Bath Vs Shower
Our daily bathing routine is the number one greatest source of hot water usage in our lives, overtaking the dishwasher and central heating combined.
“A medium sized bath uses 150L of water, a power shower for 10 minutes uses about 150L of water, so a bath and a power shower could cost about the same, if the water used in both is heated in the same way.”
So baths and showers use about the same amount of water if the shower is a 10 minute power shower. If this level of water usage is sustained daily, we are looking at around 55,000 litres of warm water used yearly – per person.
However, showers are adaptable when we want to make changes in regards to our water use. So we recommend that you choose a shower over a bath, and employ some of the following adaptations to your routine.
Change of Habits
A low flow shower uses about 50 litres of water per 10 minute shower – this change alone could cut your water usage by 66%. If this is coupled with a shorter bathing session, we could reduce our water usage by 80%, resulting in a yearly use of 11,000 litres in comparison to 55,000.
We recognize that being blasted by what is effectively a hot pressure washer feels great. The key word is balance. Long hot showers are okay as a treat, but when they happen every day, they become a big waste of water and energy.
When we are soaping our body or massaging shampoo through our hair (especially if you have long hair), we can use this opportunity to switch the water off. Much like the habit of ‘stop start’ while driving (when we know we will be stationary in traffic for longer than 30 seconds, so we turn off our engine), this habit can be employed while bathing. If we save even 1 minute of water while showering, this could make a difference of 5-15 litres in one session. Over a period of 1 year this could save between 1800 and 5500 litres of warm water.
If you are in a situation where there is only a bath available to you, and it does not come with a handheld shower nozzle, it is still very possible for you to still save on water. You can run a short bath and use utensils such as sponges and plastic beakers to wash yourself very adequately, without sacrificing the quality of bathing. It may also be desirable to purchase an attachment for your tap, to assist you with your bathing needs.
The older the toilet, the more water it uses. Toilets made before the 80s can use up to 25 litres per flush! Our modern toilets use around 6 liters per flush. It is advisable that if you have an older toilet model, you either seek a new one, or, because getting a new toilet can be expensive and troublesome, buy a TankBank or Toilet Hippo – these devices are simply installed into the cistern and can reduce the volume of each flush but several litres.
If you are in the position to choose what toilet model you would like, dual flush toilets are the way to go. Most of us have come across these toilets which allow us to select the intensity of flush to suit our needs. These serve as a great way to be more conscious with your flushing.
And if you live alone, or with a housemate that is happy to cooperate, the “if it’s yellow keep it mellow” rule can be applied – just make sure to keep the bathroom windows open to avoid problems relating to humidity!
There are many ways we can save water throughout our daily hygiene routine. If we take small steps towards integrating these water saving habits into our lives, we can reduce our carbon footprint and save energy and money.
About the Author
Dara de Bruijn is a freelance writer, musician, and yoga instructor based in Dublin, Ireland. His main focus is exploring the benefits of co-operative living and leading a life orientated around social service.