Tony's hot idea to use cold water

THERE'S nothing more annoying than turning on the hot tap and finding it freezing - and then watching guiltily as all the cold water goes down the plughole.

THERE'S nothing more annoying than turning on the hot tap and finding it freezing - and then watching guiltily as all the cold water goes down the plughole.

But now a Suffolk man has invented a gadget which could save 20,000 litres of water a year in every household by reusing that unwanted cold water.

Tony Ward is hoping his idea - which has just been commended in a national innovation award - will be taken up by a manufacturer and become an automatic part of all future homes.

The Warder Saver can be fitted to any plumbing system and works by using a pump which when a hot tap is turned on sucks out the cold water already sitting in the pipes.

This water is then pumped up to the head tank in the loft ready to be reheated and used later, leaving fresh hot water straight from the tank to come out of the tap.

“I have calculated that my wife and I waste 50 to 64 litres a day just running off the cold water before running a bath or using the sink - for a family it could be more - and that alone comes to around 20,000 litres a year,” he said.

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“Imagine the huge savings of water on a national basis.

“It takes, in our house, between 18 to 42 seconds for the hot water to come down from the tank, and my pump after taking off the cold water takes around 18 to 22 seconds to produce hot water.

“With such an emphasis now on the environment, this could make a really big different to the amount of water we use.”

The pump has been patented and retired farmer Mr Ward, 73, has adapted it so it can be used with various types of water heaters, as well as a version which will allow water from some pipes to be used to refill the toilet.

He says the equipment can be connected to any plumbing system and would easily fit in an airing cupboard, under a sink or could be fitted to a wall or ceiling and there is no need for major plumbing work.

Mr Ward, who lives with his wife Rosemary in Laxfield, submitted his work to the Future Friendly Awards, a nationwide search aiming to recognise people who have taken small steps to save water, energy or waste.

He will find out on March 6 whether he has won a £10,000 prize when Sir Trevor McDonald presents the awards.

Mr Ward is no stranger to inventing and has made several gadgets over the years, including building an award-winning green golf clubhouse.

“We have found ways of improving and altering most things we buy new,” he added.

Have you invented any life-changing gadgets? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FASTFACTS: Wasting and saving water

A running tap can use up to nine litres a minute - experts say don't leave the tap running while brushing your teeth, use a bowl for washing vegetables and dishes, and for a cold drink, fill a covered jug and put it in the fridge instead of running the tap.

A dripping tap can lose up to four litres of water a day.

Washing machines account for around 14 per cent of water used in the home - you can save water by waiting until you have a full load of clothes before doing the washing, or use the half load button.

The average bath uses 80 litres of water - a five-minute shower uses half the water of an average bath but power showers can use a third more water than the average bath.

A sprinkler can use as much water in an hour as a family of four does in 48 hours.

A standard water butt may collect 5,000 litres of rainwater a year.

Source: Anglian Water