Treading Water

Last night found me balanced on the bathtub ledge trying to determine whether or not we have a water-saving shower head installed. Since moving in, I’ve assumed that these water-saving devices were installed. Why wouldn’t a property manger want to save hundreds, perhaps thousands of dollars per year? But I shouldn’t assume that is the case. Examination of the shower head didn’t tell me much. In the course of doing some online investigating, I found some good info regarding resource usage, including these two nifty calculators:

  • Compute your water and energy usage and calculate potential money and natural resources savings.
  • Personal Emissions Calculator lets you calculate how much CO2 your household produces per year, the associated cost, and estimates the amount of money you can save by making changes in your purchases and habits.

I’m going to get to the bottom of the shower head thing. In the meantime, I want to become more aware of the length of my showers. I am notorious for long, hot showers; I use it as my de-stress time. However, there are plenty of other ways to relax that don’t require wasting gallons of water (and energy to heat the water). So, I’ve resolved to take shorter showers. I did a little baseline study this morning.

The shower ran for 6.5 minutes. According to the calculator above, an ordinary shower head puts out 5 gallons per minute (water-saving shower heads put out about 3 gallons per minute). Using what is probably a regular shower head, I put approximately 32.5 gallons of water down the drain today. I’m going to work on getting my time in the shower down to five minutes (I don’t shave with the water running, apparently I just take forever to wash my hair). A five minute shower with a shiny new efficient shower head will cut my water consumption in half. Wow.