Showers & Baths

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Water flowing through a showerhead

The shower’s a great place to start if you’re looking for ways to use less water. Showers are the second highest user of water in homes, after toilets. And since showers use hot water, saving water also saves energy.

Choosing an efficient showerhead

You can save 7 gallons of water or more each time you shower by replacing an inefficient showerhead with an efficient one. That savings can really add up over time. We are lucky that in Washington state, finding an efficient showerhead is relatively easy. As of 2020, all showerheads sold in stores have to have a flow rate of 1.8 gallons per minute (gpm) or less. Check for the flow rate in the product details or specifications if you buy one online.

When picking a new showerhead look for:

  • A flow rate of 1.8 gpm or less.
  • An on/off switch for the very water-conscious who turn the water off while lathering up.
  • Models with adjustable spray patterns to give everyone in your household the type of shower they want.
  • WaterSense labeled showerheads to know that the showerhead is independently tested and verified to save water and perform well.

Choose showers over baths when you can

Showers use much less water than baths. It takes 30-40 gallons to fill a standard bathtub, but only 16 gallons for an 8-minute shower with a typical showerhead.

If you need to use a bathtub, you can save water by:

  • Plugging the drain before running the water and adjust the temperature as you fill the tub.
  • Only filling the bath half full.
  • Not overfilling the tub. Water is wasted when water goes down the overflow drain.

Examine your shower habits

If you love your morning showers, spending less time with the water running might seem hard. We have good news! There’s more than one way to reduce your shower time, and if you want to cut back, you can choose what works best for you:

  • Take shorter showers. Start by timing your typical shower to see where you’re starting. Set a new goal and use a timer to stay accountable. Average showers in the U.S. are around 10 minutes, but many find they can cut their shower to 5 minutes.
  • Shower less often. Not everyone needs to shower every day and it might even be better for your skin. Read more at Harvard Health.
  • Turn off the water while lathering up. Some showerheads have on/off switches that make this easy to do.

Calculate how much water you use during a shower

You can learn how much water you use during your shower by multiplying the length of time you shower by the flow rate of the showerhead. For example, if your shower is 8 minutes and you have a 2 gpm showerhead, you use 16 gallons each time you shower.