Is It Worth Fitting a Water Meter to Save Money?
With household bills always on the rise, millions of us are looking for ways to help us lower our monthly costs. Water is one of our biggest concerns. Naturally, we can’t go without it – yet, keeping up with water bills can be a nightmare. Thankfully, there’s a way to keep track of the water you use and stop your rates from skyrocketing over the year.
Water meters are proving highly popular, decades on, up and down the country – but will they save you money?
What Is a Water Meter?
Simply put, a water meter is a small device that attaches to your household pipes to determine how much water you use. While commonly fitted for private use, they can be helpful in both commercial and residential properties, and are usually supplied and fitted by public water supply companies.
The company that fits a water meter to your property, for example, will be the same body responsible for billing you each month or quarter. If you live in Sheffield, as a further example, you’re covered by Yorkshire Water.
What Is the Point of a Water Meter?
Water meters provide an alternative mode of billing to fixed-rate invoicing – in that you are ‘paying as you use’.
Regardless of where you live in the UK, chances are that you pay for your water at a fixed rate. That is to say, you pay a certain amount every month to cover your water and sewerage bill, no matter your use. Essentially, the amount that you pay per month is based on the rateable value of your home.
The idea behind fixed rates is that you will not get caught out by huge bills from month to month – and that it’s easier for many households to plan ahead for charges. That way, during the months where you use less water, you’d still pay the amount you would during periods where you’d use a lot more.
However, with a water meter, you would pay bills based on the water you use as opposed to relying on estimates. But, is that necessarily the right option for you and your household to take?
Is It Worth Fitting a Water Meter?
It all depends on your circumstances. For some people, having a water meter is a great way of saving money every month – as they may only use a small amount compared to households with larger families, for example.
On the other hand, for others, water meters can make things more expensive. But, why is this?
If you have a home with a lot of space – with multiple bedrooms, for example – but very few people live there and use the facilities, then a water meter could be a great idea. This is simply due to the fact that your fixed-rate water bill will have been determined based on the sheer size and potential water use of your home, and not on the number of people that actually reside there.
Therefore, by paying a bill that is based only on the water that you use, you could end up saving yourself some serious money. However, it could go the other way.
If you live in a smaller home in a family of four, for example, then chances are that your water bill would be higher with a water meter than it would be on a fixed rate.
Generally speaking, the fewer people that live with you, the more likely a water meter could save you money over time.
How Do I Know if a Water Meter Is Right for My Home?
As arbitrary as it may seem, it doesn’t actually have to be a guessing game to determine whether or not you should get a water meter.
You can easily use an online water meter calculator for free to measure up ahead of time. Here’s a handy tool supplied by the Consumer Council for Water – providing an excellent way of comparing your current bills to what you might expect from a water meter.
Simply dig out a previous bill and compare it with what the online survey results tell you. If there’s a major difference in savings, it might be time to get a meter fitted.
How Much Does It Cost to Have a Water Meter Fitted?
Fortunately, you do not have to spend a fortune to have your water meter fitted.
In fact, depending on where you live, you may not have to spend anything at all!
For those living in England and Wales, you can have your water meter fitted for free. All you need to do is contact your local water supplier, fill in a quick form either online, or chat to an advisor via phone, and your supplier will dispatch someone to fit your water meter.
However, if you live in Scotland, you’re unfortunately going to need to pay for the fitting, too. In fact, it could cost you over £300 to have a water meter installed. Be sure to check with your water supplier, of course – as fees may vary depending on who you’re connected to.
Getting a water meter fitted is a relatively speedy process and shouldn’t cause much noise – or take up much of your day. There’s no need to lose money by booking whole days away from work, for example.
Will Water Meters Save People Money?
On average, yes – water meters can save people money, much in the same way that a prepayment meter for electricity and gas supplies can help to spread the cost on energy over time. That said, if you are interested in going metered, it really does pay to check your bills and to do a little homework. If you live alone or with a partner, you’re more likely to save big money with a water meter than, say, a family of five crammed into a three-bedroom terrace.
If you’re in the process of tightening up your finances this year, don’t let water rates catch you unawares – water meters could make a major difference to your bank balance.