Feature

Home water audit

G Magazine

Sizing up your home water use is painless and worth the savings. Here's how.

water drop

Credit: iStockphoto

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Taking stock of your water use is an ideal first-step on a mission to use less water. And the best play to start is with a "desk-top" audit by studying your bills. Look for trends or patterns and think about what could be causing spikes and troughs in your water use.

For more complicated set-ups or if you choose to go with a professional, some water authorities will even rebate 100 per cent of the cost. The Green Plumbers has a page of rebate information on.

Peter Hoefler, chief operating officer of Green Plumbers, says that "in some cases people can have a qualified plumber carry out an audit and fit a dual-flush toilet cistern, and have the full cost rebated".

Hoefler recommends doing your homework because "in some areas people can even have the full cost of a professionally-installed 5,000 L tank rebated".

There are plenty of things around the home that you can do yourself. Here's a checklist to get you on your way.

Water supply

Leaks typically account for about 3 per cent of household water use, or 1,000 L a day. So check:

  • The main stop valve is in working condition
  • No taps, pipes or connections are leaking or dripping
  • Your solar heater collector doesn't have any leaks that may be flowing unseen into downpipes
  • There are no constantly wet patches in the ground, which indicates a potential pipe leak site
Bathrooms

Bathrooms take up about 27 per cent of household water use. Check that:

  • The showerhead has a flow restrictor fitted, and it showers efficiently with less than 9 litres/minute
  • Shower times are minimised by doing as much as possible outside the shower (eg shaving). Aim for 4-minute showers
  • The bath is filled only as deep as needed and recycled as greywater
  • The basin spout is fitted with a flow restricting aerator, or a half-basin is used rather than a flowing tap
  • Taps are not left running when not needed
  • A dual-flush cistern or conversion device is fitted
  • Half-flush is used appropriately

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