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Water Service Pipework Emergency Stop of Supply

During cold weather it is often the most inappropriate time for problems with pipework, taps and appliances. I visit many properties that have either damaged/defective stoptaps/stopcocks or the access to stop supply is obscured by debris in outside meter stopcocks or even fitted kitchen cupboards or heavy furniture for interior stopcocks.The picture below shows an exterior stopcock cover. This cover top may be set at surface level so only the access cover is visible. The position of the stopcock may not be too obvious. Look at the front or back of your property  for a metal or plastic cover about 6″ [150mm] square. You may have a shared supply with a neighbour or a row of properties, depending on the main supply pipework arrangements. It’s always good to check with neighbours, before you stop the supply. It will not be obvious you have a shared supply, until someone complains, after you’ve cut their water off!

Outside Stopcock cover

Outside Stopcock cover

You may have a modern water meter. If you see a round plastic cover looking like the one below

Water Meter Boundary Box

Water Meter Boundary Box

You will only see the circular plastic cover at surface level of the road or pavement.

You must take care to protect your working area, avoiding hazards to other road users and pedestrians.

The inside of the meter box or cover box may be full of water or other debris. Have plenty of rags and a large sponge handy to clear out the box, so you can see what you are doing.

The picture below shows what you may see once you’ve opened the cover.

Water Meter view from above.

Water Meter view from above.

 

Water Meter view from above

Water Meter view from above

Access may be difficult so investing in a stopcock key may well save time and make access much easier.

There are two types of domestic stopcock keys, as shown below.

Stopcock Key [short]

Stopcock Key [short]

Stopcock Key [long]

Stopcock Key [long]

The stopcock may be of either plastic MDPE [medium-density polyetheline] or brass construction. The pictures below show the most common types.

MPDE Stopcock

MDPE [medium-density polyetheline] Stopcock

Brass Stopcock

Brass Stopcock

It is always good idea to check your water stopcock in good weather, to avoid problems with operation in times of bad weather. If you have problems with the functioning of your water supply stopcock, contact the Company who you pay your water bill to.

This link shows a map of Water Company areas http://www.water.org.uk/home/our-members/find-water-company

This link gives contact details for UK Water Companies http://www.water.org.uk/home/our-members/list-of-companies

The Water Company will arrange a visit to rectify or replace your stopcock. During bad weather the maintenance staff are very busy attending to faults and failures. A domestic Customer may have to wait up to a week for someone from the Water Company to attend.

Don’t wait until an emergency to find out your water stopcock doesn’t work.

Please contact me at aim.home@gmx.com or telephone 07901380746 if you need any help or want to discuss issues raised in this post.

Regular maintenance and inspection is not too expensive, and may well save much more if you have problems in times of bad weather.

Water is a valuable resource that must be saved at every opportunity.

Help to save water by undertaking regular maintenance of your supply equipment.

 

AIM improving your world without costing the earth

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The Cost of Bath -v- Shower

There is a surprising difference in costs between taking a bath and taking a shower. If you pay water rates, you pay fixed charges as detailed below. The published figures are chargeable, regardless of how much water is actually used.

Type of premises

Water

Sewerage

Total

Single person household

£105.57

£138.62

£244.19

bungalows

£225.11

£232.93

£458.04

Semi-detached houses and bungalows

£205.87

£217.75

£423.62

Detached houses and Other household premises

£157.78

£179.81

£337.59

However if you have a water meter fitted the cost is directly charged by the quantity of water drawn of to supply your property. There is also a cost for sewerage. This is not metered, but a simple additional cost per m³, as detailed below:

Water meter rates

Water

Sewerage

Standing   Charge

Price   per m³

Standing   Charge

Fixed   charge

Price   per m³

£30

£1.374

£15

£64

£1.084

The table above water costs £0.002458 per litre. This is the total cost of water drawn off and sewerage returned after use.

The average bath takes 150 litres to fill. A cubic meter of water contains 1000 litres. From the prices above the average bath contains 20 pence worth of water.

  • A five minute ‘high-flow’ shower uses approximately 90 litres of water which costs about 12 pence.
  • A five minute ‘standard’ shower uses approximately 50 litres of water which costs about 12 pence.

