”
Enjoy guilt-free bathing
Baths come under scrutiny when water-saving measures hit the headlines. Manufacturers have responded by redesigning baths so that they still deliver a luxurious experience, but with less water.
This is achieved by contouring the internal profile of the bath, so that it requires substantially less water to fill up to the overflow – up to a 90-litre saving in some examples,” says Lisa.
Low-volume baths have the same dimensions as standard ones, so you can slot in a water-saving model without having to change your whole bathroom layout.