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The Long Shower….and how to take one without feeling guilty

Posted by on 06 October 2013 in Be Whole, Featured Posts, Green Living | 0 comments

You can imagine what the mornings were like with three sisters sharing one bathroom in our house growing up. Sunday mornings, with church at 10am, were particularly “exciting”.  It usually started with one of us yelling “so are you getting in the shower?” from our bed to said sister down the hall in her bed. The one with the most determination not to get out of bed until the last possible moment won. It was usually me. And then, I didn’t rush. I never rushed when it came to taking a shower which (after all that sudsing up and getting dressed and mid-90s bang curling) resulted in a lot of late mornings! I still don’t rush in the shower. You would think having little kids would have cured me of that! It’s just that taking a shower is so pleasant, the streaming water drowns out other chaos in the house, it’s the perfect time to take a moment and relax and perhaps daydream.

But, I feel guilty about it. With worldwide freshwater shortages, Great Lakes shrinkage and people dying in other countries for want of clean water how can I not feel guilty? This is one of those situations where even though a problem seems really huge, I know there is something I can do to be part of the solution.
First things first, I analyzed the flow rate of my current shower. To determine whether your shower head meets the energy efficient standards of 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute) or less, place a 2 quart bowl under a fully running shower and count how many seconds it takes to fill up. If it takes less than 12 seconds (mine took exactly 12 seconds) a low flow shower head may be a good idea.

calculate flow rate of showerhead

Test your water flow by placing a 2-quart bowl under a fully flowing shower for 12 seconds.

test flow rate of shower head

If you’ve reached 2 quarts in less than 12 seconds you could use a low flow shower head!

Low flow shower heads reduce water while maintaining pressure by either mixing air into the water stream or by producing a pulsating massage effect. Either way you will be able to rinse the shampoo out of your hair! A quick internet search will bring you countless different styles of low flow shower heads which can save hundreds of gallons of water each month and are surprisingly economical. I found one that costs as little as $5.00!

Second, I had to address my hot water problem. Do you ever turn on the shower, step away while the water heats up and then realize the water has been hot and running for a bit longer than you anticipated? Since my shower is so far from the water heater it takes several minutes to get hot water out of the bathroom taps; I find myself getting distracted during this process more days than not.

The best but more expensive way to solve this problem is to install an instant hot water recirculating system which will stream hot water with the first turn of the shower knob. No waiting, no water loss! Until I have enough saved to make that investment, I found a two-in-one low flow showerhead that will bring the flow down to a trickle as the water gets hot and can be turned back to full force once you’re ready to hop in the shower. At least I’m not wasting the hot water anymore!

(Left) A hot water recirculating pump by Watts. (Right) A 1.6 gpm low flow shower head by Evolve with an automatic hot water conserving switch.

(Left) A hot water recirculating pump by Watts. (Right) A 1.6 gpm low flow shower head by Evolve with an automatic hot water conserving switch.

The last thing I’ve done in effort to reduce water consumption is make long showers a weekend treat. Six days a week, it’s all business. Saturday morning? I’ll take that long shower!


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