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Use Your Head in the Shower

July 14, 1996|Written by Amy Mickelson from the Education and Information Network of the Washington State Energy Office

QUESTION: I've heard taking showers uses less hot water than baths. Is this true?

ANSWER: Sometimes. The amount of water you use in the shower depends on two things:

1) How long you stay in the shower and 2) how much water flows out of the showerhead each minute (flow rate). On average, a 3-5 minute shower will use less water than filling the tub.

Why not experiment? Close the drain during your next shower. If the water depth is lower than if you had filled the tub, then you're saving water and energy!

You can do other things to use hot water efficiently. If your family hasn't already done so, install a water- and energy-saving showerhead. It will use only 2.5 million gallons of water (or less) per minute. Older showerheads may use as much as eight gallons of water per minute. When you turn on the water and wait for the temperature to warm, use a bucket to catch the water that would normally go down the drain. (The water in the bucket can be used for houseplants or the garden.) If your showerhead has a shut-off valve, stop the water as you lather with soap or shampoo then turn it on to rinse.

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