However, sometimes, we take the hot showers a little bit too far. Though enjoyable, a hot shower can easily become wasteful if we aren't careful. If you want to know the inside scoop on hot showers and how much they cost you, you're in luck. We did some research and came up with some solid answers.
First things first: How long is too long?
When determining how much money is flying out of your wallet with each hot shower, we must look at how long your showers are.
Let's say you live in a household with two people — maybe it's with a roommate or a live-in partner — and you take a shower that's the average length (8.2 minutes in the U.S.) once per day.
Assuming that the rates of electricity and water in your area are near the national average, 12 cents per kilowatt-hour and $1.50/1k U.S. gallons, each shower will cost you 25 cents or 51 cents per day for the whole household, according to the shower cost calculator by Omni. Of course, this rate will vary depending on where you live — each state and city has different electricity rates.
That price on its own doesn't seem too outrageous, but it adds up over the course of a year. If your household maintains this same routine, you'll spend just under $195 over the course of a year — just for a daily, eight-minute hot shower.
But, what if you were to increase your shower length? After all, some days you may take an eight-minute shower, but if you're honest with yourself, other days your showers are probably closer to 15 minutes or maybe even longer!
Let's use 12 minutes as the average shower length for the year. In the same household of two people, the annual cost for a daily hot shower jumps from $195 to $270 — just by increasing the daily shower time by four minutes! Imagine if you were to take really long showers. Those costs add up quickly.
Your shower plays a part, too
The cost of a hot shower isn't solely about how long the showers are. It also has a lot to do with the actual hardware in the shower itself. Different models of shower heads have different "flow rates," or the amount of water they release per minute.
Some are more efficient than others. According to energy.gov, federal mandates require manufacturers to ensure that new showerheads have flow rates of less than 2.5 gallons per minute but that some older showerheads have flow rates as high as 5.5 gallons per minute.
If your hardware hasn't been updated in a while, it could be contributing to the amount of money you're spending each time you take a hot shower. In the first example, we considered average shower times and energy costs at a standard flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute. The average yearly price was less than $195 annually in that scenario. If that household had an older shower head that had a flow rate of 5.5 gallons per minute, their yearly cost just for hot showers would be more than $480 per year!
On the flip side, extremely conservative showerheads can save you some serious cash on your hot shower habit. There are a number of showerheads with flow rates as low as 1.5 gallons per minute, like this Niagara conservation model. The same two-person household we originally referenced could drop their amount spent on hot showers from $195 to $130 per year by switching to this 1.5 gallon per minute showerhead.
You can find out how wasteful your shower head is using a simple three-step test:
- Place a bucket that's marked in gallon increments on the floor of your shower
- Turn on your shower as you would for a normal shower
- Start a stopwatch to time how long it takes the bucket to fill to the one-gallon market. In this test, the longer it takes the better.
If the bucket has a gallon in less than 20 seconds, it's time for you to upgrade your showerhead.
Other steps you can take to save money
If you're realizing that your daily hot shower might be costing you a serious chunk of money, don't worry. There are plenty of other steps you can take to save some money.
First, make your showers shorter.
It can be hard to leave the comfort of a warm shower, especially in the winter months. To alleviate some of the difficulty, keep your bathroom door closed so the air inside your bathroom stays warm. You can also try keeping towels and a robe near the shower so leaving isn't so hard every day.
A less anecdotal piece of advice is to reduce the temperature of your hot water heating system. While you might not be able to discipline yourself to take shorter showers, this tip will inevitably save you a bit of cash. For every 10 degrees you lower the temperature in your hot water heater, you could save between 3-5 percent of your monthly energy costs.
Being energy efficient is important, especially as a renter. Whether that means cutting back on hot showers or simply being smarter about the hardware and fixtures we use, each step you take makes an impact.