Small change: cutting your shower time by one minute

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Photo Credit: maessive via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: maessive via Compfight cc

For many of us, the path to sustainable living won’t begin with major alterations to the way we live. Instead, making small changes, such as going meatless on Monday or switching to organic produce, provides a less painful transition to a more environmentally aware lifestyle.

One simple change that we can all make is reducing our water use. According to a fact sheet published by WatersWorthIt.org, one five minute shower taken in the United States can use as much water as an individual living in a developing nation uses in a day. By cutting just one minute out of your daily shower, you can reduce your “water footprint” by hundreds, possibly thousands, of gallons each year.

The Difference a Minute Makes

Water flows at a rate of about 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) from modern shower heads, though low-flow shower heads can provide refreshing showers at just 1.5 GPM . If your shower heads were manufactured before 1992, their flow might be as high as 5.5 GPM. This means that cutting a minute from your daily shower can save between 547 and 2007 gallons of water per year.

Even better, if you typically take hot showers, you’ll also be conserving energy and saving on your utility bills when you take less time to bathe!

Time Saving Tips for the Shower

Showering is a habit for most people, which can make it hard to figure out ways to cut down on shower time. Here are some tips for getting in and out of the shower quickly:

  • Address slow hot water: There are many different reasons why it may take your shower water a long time to heat up, so if you find that your shower runs cold for the first minute or so, talk to an HVAC technician or plumber about your options.
  • Shower with purpose: Don’t just stand there — start scrubbing as soon as you get under the nozzle! Develop a quick and easy routine for getting yourself lathered up and rinsed off.
  • Keep shower items handy: Make sure that your shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and razor are in your shower area before you turn on the water.
  • Alternate hair washing days: Depending on the condition of your hair and scalp, you may not need to wash your hair every day. Wear a shower cap while washing up, and you can save time and electricity by not having to blow-dry afterwards.
  • Get a shower timer: Waterproof shower timers help you keep track of the time that you spend in the shower. Get one that rings an alarm after your allotted time is up.

Other Ways to Reduce Shower Water Waste

If this small change idea gets you excited, here are some other small changes that you can make to conserve even more water:

  • Skip the daily shower.  Good hygiene is important, but not everyone needs to take a shower every day. In fact, there is some evidence that showering daily can actually be bad for your skin. If you normally take five-minute showers, and your shower head meets standards set after 1992, alternating shower days can save over 2200 gallons of water each year.
  • Use a low-flow shower head. These shower heads can significantly reduce the amount of water you use in the shower.

What small changes have you made to your water usage? Tell us about it in the comments section.

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