Submitted by murph on 25 October 2007 - 4:52pm. environment | houseone | water
Nothing like being in the basement while a family member is showering and hearing drip...drip...drip... I had meant to spend this past Sunday working on skills like "sitting" and "reading". Instead, I worked on "plumbing", "tiling", "caulking", and "cursing".
Essentially, our showerhead's hose (it's one of those removable hand-held dealies) had sprung a leak at one of the connections, which led to some spraying of water out of the tub, onto the floor, where poorly caulked aging vinyl tiles allowed the water to flow through, and into the basement. Lovely. (Note: I knew the floor tiles had said issues, but was hoping that issues would not become problems before we were ready for the full bathroom gut and rebuild.)
Among other repairs, though, the showerhead hose had to be replaced, and we figured we may as well replace the whole thing. On shopping, I didn't find any acceptable low-low-flow showerheads (1.5-1.8 gallons per minute), so went with the now-standard 2.5gpm. The old head was presumably at least a 3.5gpm, based on age and prior standards.
So, let's assume that we're saving 1gpm while showering, and amongst my household, we take 120 10-minute showers during the course of a 60-day billing cycle. (The one thing I liked about short hair was short showers...) This saves 1,200 gallons of water, but water/sewer charges are billed by centi-cubic feet (ccf), and 1ccf = ~7.5gallons, so that comes to 1.6ccf saved per billing cycle. Water is $1.60/ccf, sewer is $1.72/ccf, and there's an 80% surcharge on top of that, for, um, something. Which means that we should expect to save on the order of $9.56 per billing cycle. Nice.
The showerhead cost about $30, yielding an ROI of 200% annually. Even after adding in maybe an hour of labor, including shopping, that's not bad at all, and I haven't considered the cost of water heating yet. If our baseline (non-heating season) gas costs for cooking and hot water are $1/day, showering probably counts for at least half of that. If we reduce our showering-related hot water use by ~30%, then we save $0.15/day on gas, or another $4.5 per one-month gas billing cycle, bringing annual ROI to about 400%.
Moral of this story: I'll install a low-flow showerhead for you in exchange for your estimated first-year savings.