Rapid results

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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.

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Unfortunately, low flow

Unfortunately, low flow showerheads suck. I've ended up pulling the low flow stopper out of a couple showerheads I've bought out of frustration over lack of pressure and rinsing ability. I just turn the shower off or down when I'm soaping up; there's not much reason to keep the water flowing (except to keep the cold from getting in).

In japan I saw some showers with foot pedals so water only flowed for the brief time that you really need it, without needing to adjust temperature and such. And they had separate showers and bath tubs, so you could clean in the shower and soak in the tub, and the tub water was rarely drained, only once a week or so, like a hot tub.

They're not hard to find, just switch shower head types

A 1.5-1.8 gpm shower head is not hard to find at all, as long as you go with a fixed shower head instead of the hose type deal you have now. In addition to getting a low flow but still powerful stream shower head, many low flow heads also feature an easy and quick to use shutoff valve. This allows you to get wet, shut of the water, lather up, turn the water back on and rinse off, using only about a minute or two of water all together for each shower.

Even better yet, many low-flow faucets are all stainless steel and of a simple construction resulting in a far longer life span and far easier maintenance/cleaning than those plastic hand-held shower heads. Being that they're stainless steel, they are fully recyclable once the shower head has reached the end of its useful life.

I picked one up at my local hardware store a few years ago for $15 bucks. Watch the ROI go through the roof with that set up!

Kitten bathing

I will admit that part of the desire for a hosed-style showerhead is the occasional need to bathe the cat. Since he's indoor/outdoor (nobody get preachy with me here...), he occasionally comes home smelling not-so-fresh, and the handheld shower is the tool that results in the least amount of total flipping out during bathing.

Why would someone get

Why would someone get preachy about an indoor/outdoor cat?

It usually goes along the

It usually goes along the lines of, "Blah blah blah diseases fighting cars blah blah blah shortened life span blah irresponsible blah should take better care of your animal companion blah."

(I find these are typically the same people who won't adopt animals from the Humane Society because they think the HS is evil because they're not a "no-kill" shelter. So you should leave the HS's animals there to die, apparently, to teach the HS about the evils of killing animals?)

Anyways. Getting preachy at me about my cat on my own blog would be grounds for a good kicking.


Toebiter (and other outdoor cats) frequently left presents on the front porch of the parent's house....does being an indoor/outdoor cat afford william the opportunity to bring the presents inside?

I don't think he knows how

I don't think he knows how to kill things. He can certainly stalk, harry, catch, and hold - but he lacks a certain killer instinct. (Either that or he's just that cruel - he wants the squirrels to know that he'll be back tomorrow to do it again...)


Now that you have (are getting?) a dishwasher you won't need the hose-styled showerhead.

Shorter showers

My shower typically takes three minutes. Four if I want to enjoy the heat of the water. Two if I hurry. Yes, short hair (and little of it, in my case) makes a difference, but TEN minutes? See if you can cut it to five, and then try to calc your ROI when I is less than 0.

But the longer your showers

But the longer your showers are, the more water you save on lower flow! (Read as, "Sure, we lose money on every sale, but we make up for it in volume!")

Why bother living in

Why bother living in Michigan if you can't take realllly long showers and make good use of all that awesome fresh water? :) I'd say a hot shower is better than a movie, or a good book, or a meal at a fancy restaurant and it's a hell of a lot cheaper per minute.

I just replaced my 120 watt file server with one using about 20 watts, so I'm off the hook here for a while. Should pay for itself in three years give or take. After that it'll go to work offsetting my REALLY LONG showers and (muhuhahahahah) BATHS. I'm so totally saving up for a Japanese-style tub like this: http://www.bathpro.net/ekobunepics.htm

tiny tubs!

So cute! (But why do they have to provide dimensions only for the *other* models?)

Hmmm...Is it possible to make a recirculating shower that filters drain water and pumps it back through? On first thought, it seems a little gross. On second thought, it seems a lot like a bath, but delivered like a shower...

Low-flows rock!

We love our low-flow showerhead! We have had it for 10 years now and it still works great. The best part is that we have somewhat low water pressure (because we need to replace our water heater) and the low-flow makes it seem like we have great water pressure.

The biggest water saving move we made when we moved into our house was to replace the toilets. Turns out that our dishwasher (which interestingly is also a huge water-saving appliance) uses less water per cycle than one flush of our old toilets.