How to: save water in the kitchen
24 April 2015 | James Fritz
The average person in the UK uses a whopping 150 litres of water a day! That’s a whole lot of H2O. This is not only hugely damaging for the environment, it can also see your water bills go through the roof. So, thoughtful people that we are, we’ve compiled five tips to help you use water wisely in the kitchen.
Washing up doesn’t have to be twice as painful
There are three certainties in life that unite us all. Death, taxes, and a hatred of washing up.
But if there’s one thing worse than a sink full of dirty dishes on a Saturday morning, it’s a sink full of dirty dishes that costs you more money than they need to. A running tap can waste more than six litres of water a minute, and when that water is hot it adds pounds onto your gas bill.
Thankfully there’s no reason for to lower your bank balance as well as your morale. Using a sink or bowl full of water to wash up twice a day, rather than constantly running your messy pots and pans under the hot tap. 10 minutes of rinsing dishes can waste 100 litres of water. Rinsing in a bowl only uses 10 litres. Try using the water from cooked rice, pasta or vegetables to rinse the greasiest pans!
Keep an eye when cooking
You can save buckets of water by making simple changes to your cooking habits. To start, don’t defrost anything using the hot tap. Try and leave it in the fridge overnight. Similarly wash your vegetables in a bowl of water, rather than under the tap.
Make sure you only boil the recommended amount of water for what you’re cooking. In fact, you can afford to boil a bit less: most pasta, for example, tends to require less than the quantity recommended on the packet. Be sensible. You don’t need a swimming pool to parboil two potatoes.
If you really want to save water, do away with boiling altogether. Steaming your veg not only requires less water, but it also keeps loads more nutrients locked into your food. And we could all use more nutrients, right?
No half-measures - run a full load in the dishwasher
We know you want to use your favourite bowl (currently sitting dirty in the dishwasher) for your morning cornflakes fix, but hold your horses before you press that button.
Dishwashers use a great deal of water, no matter how full they are. And don’t give us the ‘I always run it on ‘half-load’ argument - it doesn’t wash (ahem). The ‘half-load’ setting will only save about 10-20% of water, and just as much energy, meaning it’s not nearly as efficient as waiting to run a full load. The rinse setting is often not needed with new models either! In fact, new models are generally much better so when it’s time to replace your dishwasher look for one with low-water consumption!
What’s even more efficient, however, is running a full-load on the dishwasher’s ‘eco’ program, if it’s got one. It uses less water and less energy, and the results are the same.
A full kettle is an expensive kettle
Fancy a cup of tea? Us too. Problem is we filled the kettle to the top, and it’s taking about a year to boil.
Not only is a full kettle a time sponge, it’s also an energy saving nightmare, using a large amount of electricity. Most, however, can boil as little as a mug’s worth, which can save huge amounts of water and electricity over the course of the year. All those caffeine hits add up.
It’s also one of our favourite money saving tips: If you can cut ‘kettle boiling time’ down from 10 minutes a day to 5 minutes a day (by using less water!), this could save £12 a year on your energy bills. If everyone in the UK did this, we could save enough electricity in a year to power every street light in the country for two months.
Don’t be fooled: It’s never just a drip
Drip. Drip. Drip.
You don't need to fix that leaky tap.
After all, it's only a tiny leak. What harm is it doing?
Although it is annoying. Very annoying.
Oh, and it actually wastes a colossal amount of water. A dripping tap that leaks just two tablespoons a minute mounts up to 5,500 litres of water a year! That’s more water per year than the average dishwasher. If it’s the hot tap, it could cost you over £18 per year in energy bills too!
Do the environment - and your sanity - a favour, and change your washer promptly if it starts to drip.
All the facts in this article were sourced by our partner, the Centre for Sustainable Energy. If you’d like more free impartial advice on anything from tips on energy efficiency and renewable energy to how to apply for grants and financial support just give us a call on 0800 408 6601 (mobile 0117 934 1999) to speak with an energy efficiency expert or you can email us.