Water's everywhere, and what's more, it's cheap. Particularly when compared to the likes of coal, gas and electricity bills - handily demonstrated in this graph here - you really start to realise how lucky we are to have clean, healthy drinking water at a low price.
Still, there are a number of ways to lower your outgoings on this essential resource. While you can happily fit a water-saving shower head or generally have a policy in place to never let a tap run (for example, while brushing your teeth), there's something that may be much more effective and efficient with your wallet: water softening devices.
Many places in the UK already have "soft" water, but "hard" water - that which contains a high mineral content, and is predominantly sourced from underground reserves after filtering through the ground - can cause a lot of problems in the home, on your body, and on your supermarket bills.
So, how will you save money by going online to get hold of a water softening system?
Everyone's been in a house where a kettle is covered in limescale. This is the result of magnesium and calcium in water sealing itself to surfaces, damaging or restricting their practicality. With softened water, the amount of maintenance and servicing your appliances need is dramatically reduced.
Save on energy bills
Studies have looked into how gas and electric water heaters supplied by hard water are much less efficient than those being fitted with a water softener. A New Mexico State University research team discovered that energy usage by gas heaters was 23.8 per cent lower with a water-softening system, while it was 17.8 per cent lower for electric alternatives.
Less money spent on soap, shampoo and detergent
Stain removal efficacy in washing machines is much better with softened water at the lowest temperature and detergent level than with hard water at the highest temperature and detergent amount. Hard water also removes natural oils in the skin, meaning soap does not bond with it as well - and you have to use more.
Clothes last longer
When washed in softened water, laundry - bed linen, tablecloths and towels, to name just a few - will last much, much longer, as soft water is much more delicate on spin cycles.