Is a shower more water efficient than a bath?
With the drought and the water restrictions in full swing and warnings from local councils about heavy fines for excessive water usage , many homeowners are asking themselves ,”What more can I do to save water? I’m not using my hose pipe to water the garden or wash the cars, I’m using my bathwater for the garden , have put a 2L bottle filled with water into my toilet cistern to flush less..what else?”
There is one more element you can look at and that is your shower.
With the warmer weather well and truly here, most of us prefer to shower than bath and many us may believe that showering uses less water than bathing…
This may not be the case for many homes.
An average bath could use about 100 -150 litres of water for four people, assuming a bit of a top up of hot water by the person that baths second, third or last.
That sounds like a lot of water doesn’t it?
Well then , consider this.
Your average showerhead uses up to 20 Litres of water per minute!
If you have a 5 minute shower, that’s 100 litres of water right there – same as a bath and that’s just for ONE person.
If a family of four has to shower and each have a 5 minute shower , this would use 400 litres of water more than DOUBLE the amount in a bath!
The Shower head volume test.
Fortunately , there is a very easy way to calculate how much water your shower uses.
- Run your shower up to temperature and pressure as you normally have it.
- Once it’s at temperature and pressure , take a bucket and put it under the flow for 15 seconds.
- Turn the shower off and measure how much water is in the bucket.
- Multiply the amount of water in the bucket by 4 and that gives you’re your shower flow per minute.
If you have a standard shower head, there should be around 4-5 litres of water in that bucket and that will give you 16- 20 litres of water PER MINUTE.
How much water does your shower really use?
Let’s take this a little further.
Let’s assume that you have a family of four and everyone showers once per day for 5 minutes.
That’s 400 litres of water per day of which approximately 40% is hot water.
That’s 160 litres of hot water per day , enough to fill a 150 litre geyser at least once a day.
In a month , that family would use 12 000 litres of water on a SHOWER ALONE and of that 4800 litres of water is hot, effectively meaning that your geyser is heating it’s full capacity once per day.
Over a year, the water usage is 144 000 litres per year of which 57600 litres is hot water.
From a cost perspective , this would equate to around R2630 per year JUST For the shower.
Starting to get the picture here?
From an electricity point of view, your geyser would take about 2 hours to heat water from tap temperature to 60° Celsius and that would use around 8 kw of electricity.
This means that every day , this geyser is using 8Kwh just for the shower alone.
This is equivalent to 240kwh per month or 2880 Kwh per year.
At approximately R 1,75 per kwh at the current tariff, this would be costing R5040-00 per year JUST FOR THE SHOWER !
At this rate, the shower alone once per day for four people is costing almost R8000 per year.
Bear in mind that this is assuming a shower once per day! Many families with standard shower heads shower twice per day!
So, what’s the solution?
The Simple shower solution from Saving Energy
First and foremost, get an energy and water saving shower head like this one. This shower head ( the Cobra Pulse Massage Rose) has a guaranteed flow rate of just 9 Litres per minute. This alone would cut the shower water and electricity consumption by 55%.
It uses a special low flow regulator that simply reduces the flow of water , but does not have any effect on the shower experience at all.
Many people believe that installing an energy and water saving shower head would leave you standing under a slow dripping shower- not at all.
In fact , you wouldn’t even notice the difference, but you would know that you are saving a huge amount of water and electricity!
How much would you save?
Based on the numbers above , using this shower head would mean that this family would save almost 80 000 litres of water per year or R1500 and R2770 per year in electricity for a shower head that only costs R180.
Secondly , implement a strict time limit on showers and this can add even more savings!
Instead of a 5 minute shower each, cut that down to a maximum of 2,5 minutes. If you can’t do what you need to do in a shower in 2,5 minutes well…Anyone can wash themselves, their hair and rinse in 2,5 minutes.
Do the math here, reducing the total shower time to just 10 minutes for this family would cut their usage drastically and save a massive amount of water!
Using the same model , installing the shower head and cutting down the shower time would mean that the shower usage is now only an incredible 90 litres of water for all 4 people!
That’s a massive 78% saving on water usage alone!
Of that 90 litres, just 36 litres is hot water VS 160 Litres of hot water to start with.
Over a month , the shower would use just 2700 litres of water and over a year only 32 400 litres of water , saving more than 111 000 litres of water!
That’s almost R2000!
On the electricity side, where the usage was 160 litres of hot water per day, this is now just 36 litres!
It would take 4 days of showering for the geyser to use the same amount of electricity and this would save 78% of that cost per month!
With this strategy in place, the shower would only cost R52-80 per month (vs R240 before) and just R686-00 per year vs R5040 previously!
That’s an annual saving of R4354-00 plus the water saving of R2000 = R 6354-00 per year!
For an investment of just R180?
This is a real no-brainer!
Lastly, if you really want to save even more water- shower together!