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How Much Water Does a Shower Use? Factors & FAQ

Shower installation

Most people have probably never stopped to think about how much water a shower uses. At a standard rate of 2–2.5 gallons of water per minute, the average 8-minute-long shower uses between 17–20 gallons of water. Per person, that adds up to 120 gallons per week. For a family of four, that multiplies further. That family of four will use over 25,000 gallons a year.

According to the EPA, just running hot water from a faucet for 5 minutes uses as much electricity as running a lightbulb for 22 hours. Naturally, these estimates rise if you take longer showers. Combined with electricity to pump and heat the water, the impact on the environment and your bills significantly rise.

In fact, hot water accounts for almost 20% of an average home’s energy bill. There’s also the fact that your HVAC system has to work harder because of the humidity produced by hot showers. Let’s dive into how water usage affects you and the environment, how cutting down on water waste can yield important benefits, and more.

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Why Water Is Important

Humans need water to survive. Not only do we drink tons of water, but we also require water for industry, hydroelectricity, firefighting, pools, landscapes, and more. Because of our immense water requirements, entire industries are centered around water collection, treatment, sanitation, and transport.

Due to climate change, water crises like drought and famine have become more common, and you can look at water shortages in the Western US, as an example. Less water also means wildfires become more common, although that’s not the only factor. Commercial water usage is even more common in dry areas like the Western US, largely due to the ludicrous amount of water used to keep landscapes lush with grass and vegetation.

watering lavender plant
Image Credit: Mostovyi Sergii Igorevich, Shutterstock

Factors That Affect Water Usage

There are a few factors that determine how much water you use in the shower and in other faucets throughout your home. These factors include:

  • Local water rates
  • If you use well water or city water
  • Your showerhead’s flow rate
  • How many people live in your home
  • How often you take a shower and use hot water

Cutting Down on Water Usage

Although it’s impossible to fix the world’s problems by cutting down on your water usage, you can contribute a bit and help save yourself some money at the same time. If millions of people adopted more conservative water use habits, that would add up to countless gallons of water that would reduce the strain on water supplies. Let’s check out some of the ways you can change your water use.

person replacing fridge water filter
Image Credit: David Spates, Shutterstock
How to Save Water:
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off the water when you shampoo and wash your body
  • Turn off the water when you brush your teeth
  • Turn off the water when you shave
  • Invest in low-flow showerheads and flow restrictors for faucets
  • Fix any leaks in your home
  • Avoid putting waste products like cigarette butts and sanitary products in your toilet or drains
  • Invest in artificial grass

Do Cold Showers Use Less Power?

Water heaters use a ton of power, and even a gas-powered water heater drives up your gas bill. By taking cold showers on hot days, you can cool off and give your water heater a much-needed break. Cold showers also wake us up more effectively than hot showers, even if the latter is better for body aches. If you replace just one or two showers per week with cold showers, you can enjoy monthly savings on your power or gas bill.

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Staying clean with frequent showers is important, but they use a lot of water and power. By cutting down on water usage, you can help reduce your water and power bills, plus help out the environment at the same time. It’s as easy as getting a more efficient showerhead or just being more mindful of how long you’re in the shower.

Featured Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock


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