Now total costs for comparison are

Bath = 37 pence = £259.00 per year*

5 minute Shower high flow rate = 22 pence** = £154.00 per year*

5 minute Shower standard flow rate = 12 pence** = £84.00 per year*

* based on 2 instances per day for 350 days per year

**Note the shower flow rate is based on optimum 18 litres per minute. Many operate at approximately 10 litres per minute. This reduces the shower costs to 12 pence [7 pence for water and 6 pence for waste water to sewer]

Compare your costs and see if you are better off with a water meter.

Please contact me if you want any further advice or guidance.

AIM – here to help

Take control of your water don’t pour money down the drain

Water Supply and Use in Your Home

A hot water cylinder can give 30 litres per minute of hot water, if the cold main into the property is only 10 litres per minute, then you will only get 10 litres per minute out to taps.

The simplest way to measure flow rate is to time how long it takes to fill a bucket to known volume. For example, if it takes you 30 seconds to fill a 10 litre bucket, the flow rate is 20 litres per minute.

The local water pressure is set by your water supplier. Legally they only have to guarantee 1 bar pressure and 9 litres/minute flow.

Approximate hot or cold water demand, flow rate litre per second and litres per minute

Outlet

Litres per second

Litres per minute

Capacity [litres]

Cost per instance of use

Based on rate of £0.002458 per litre

Basin [spray]

0.05

3

10

2.5 pence

Basin [standard tap]

0.15

9

10

2.5 pence

Toilet cistern [pre-1993]

0.10

6

25

6 pence

Dual flush cistern [short flush]

0.10

6

2.5

0.6 pence

Dual flush cistern [long flush]

0.10

6

4

1 pence

Shower [100mm rose]

0.30

18

90

22 pence

Bath [tap]

0.30

18

150

37 pence

Using the tables of charges below you can see how much your water bills should be and budget for future use based on current charges.

The following details costs for water and sewerage, extract from United Utilities list of charges

Type of premises Water Sewerage Total
Single person household £105.57 £138.62 £244.19
bungalows £225.11 £232.93 £458.04
Semi-detached houses and bungalows £205.87 £217.75 £423.62
Detached houses and Other household premises £157.78 £179.81 £337.59

Careful users can make much savings by having a water meter fitted. The details listed below will let you compare both methods of payment

Water meter rates

Water

Sewerage

Standing Charge

Price per m³

Standing Charge

Fixed charge

Price per m3

£30

£1.374

£15

£64

£1.084

The average bath takes 150 litres to fill. A cubic meter of water has 1000 litres. From the prices above the average bath has 20 pence worth of water. A five-minute shower uses about 90 litres of water which costs about 12 pence.

Don’t forget to add the cost of what goes down the drain! Bath waste water costs 16 pence to get rid of and 10 pence for a shower.

Now total costs for comparison are Bath = 37 pence = £259.00 per year* 5 minute Shower high flow rate = 22 pence** = £154.00 per year* 5 minute Shower standard flow rate = 12 pence** = £84.00 per year*

* based on 2 instances per day for 350 days per year

**Note the shower flow rate is based on at best 18 litres per minute. Many use about 10 litres per minute. This reduces the shower costs to 12 pence [7 pence for water and 6 pence for waste water to sewer]

Green Deal Ecologic Take control of your water don’t pour money down the drain

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Hard Water Treatment in Your Home

Water softening tablets cost about 23 pence each. That is adding 23 pence to every load in your washing machine. Sadly these treatments do not protect your iron, kettle, hot water immersion heater or central heating boiler.

We can fit a scale inhibitor to your water supply. It is a fit-and-forget addition to your home that offers total protection for 5 years. No maintenance is needed and all water using appliances are protected.

The chemical treatment of your washing machine will cost £40.25 per year, and all other appliances are not protected. We can protect your whole water system for £80.00. After two years you have your money back in savings from buying chemicals. The added benefit of protecting the other appliances must be worth £25.00 to £50.00 per year.

This would make you at least £370.00 better off after 5 years.

Contact us to discuss your requirements and arrange a home visit.

AIM – We are here to help you save money and improve your quality of life.

 

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