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Cut Back Your Shower Time This Many Minutes to Conserve Water and Save Money

There's an ideal amount of time to spend in the shower if you want extra savings.

Erin Gobler Contributor
Erin Gobler is a personal finance writer based in Madison, Wisconsin. She writes about topics including budgeting, student loans, credit, mortgages, investing and insurance. Her work has been published in financial publications and startups such as NextAdvisor, The Simple Dollar, LendingTree, Robinhood and more.
Erin Gobler
5 min read
A shower head spraying water gently on one side, fiercely on the other

Cutting back in the shower can cut down your water and electricity bills.

Jonathan Knowles/Getty Images

It's easy to lose track of time in the shower. Fifteen minutes feels like a mere five when you finally get to relax with a hot shower after a long day. But all good things come at a cost -- those luxurious showers can make a noticeable difference to your monthly water bill

In fact, the US Environmental Protection Agency pegs showering as Americans' fourth largest household use of water. Now I'm not saying you can't indulge in a lengthier shower every so often (I certainly won't stop), but a few changes in your shower habits can add up to significant savings in the long run. 

Showering instead of bathing, or doing laundry and dishes the energy-efficient way, will keep your utility costs down. But shifting your shower habits or installing tech can save you even more money on energy and water. Just small changes like reducing the length and temperature of your daily shower can make for cheaper utility bills, no matter what shower head you're standing under. Keep reading to learn more about the direct connection between shower length and savings -- and tricks for how you can save on electricity and water.

How much time should you spend in the shower?

The average American spends about eight minutes in the shower. According to the EPA, a standard showerhead uses about 2.5 gallons of water per minute. Thus, the average American shower consumes about 20 gallons of water.

While there is no magic amount of time to spend in the shower to help the planet, shaving just three minutes off an eight-minute shower time can help reduce your energy spending, as well as help to conserve water (about 7.5 gallons) overall. Even better, according to Healthline, the recommended maximum shower length for your skin is between 5 and 10 minutes. Sticking to five minutes ensures you're not overdoing it.

Save money with shorter showers

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Whether you pay your water bill directly or it's rolled into a rent payment, shorter showers can save you money. You'll save money in water, gas or electricity for heating it, or both. The cost of your water heating system accounts for about 18% of your home's utility bill, the second largest utility expense, according to the Department of Energy.

Between your water bill and your electricity bill, there is potential for savings by spending less time in the shower. The amount you can save depends on your current water and electricity costs and how much you reduce your usage. The EPA estimates that switching to a more water-efficient showerhead can save you about $70 per year without even accounting for the savings of shorter showers.

It's also important to note that the benefits of spending less time in the shower aren't just about your pocketbook. Not only can taking shorter showers save money, but it can also save an incredible amount of water.

The standard showerhead uses about 2.5 gallons of water per minute. If you shaved 1 minute off your daily shower, you could save more than 900 gallons of water per year. And if every American did that, it would save billions (yes, billions) of gallons of water per year.

Remember that while freshwater is considered a renewable resource, its supply is limited in some areas. And in some cases, nature's ability to replenish the water supply simply can't keep up with how quickly we use it. Everything you do to conserve water benefits not just your wallet, but everyone around you.

Reduce your shower energy consumption

Monitor your energy usage

Many of us likely don't realize how much time we spend in the shower, which can make it difficult to change our habits. As a starting point, consider monitoring your water usage. Simply timing your shower is a great place to start. You'll have a better idea of how much time you're spending in the shower and can set a goal for how much you'd like to reduce your shower time by.

Change your showerhead

According to the EPA, changing your shower head can save a lot of water. And when combined with shorter showers, the impact will be even greater.

The average standard showerhead uses about 2.5 gallons of water per minute. But a showerhead with the WaterSense label uses no more than 2 gallons per minute. So even without changing shower habits, the average American could reduce their water usage by 4 gallons per 8-minute shower. Low-flow showerheads are available from any home improvement store, but might also be available for a discount from your utility.

Don't let the water run before your shower

Many people are in the habit of starting the shower water and then letting it run for a few minutes to get to their desired temperature. You might even get sidetracked during this time or tackle another small task.

One simple way to reduce your energy usage is to wait until you're ready to step into the shower to turn it on. You could save yourself several gallons of water per day, and hundreds of gallons (or more) over the course of a year.

Take colder showers

You can save even more money by taking colder showers. Because you pay for water heating, reducing your water heating needs will also cut your energy bill, even if just slightly.

Take fewer showers

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, there's no reason for most people to shower more than once per day, especially if you don't engage in physical activity that would cause you to sweat. If you shower more often, perhaps as a way to relax, try to reduce the number of showers you take.

Here Are 23 Ways to Save On Your Electric Bills Right Now

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The bottom line

You might be surprised just how much of your home's water and energy is used in the shower. While the average American only spends about 8 minutes in the shower, the gallons can really add up over time. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reduce your energy usage and energy bills, simply by making a few small changes to your routine.

More ways to save money around the home

There's many expenses you have to worry about from monthly bills to rent and grocery budgets. These tips can help you save big money: