What strange weather we’re having! It’s the beginning of May and we’ve still got the central heating on. Yet we’ve had so little rain that the garden is going bald and any passing sprinkle runs off without soaking in.
While this hopefully signals a long, hot summer, I’m worried about my water bill. The less that comes out of the sky, the more we’ll have to douse the Minted flower beds. Letting all my begonias shrivel will end up costing rather a lot in replacement plants.
Even without irrigating the grass, our water bill is massive and I’d like to cut it. I can’t do anything about the waste water charge and I’m not keen on putting inflatable bags in the toilet cisterns. But I have identified some areas where we could turn the tap off.
1. Check for leaks
Most of the winter bill was down to a burst pipe on an outside tap. It’s right at the bottom of the garden and I didn’t notice for ages. It was only when the water company pointed out that my bill was unusually high that I checked for a leak. It’s easy enough: just turn off the water supply into the house at the stopcock and see if the meter is still running. If it is, you’ve got a leak. Summer is a great time to lag all those outside pipes, by the way.
2. Rein in laundry
How dirty are your clothes really? My teenagers seem to wear an item for just a few hours before chucking it in the wash. The Office of National Statistics says the average UK household does 260 loads a year (that’s five a week) but I reckon the Minted machines are going twice a day – more than double the average. I’m introducing a sniff test so items have a chance of more than one outing before embracing the Persil.
3. Shower not bath
Darling Son loves to wallow in hot water and will take two baths a day if he can. Maybe I’ll take the faucets off so he’ll have to shower instead. My skinted colleague Charlotte has a top tip here too: install a timer in the cubicle so you know how long you’re lingering.
4. Put away the jet wash
Mr Minted has transformed our patio with the help of the trusty Karcher and is looking for other areas to blast. Much as I don’t want to discourage this newfound enthusiasm for DIY, I think a bucket and cloth is adequate for car-cleaning.
5. Collect rainwater
There’s a wide range of water butts (the cheapest I saw was £29.99) you can buy to plug into your guttering system and save rainwater rather than let it run away. Great for hosing on to the garden later and it’s free.
For more tips, see my blog on saving on laundry costs.