Take Shorter Showers
Who doesn’t love taking a long, hot luxurious shower sometimes—or maybe most of the time? But did you know that your shower is the biggest user of hot water in the entire house? A typical shower uses up a whopping 37% of a household’s hot-water usage and contributes mightily to your energy costs. If you’re interested in reducing your energy use and costs, shortening the time you spend showering is a great way to start.
What You Should Know
- At the sink and in the shower, the average person uses 50 gallons of hot water a day.
- Simple changes to daily bathing, teeth-brushing and shaving habits can lead to big savings.
What You Can Do
Take shorter showers. Have you ever timed yourself in the shower? An 8-minute shower is normal, but considering most older showerheads use 4 to 6 gallons of water per minute, you’ll still be using up 32 to 48 gallons of water. Anything above 10 minutes wastes a lot of hot water. An 8-minute shower compared with a 10-minute shower will save approximately 300 gallons of water a month.
Cut down your shower time even further—perhaps to 5 minutes—and see the savings in energy costs and water use really improve. One way to shorten your shower is to try what many Europeans do who live in areas where water resources are scarce: turn on the shower to soak your skin and hair, then turn off the water while lathering up with soap and shampoo. Turn the water on again for a quick rinse and you’re done in record time.
Take fewer showers (and colder showers?). In most countries in the world where water supplies are low, people are accustomed to showering once every other day or even less. There is even some evidence that daily showering can increase exposure to pathogens that hide in the showerhead. And some doctors believe that a 60-second cold shower actually improves the immune system and helps fight cold and flu symptoms.
Take fewer baths. Baths typically require 20 gallons of hot water, while a five-minute shower with an efficient showerhead will use 10 gallons or less.
Sources: You Can Prevent Global Warming: 51 Easy Ways, by Jeffrey Langholz and Kelly Turner; 30 Simple Energy Things You Can Do To Save The Earth, by the Earth Works Group and PG&E.