Showering to Savings
According to the 2016 Residential End Uses of Water Study, showers are tied with faucets as the second largest use of water at 11.1 gallons used per capita per day, or 19 percent of an individual's total use. The average American shower uses approximately 15.8 gallons (59.8 liters) and lasts for 7.8 minutes at an average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute (7.9 lpm).
Showerheads that earn the WaterSense label must demonstrate that they use no more than 2 gallons per minute. The WaterSense label also ensures that these products provide a satisfying showering experience that is equal to or better than conventional showerheads on the market. EPA worked with a variety of stakeholders—including consumers who tested various showerheads—to develop criteria for water coverage and spray intensity, two important factors that affect user satisfaction. All products bearing the WaterSense label must be independently certified to ensure they meet EPA water efficiency and performance criteria. Installing a WaterSense-labeled model can save water by providing the same shower experience at a lower flow rate.
The duration of the shower has a direct effect on water usage. A 20-minute shower will use twice as much water as a 10-minute shower taken at the same flow rate. Many have hypothesized reducing flow rates of showerheads might cause users to take much longer showers, but scientific studies that monitored thousands of homes across the nation have proven the flow rates have little influence on the duration of the shower. A shower timer might be a helpful tool in reducing the length of your showers - see Shower Timer Introduction. Reducing shower time also reduces hot water use, which saves energy.
Current national energy policy act (EPAct) standards mandate that all showerheads manufactured in the U.S. have a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gpm (9.5 lpm). Before 1980, many showerheads exceeded 5 gpm (18.9 lpm).
Shower Water Saving Tips
- Pay attention to the length of time spent in the shower. Try taking a shorter shower of around 5 minutes.
- If your shower is equipped with an on-off switch, use it while you are soaping and shampooing. If your showerhead doesn't have an on-off switch, you can simply turn the water off while lathering.
- If you have to wait for hot water to reach the shower, try collecting the normally discarded cold water in a bucket for watering plants.