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Baths vs. Showers: Which is More Efficient?

When it comes to getting clean, some people love a long soak in a warm tub while others prefer the immediate rinsing power of a shower. But for those who are concerned about water usage, the decision may come down to which form of clean is more efficient.

By the numbers

While you can factor in the size of the bathtub and the depth to which you fill it, a shower will almost always use less water.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a full bathtub requires about 70 gallons of water, while taking a five-minute shower uses only 10 to 25 gallons (depending on the type of showerhead). Most people use about 35-50 gallons of water for a bath, so even if you argue that very few individuals fill a bathtub all the way to the top, a simple calculation shows that either way, baths use more water.

Shrink your “water footprint”

It takes a lot of water to power our world, from growing food to the energy we use. But there are ways you can reduce your water use, especially in the bathroom where water is used not only for bathing, but also for other grooming tasks and flushing toilets. Here are some suggestions from the Water Footprint Calculator for reducing your water use in the bathroom:

  • Shower the majority of the time and think of a bath as an occasional treat.
  • Install a low-flow showerhead. Conventional showerheads flow at 5 gallons per minute or more, whereas low-flow showerheads typically flow at 2.5 gallons per minute or less. That’s a savings of at least five gallons of water for a 10-minute shower.
  • If you shave or brush your teeth in the shower to save time, turn off the water in between.
  • Limit your time in the shower to 10 minutes or less, if possible.
  • When taking a bath, don’t fill the tub more than halfway to avoid water spilling over when you get in. Before you turn on the faucets, plug the drain — you can adjust the temperature of the water as the tub fills. Plugging the drain first can save a lot of water.
  • This may sound weird, but…consider putting a bucket in the shower while you’re waiting for the water to warm up. You can use the water you catch for other tasks like watering plants, flushing the toilet or cleaning.

Need help selecting and installing a low-flow showerhead or assistance in determining other ways you can conserve water in the bathroom? A licensed local plumber can help.

Howell Services, a family-owned company, provides quality, trusted plumbing services to the Fort Bend and surrounding areas. Our plumbers are fully licensed, insured and bonded, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on our work. Let us help you with your plumbing repairs or perform a comprehensive plumbing inspection of your home to identify where you can save water and money. Call today for an appointment.

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