Home efficiency is a hot topic for scores of homeowners during the frigid Minnesota winter season. You want to keep your heating bill under wraps and still be cozy and comfortable. With more time spent indoors, changing out old incandescent bulbs to LED lighting is another bright idea to save money. Though, have you considered how you can save money by simply changing the shower heads in your home?
Save Water With Low-Flow Shower Heads
As a responsible homeowner, you already know that using less water in your home helps preserve a precious natural resource and lowers your water bill. The amount of water and money you’ll save by switching to low-flow shower heads depends on your shower heads’ current flow rates, as indicated by gallons per minute — GPM, and your household’s shower usage.
In 1992, Federal regulations mandated that all shower heads have a maximum flow rate of 2.5 GPM. Shower heads installed prior to 1992 often had flow rates as high as 5 GPM and more. If you’re not sure what your shower heads flow rates are, follow these steps.
- Turn on your shower to your typical temperature and pressure setting.
- Hold a bucket under the shower head to catch the water.
- Time how many seconds it takes to fill the bucket to the one-gallon mark.
- Divide 60 by the number of seconds it took to fill one gallon, and you have your flow rate in GPM (e.g. “60” divided by “15” seconds to fill one gallon equals a flow rate of “4” GPM).
To see how much water you may save by switching to low-flow shower heads, estimate the amount of water your household uses for showering. Write down the number of showers taken and duration in minutes during a typical week. Multiply the total minutes by the flow rates of your showers.
For example, a household of four people may take 28 showers in a week at approximately 10 minutes each for a total of 280 minutes of showering. If the shower head flow rates average 4 GPM, the total gallons used for showering in one week would be 1,120.
By installing low-flow shower heads with 2 GPM flow rates, you would reduce showering water usage by half, or 560 gallons a week. That totals 29,120 gallons of water saved per year!
Save Energy With Low-Flow Shower Heads
Your water heater works around the clock to keep hot water ready for you at any time. Low-flow shower heads may substantially reduce the burden on your water heater, and reduce your gas or electric bill. In fact, only home heating and cooling systems use more energy in the average home than the water heater.
In the preceding example of reducing water usage by 29,120 gallons a year, you would reduce hot water use by approximately 20,000 gallons, assuming a 2-parts hot water and 1-part cold water mix. That translates into nice energy savings with more money in your pocket, and less wear and tear on your water heater.
So, if you’re looking for a great excuse to go browse your favorite home store, go shop low-flow shower heads. It’s a worthwhile investment that pays each time you shower.
If you have questions about saving money with low-flow shower heads, energy-efficient appliances and fixtures in your Minnesota home, contact the professionals at Minnesota Plumbing & Appliance today!