Are greywater recycling systems a waste of money?

The average person in the UK uses 150 litres of water per day, so saving it, where possible, is key. A lot of people ask us if they should install greywater recycling. On paper, it sounds on paper like a great idea. Water from washing and bathing is diverted and used to flush toilets. This saves water having to be pumped away from your house to a treatment plant.

The bottom line is that a lot of the water we use at home is excessively sanitised. In the UK, all the water fed through our pipes at home meets drinking standards! Why use super-clean water to just to flush your toilet? The issue is whether or not the costs stack up.

How much does a greywater recycling system cost?

The main downside of domestic greywater recycling is its cost – but it’s a big downside. Most systems weigh in at around £5-6,000, plus average installation costs of £1000. This would already be prohibitively expensive for most households, but then there’s the added cost and hassle of maintenance. This involves things like cleaning filters and topping up disinfectant levels, and normally costs around £150 per year.

Is a greywater recycling system worth it?

A greywater system can reduce water usage in the home by 50%. So why isn’t it more popular?

We use huge amounts of water in the western world and it makes sense to try and recycle some of it! However, in reality, the incentive is not there for homeowners to install a system.

Recycling greywater makes sense from an environmental point of view, but normally not a financial one. It reduces demands on public water supply, as the less that is used, the less that needs treating (with less energy used to pump it). However, it normally won’t save you enough money on a domestic level to pay pay back the huge installation costs – at least not for many years. If your water is metered, it will cut your bills, but this isn’t going to cover £6,000!

Aside from the financial considerations, there is also the matter of safety. Greywater carries a risk of some pretty serious water-borne diseases if not managed properly. When stored, bacteria in the water can multiply, so it needs to be treated, like it would be by water companies on a bigger scale. Ensuring the right mix of chemicals and making sure you’re managing it properly is an ongoing job – so it’s not a fit and forget technology.

It can make more sense to install a greywater recycling system if it’s on a bigger scale, e.g. in a big hotel, for instance. However, the bottom line is that it’s not worth it if your aim is saving money on bills. If you’re looking for ways to save water in your home, there are things you can do that are definitely cheaper and easier than installing a greywater recycling system. Check out our top tips here.