It’s no secret that the average American wastes a lot of water in the bathroom. In fact, it adds up to about 17 gallons per minute in the shower alone! That might not seem like a lot per shower, but if you multiply that by minutes in your showers or baths each day, it starts to add up fast.
The good news is there are some easy ways to save water and money that you can implement today, some at absolutely no cost. Read on for some easy tips and tricks.
1. Test Your Showerhead
How much water does your shower use per minute? In the United States, gallons per minute shouldn’t exceed 2.5 GPM; otherwise, you should replace your showerhead ASAP.
Measuring the flow doesn’t require special equipment. All you need is a bucket or bowl, a measuring cup, and a timer. Sounds like a recipe, doesn’t it? A recipe for savings.
- Place the bucket under the shower head, then turn on the water and timer simultaneously (with your three hands, or as close to simultaneously as possible).
- When the timer reaches 10 seconds, turn the water off.
- Use the measuring cup to measure the water in the bucket.
- Multiply the number by 6 to get the cups per minute, and divide by 16 to determine the gallons per minute.
2. Swap Out Your Showerhead
There are two types of water-conserving showerheads:
- Aerating showerheads work by adding air to the flow of water. This mixture decreases the amount of water used and creates a gentle pressure shower.
- Non-aerating showerheads are best if you have poor water pressure. These force water through smaller openings in a conventional showerhead, delivering high-pressure showers with less water. Many non-aerating showerheads have pressure adjustment heads for variable pressure.
3. Check for Leaks
Leaks are a common cause of high water bills. Sometimes they’re obvious by the puddles on the floor or dripping from the faucet or showerhead.
Other indications can be loose or curling flooring near the shower or bath, paint peeling near it, mold spots outside the shower or bath, water stains on the shower ceiling, or chalky wood finishes.
However, not all leaks are easy to see.
- Splash Leak: Check for water splashes or puddles around sinks or tubs.
- Fixture Leak: Examine fixtures for dripping water or visible leaks.
- Other Leak: Look for damp spots on walls, ceilings, or floors not associated with fixtures. Also, pay attention to your water bill for spikes.
For hidden leaks, it’s time to hire a professional plumber.
4. Shorten Your Shower Time
Unfortunately, if you take extra-long showers, you may negate the benefits of water-conserving fixtures. Try to follow these tips.
- Turn off the water between rinsings. This is known as a navy shower, and it’s a great way to save water when you’re lathering.
- Set a timer or have a clock. You may lose yourself in the joy of showering. Setting a timer can bring you back to reality.
- Pretend you’re at the gym. People tend to take shorter showers in public showers. So surprise there, unless you enjoy being exposed in public. Pretend you’re at the gym and on your way to work (and you’re running late). No time to dilly-dally!
5. Cut Your Bath Water in Half
Reduce the amount of water in your bath. Filling the bathtub halfway prevents water from spilling over, which also incrementally reduces water waste. For extra savings, you can plug the tub before you start filling it.
It can take time for the water to warm up, but you’re paying for that water whether you use it or not. You can always collect cold water in a bucket to water the plants.
Although taking a quick shower may not seem like it would save that much water, if everyone in the United States shortened their showers by just two minutes, we could save over 2 billion gallons of water each day. That’s almost 9 trillion gallons of water saved each year.
Even a small change in your daily routine, like these easy to follow tips of testing your showerhead, swapping out your showerhead, checking for leaks, and shortening your showers, will conserve water and save money on your water bill.