WaterSense Showerheads – Why Aren't You Using Them?
It's The Next Best Thing to This
Let's put some perspective on how a tiny change like switching out a shower head can save you money in the long term. Showers account for 17 percent of the average family's indoor water use (that's second behind toilets). This adds up to around 40 gallons every day, just for showers. And most of that hot water comes right out of your water heater. This is a hugely important part of the equation because water heating is the second highest energy user in the home (behind heating and cooling). So, reducing your hot shower water use is going to save you on both your water and utility bills.
If you are using a shower head that was made before 1992, it could be using up to 5 gallons of water every minute, one produced after that could use up to 2.5 gallons a minute (gpm) in accordance with the Energy Policy Act of 1992. WaterSense labeled shower heads save 20 percent more water than the 2.5 gpm ones. Think about that. You could cut another 20 percent off your water heating costs with a simple shower head switch. And it's not that hard.
When you are picking up WaterSense showerheads for your home, pick up faucet aerators for your bathroom sinks. They can cut sink water use up to 75%.
That's it. A few common household tools, 15 minutes max, and you've started saving. Ok, let's take that 20 percent number and put it in real dollar terms. If you are an average family, a 20 percent savings would come out to about 2,900 gallons of water every year. Water is measured in hundreds of cubic feet. Each 100 cubic feet is represented as a CCF (C = 100 in Roman numerals, then Cubic Feet). 1 CCF is equal to 748 gallons of water. That comes out to a little less than 4 CCFs, or between $10-$15. But, you also get to take that extra 4 CCFs off your sewer bill as well (usually another $10-$15).
In addition to saving on the water, you're also saving on energy it takes to heat it. It takes about 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) of energy to heat 10 gallons of water to 120 degrees (the recommended setting for a home water heater). That works out to 290 kWh of savings. Electricity costs between 10 cents and 17 cents per kWh, depending on where you live. That's about $29 to $50 over the course of a year.
Total savings = $59 to $80 a year. That may not seem like a huge deal, but multiply that by the number of years your showerheads will last (20), and you get a $1,600 savings for an investment under $35 per showerhead. The payback time on your investment – 14 months.
Don't Delay Get One Today!
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a constantly updated search engine for WaterSense approved products right here. Of course, this is just one of the many ways you can chip away at your home energy bills. Look here for a comprehensive guide to locating all of the energy efficiency upgrades you can make on a budget.