Articles Parenting Through My Eyes

9th January – Changes Afoot

Changes Afoot

The water bill came yesterday. The electricity letter came today. I am in shock.

In a year, our water usage has increased dramatically. Yes, we do now have seven people sometimes using water in our house, but some days, we have just two. I hoped that the usage would be average. I’m astounded that it is greater than expected for a household of six people. Therefore, changes are afoot.

Not only am I concerned about the financial impact these increased monthly payments (from £25 to £67!), I also need to think about the effect this huge overuse of water is having on the environment. The electricity bill also highlights an enormous increase in the amount of electricity we have used too. 

What action will I take?

Time to get serious.

  • There are several appliances in the household that could be switched off overnight to save energy. The clock/timer on the oven uses far more electricity than one really considers and so, unless we are using the oven, we are going to try to remember to switch it off. Yes, it does mean that the clock will either need resetting each time or we will learn to ignore it, but that is a tiny price to pay for a huge gain. 
  • We will educate the children better regarding electricity use, and hold them accountable when they leave lights on in their bedrooms or have three or four appliances plugged in at once. 
  • Although reducing electricity use is the most important thing, we are looking at changing our supplier to in order to benefit from a more reasonable rate, saving us money. We have an Economy 7 meter, so it is proving challenging using things more at night than during the day because of our bedtimes and also the noise created by the washing machine and dishwasher.
  • Last year, I remember reading Julie’s blog where she talked about having a timer in the bathroom to limit showers to just five minutes. This is something I would like to implement in our household.
  • In terms of daily baths/showers, the girls are younger and prefer baths at the moment. When we have them all together, they do share the same water. The boys have graduated to having showers. 
  • Personally, we use the bath rarely. Occasionally, to soothe aching muscles that come from running, we will choose a bath in addition to a shower, but that is rare. This is something to think about though. Unless absolutely necessary, we will avoid the bath. 
  • Remembering water usage when I’m cooking is something I really need to work on. The number of times I drain the veggies without retaining the water to use the gravy is crazy. Carrot water adds a delicious flavour to the gravy, so it is daft not to re-use it!
  • Boiling and re-boiling a kettle is wasteful too. I need to learn not to walk away when making a cup of tea as I often forget about it.
Unless absolutely necessary, we will avoid the bath.

Having said all of that, I am keen to instil in the children that, although reducing water use is a positive thing, it is still vital that we keep a good level of hygiene. We are not trapped in the Victorian era, bathing just once a week. The amount of physical activity we all do (swimming, for example) means that we would smell if we didn’t shower daily and the effect chlorine has on drying out your skin would be awful. Washing hands properly is important too, so there is a fine balance when educating the children about water. 

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