New research from Direct Line Home Insurance reveals that for every leaky tap Brits lose on average 25 litres of water, the same as running a dishwasher. In fact, 460 million litres of water is lost through dripping taps each year in the UK alone, enough to fill 184 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
More than a third (35 per cent) of Brits have had to deal with a leak in the past 12 months, equating to approximately 18 million adults across the UK and of those, one in four (5.2 million) have had a major problem that needed fixing. For those on a water meter, a leak of one drip per second could increase an annual water bill by as much as six per cent2.
On average, Brits leave a leaky tap for over three weeks (25 days) before attending to it, however, one in eight (13 per cent) have left it longer than a month, and more than one in ten (11 per cent) adults haven’t fixed the leak in their home, leaving those on a water meter literally letting money run down the drain. The household appliance most likely to cause issues is the kitchen sink (15 per cent), followed by the bathroom sink (12 per cent) and the shower head (eight per cent).
As the Environmental Agency warns that climate change and population increases continue to strain our water supplies, Direct Line is calling on householders to be aware of water waste and address leaks as soon as possible. Although there may be a cost involved to fix the issue, repairing a leak immediately could save considerable money in the long-term, as a consistent leak can often result in further damage to your home.
The most common reason people dealt with a dripping tap straight away was so they didn’t waste water (24 per cent), which was followed by the increase it would make to their water bill (13 per cent). However, 11 per cent said they left a leak because it didn’t bother them and seven per cent said that they found the drip annoying but didn’t fix it because they didn’t use the room the tap was in or because it would be too expensive to do so.
Table one: Actions people took when they had a leak
|What did you do when you had a leak?||Percentages (%)|
|Fixed it straight away because it would waste water||24%|
|Fixed it straight away because the noise was annoying||16%|
|Fixed it straight away because it would make my water bill more expensive||13%|
|Didn’t fix it straight away because it was my Landlord’s problem, not mine||13%|
|It didn’t bother me, so I left it||11%|
|Tried to fix it myself which helped a little so I left it a while||9%|
|Waited until I had saved the money for a plumber||7%|
|The drip was annoying but didn’t fix it because it was too expensive||5%|
|The drip was annoying, but I didn’t fix it because I didn’t use that room often||2%|
Source: Direct Line Home Insurance 2018
Ryan Misiakowski, Disaster Recovery Manager at Direct Line Home Plus commented: “The drip, drip, drip of a leaky tap can not only be annoying, but also have a negative impact on the environment and your household bills. While it might not seem particularly problematic to begin with, this research shows just how much water is going to waste and how costly one small leak can be.
“The Environmental Agency has warned that much of England, particularly the South East, could see significant supply shortages by 2050. By being vigilant and attending to leaks quickly and efficiently, no matter the size, could prevent water waste and save you money on bills and water damage to your home. Homeowners should also ensure they have adequate home insurance cover to avoid a hefty bill should their home be damaged by water from a leak.”