Save hot water, save energy, save money

25 October 2011

Consumers are being encouraged this week to think about their use of hot water in economic and environmental terms as part of the fifteenth Energy Savings Week (24-28 October).

The Consumer Council for Water is urging people to reduce their hot water use to both save money and to help reduce our impact on the environment. Around one-third of a household’s energy bill relates to heating and hot water for use in baths or showers or for washing clothes and dishes. By taking simple steps to use hot water more efficiently, households should see a reduction in their energy bill, and those who are charged for their water by meter could see a reduction in their water bill too.

Cutting back on the hot water you use will also cut your carbon footprint, or the amount of CO2 you create through your daily activities. It is estimated that about one-fifth of a household’s carbon footprint comes from heating water at home.

Dame Yve Buckland, Chair of the Consumer Council for Water, said: “Taking a few minutes to consider whether you are able to benefit from some simple efficiency tips could pay off in the long run. It could also have the added benefit of helping reduce not only costs but also your carbon footprint.”

• Replace worn washers on leaky taps. A dripping hot water tap wastes both water and energy and over a year could unnecessarily add over £12 to your annual water bill.
• Shorten your shower. For every minute less you spend under your daily shower you could save money. Or go one step further and install a water-saving shower head, which can cut the amount of water used by about 30 per cent.
• When putting the kettle on to boil, only fill it with as much water as necessary. Two-thirds of us boil more water than we need.
• Make sure that the dishwasher or washing machine is completely full before turning it on, and avoid using the half load setting. Half-load cycles use much more than half the energy and water of a full load.
• Washing machines use huge amounts of energy, 90 per cent of which is through heating water. By reducing the temperature from 40 to 30 degrees, energy consumption will be reduced by 40 per cent.
• The hot water cylinder thermostat should be set at 60°C (140°F). Any higher is a waste of energy and could lead to scalding.
• Insulate the hot water cistern to avoid wasting energy to keep it hot. Fitting a jacket that is at least 75mm thick could save around £40 each year.

A full list of water saving tips is available at where you will also find a link to the Energy Saving Trust’s brand new Energy-Water Calculator.

1. Information on energy saving tips from the Energy Saving Trust:;  DirectGov:; Simply Switch;

2. The Consumer Council for Water:
• Was set up in October 2005 to represent consumers in England and Wales.
• Costs each water customer an average of 21p per year.
• Gained £135 million from water companies in reduced prices and extra investments.
• Has taken up over 75,000 consumer complaints about water and sewerage companies.
• Secured over £10 million in compensation and rebates for customers.
• Is a non-departmental public body reporting to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Welsh Assembly Government.
• Has a committee for Wales, and four regional committees in England.
• Website -

For public enquiries to the Consumer Council for Water, please contact via email on, our freephone number, 0845 039 2837, or via text phone on 0121 345 1044.

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