According to the EPA, showering represents about 17 percent of residential indoor water use in the US. This amounts to over 1.2 trillion gallons of water every year or almost 3.3 billion gallons a day. That water comes out of our rivers, streams, and lakes while causing great harm to these fragile ecosystems. All this wasted water also takes a hit on your pocketbook if you pay for your water usage.
One of the best ways to minimize wasted water is to install a water-efficient, low flow showerhead. These days, 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) is considered the bare minimum on new showerheads–but showerheads from as recent as 15 years ago could flow at upwards of 5.5 to 7 gpm!
Do this quick test: put a bucket marked in gallons under your showerhead. Turn on the shower at the normal rate you use, and time how many seconds it takes to fill the bucket to the 1-gallon point. If it takes less than 20 seconds, you could definitely benefit from a low flow shower head because that’s way more water than you need to shower!
Think you’d be giving up your relaxing shower experience by installing a low flow shower head? Nope! It used to be the case that these water saving shower heads lowered water simply by constricting water flow–but that’s not a lot of fun. Modern shower heads have re-engineered the movement of water, sending it through orifices that focus the stream, controlling water droplet size, and even increasing the blast by mixing in air.
A new, low flow showerhead could run as little as ten bucks to $100 or more, but you don’t need the fanciest models to realize solid savings. Take this Fluidics showerhead from Alsons as an example (pictured left). This showerhead is functional and beautiful, and costs about $43. It’s engineered to create a reduced flow spray that feels like a standard high-volume showerhead. It lowers water flow to a mere 1.85 gpm without sacrificing luxury, saving 20% or more water compared to standard models! Better yet, you will save $50-$75 a year on water bills plus $20-$50 a year on energy (hot water) bills, so the showerhead pays for itself in no time flat.
Installing a showerhead is easy–simply unscrew the old one, replace with the new one and you’re well on your way to saving money.
Of course, there’s one other thing you could do to lower your water usage–take a shorter shower! That advice is unfortunately something I have a bit of a hard time following myself, I love the relaxing feel of a hot shower–but I’m trying!