Using water more efficiently in your bathroom is a great way to help the planet and cut your utility bills, with some of the biggest water users around the home being showers, taps and toilets.
Putting it in perspective, it’s estimated that Aussies can save around $2 billion by 2030 - an average saving of $175 per household, annually, just by getting smarter on water use.
With that in mind, here's some simple and easy upgrades to conserve water in your bathroom, and what you can look for in products to help check their efficiency when you’re thinking about your next bathroom build, renovation or update.
As a starting point, your best bet to ensure you’re using water-efficient products is to check the WELS rating on items like showers, dishwashers, washing machines, toilets and taps. The government’s WELS scheme rates products for its water efficiency, it was set up to make it easier for consumers to improve the sustainability of their homes. It’s a simple star-based system, so as a general guide, choosing products with the highest number of stars on the label will give you the best results, whether you’re doing a build, renovation, or update to your bathroom.
On specific products, showers make up almost 22% of the average household water use, making it one of the best places to reduce your water use. The type of showerhead makes a big difference here. Water-saving showerheads work by restricting water flow and have come a long way from early versions on performance.
The potential water savings are huge. While the average showerhead can use 15-25L of water per minute, a more efficient showerhead uses as little as 6L per minute. Putting it in perspective, a 3-star shower at 9L/min will save 70kL and $210 each year on water bills, while a 4-star shower at 6L/min will save 105kL and a whopping $315 annually.
If you don't want to change your showerhead for design or style reasons don’t worry, you can install a flow restrictor instead. Alternately, there’s also the option of adding a shower timer, which can help reduce the time spent showering by keeping a tab on how long you're taking.
Remember, spending less time in the shower saves water and money, with spending just two minutes less showering each day allows you to save over $30 per person per year.
Taps are another big water user in the bathroom so using low-flow taps, which work by mixing air into the water-flow, can lead to significant savings. Also known as 'aerators', these types of taps give the feel of a high flow rate with only half the water.
The good news is that this water-saving tech comes built into many new taps or can be retrofitted into older taps simply by screwing aerators onto the end of an outlet, making it even easier for you to make the switch to sustainable alternatives.
The savings can be quite staggering, with using low flow taps or aerators able to cut tap-water use from a standard 15-18L/min down to as little as 2L/min.
Another heavy water user in the household is the toilet. Make sure to look for a dual-flush toilet, with full-flush and half-flush options. Replacing a 12L single-flush toilet with a 4-star toilet in a household of four people will save more than 50L of water a year, and it could save you $148 on water bills.
If you can’t replace your single-flush toilet, get a tradie to change the flush volume, or if you want to do a little DIY you can put a 'water displacement device' like a plastic bottle filled with water in the cistern.
If you want to go to the next level, you could replace your conventional toilet with a waterless toilet. Waterless toilets - also known as composting toilets - work with minimal odour and little maintenance, while providing an added bonus of compost for the garden.
The results speak for themselves. By using more water-efficient products in your bathroom, it’s estimated the average Aussie household could save an average of $175 per year.
If you are looking to take advantage of these sustainable household upgrades we can help fund a range of products and services.