QUESTION: Can I take a bath or shower and save money at the same time?


Long, hot showers or soaking in a full bathtub may feel wonderful, but they use an enormous amount of water. The following are a few steps you can take to use less water while still staying clean.

• Take a shower instead of a bath. Depending on the size of your tub and the depth of the water, a bath can use up to 50 gallons of water. You can also set an alarm or timer so that you do not spend too long lingering in the shower. Every minute that you cut off your shower time can save approximately 2.5 gallons of water.

• Recycle the water that is normally wasted while waiting for the shower to get warm. Place a bucket in the shower to collect the water. You can use it to water plants, clean, or even flush the toilet.

• Switch from a traditional to a low-flow shower head. This will reduce the amount of water used per minute by almost half.

• If you are brave, you can follow the advice of the Brazilian government, which encourages people to save water by peeing in the shower.

• You can try showering the Navy way. Once you are in the shower, turn the water on just long enough to get wet. Lather up with your soap and shampoo before turning the water back on to rinse. This method can reduce water consumption by up to 95 percent.

• Unless you do something to get particularly dirty or sweaty, try showering every other day or only shampooing every couple of days to limit the time that you spend in the shower.

Water conservation in the bathroom does not have to stop with the shower. You can reduce your water usage even further with these tips.

• Install a low-flow faucet aerator. This can save up to 2.5 gallons of water a minute.

• Turn off the faucet while shaving or brushing your teeth.

• Replace worn parts in your toilet tank, such as the flapper valve, to prevent leaks. You can test your toilet for leaks by putting a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If you notice colored water in the bowl a few minutes later, you have a leak.

• Only flush the toilet when there is solid waste.

• Replacing leaky bathroom faucets. A single leaky faucet can waste up to 20 gallons of water a day.

• Install a low-flow or water-efficient toilet. This can save the average family of four around 70 gallons of water a day.

• If you are not able to replace your toilet with a low-flow model, you can still reduce the amount of water that your toilet uses per flush by putting a bottle filled with water in the tank.

Talk to one of our plumbing experts to learn more about efficient plumbing fixtures and other changes that you can make in your home and lifestyle to reduce your water consumption and utility bills.