Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Showers: Money & Fresh Water Down The Drain

Do you know how many gallons of fresh water you use in the shower every day? How about every year? Most likely it's much more than you realize. Being aware of the amount of water you use in the shower is important. With awareness you'll be more likely to reduce your daily water usage and as a result you'll reduce your water and energy bill and also do the planet some good.

How Much Water Do Showers Use?
On average 30% of household water is used in the shower. Homes built in the U.S. before 1992 have showerheads that use between 5 and 7 gallons per minute (GPM) or between 15 and 20 liters per minute (LPM). In 1992, however, the U.S. government began mandating that new buildings install low-flow showerheads that have a 2.5 GPM or less.

Check your showerhead to find out your shower's water flow per minute. If your showerhead uses more than 2.5 gallons per minute (or more than 9 LPM) you may want to seriously consider replacing your showerhead. If you already own a low flow showerhead and are due for a replacement, you can find high quality showerheads that use even less water than 2.5 GPM.

What Are You Saving?

Using less water will not only reduce your water bill but it will also lower your energy expenses (because you are heating less water). You'll also be doing the planet a favor by saving water and reducing greenhouse gases.

By switching to a showerhead with a lower water flow a family of four can save hundreds of dollars every year. Check out this shower calculator to determine your savings. Fill in your household statistics and try adjusting the showerhead GPM to see how much you could save if you purchased a showerhead with a lower GPM.

Types of Low Flow Showerheads
Aerated showerheads mix water and air together which reduces the amount of water used and helps maintain water pressure. Even though the flow of water is lower, the air mixture will make the shower feel more like a high pressure shower.
Non-aerated showerheads, on the other hand, pulsate individual streams of water. The water pressure of these showerheads is equally as strong. If you are partial to massage showerheads, the non-aerated showerhead is best for you.

Be on the lookout for showerheads that offer shut-off or pause buttons. This will allow you to stop the water while you are lathering up or shampooing and resume the water at the same temperature when you are ready to continue.

Eco-Friendly Showerhead Brands

Low GPM/LPM showerheads do not need to sacrifice your shower experience. Here is a compilation of eco-friendly showerheads that have gotten positive reviews and use less than 2.5 GPM (or 9 LPM). If you recommend any other brands or have some opinions about the brands listed below please add a comment or write me an email.

Check out this Consumer Report to learn more about other low flow showerheads.

More Tips
It’s easy to daze off while you’re in the shower. Don’t let time pass so quickly - try using a timer to monitor how much time you’re spending in the shower. Use a timer that you already own or check out Neco's Sand Shower Timer and Digital Shower Timer. Limit yourself to a certain amount of time in the shower every week.

Finally, try playing a mind trick on yourself. Imagine that the water coming out of your showerhead is actually money. Or imagine that it’s transparent gold. Don’t let all that money go down the drain!

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