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Save Three Times as Much on Annual Water Bills by Showering Instead of Bathing

Save baths for an occasional luxury and watch your water bills drop.

Detail shower curtain and shower head in blue and white tiled shower
You might be surprised how many gallons of water a year you use to fill up your bathtub. 
Shannon Fagan/Getty Images

This story is part of Home Tips, CNET's collection of practical advice for getting the most out of your home, inside and out.

One of my favorite ways to unwind at the end of a stressful work day is to take a nice, long bath. But while it can help me soak away the anxieties of the day, a bath is certainly not the best option for the environment -- or my monthly water bill. 

Managing money is crucial right now -- inflation hit a 40-year high earlier this year and energy prices are up 19.8% over last year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It's important to try to save on monthly expenses where you can. You can always save some cash around the home by turning off the lights and adjusting your thermostat, but one solid way to pocket some extra change is by taking a shower instead of a bath (and shortening your showers, too).

This isn't to say that baths are out of the question (I know they won't be for me), especially since they have numerous health benefits: promoting relaxation, easing fatigue, treating chronic pain. But switching to the shower more often can help you end up with a few extra dollars in your bank account at the end of each month. Here's exactly how much you can expect to save.

Showers are actually better than baths

While everyone has a personal preference as to how they like to get clean, showers have several perks that baths don't. First off, showers save water, which is good for the environment. Second, they save you money on your water bill.

How much water do showers save? 

The average amount of water a tub can hold is 80 gallons, but that number can vary depending on your living situation. To fill a tub halfway, you'll probably use around 40 gallons of water. If you like to soak in a tub that's more than halfway, you're probably going to use closer to 60 gallons of water. 

A shower with a regular shower head and standard water pressure spills out 2.5 gallons per minute. On average, people spend 10 minutes in the shower, so the average shower uses 25 gallons of water. 

How much money do showers save? 

Similar to varying water usages for each individual, the cost savings will depend on how long you spend in the shower, or how frequently you take baths, and how much your city's water company charges. 

Water companies measure water usage in hundred cubic feet, or CCF. One CCF is equivalent to 748 gallons of water. 

If you shower 10 minutes every day for a year, you are using 9,125 gallons of water (12.2 CCF). If you take a bath filled halfway every day for a year, you're using 14,600 gallons of water (19.51 CCF). 

In Charlotte, North Carolina, where I live, water costs $5.29 per CCF for 9 to 16 CCF of water -- or 6,732 to 11,968 gallons -- and $10.03 per CCF for over 16 CCF. Showering daily would come to $64.54 per year per person and using the bath daily would be $195.68 per year per person, approximately three times more expensive. 

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The bottom line 

While it's hard to determine exactly how much you'll save per year, on average showering is both more environmentally friendly and economical than bathing. Assuming average times and costs, you could save three times as much on your annual water bills if you take daily showers and just save baths for an occasional luxury. 

Keep in mind that these calculations don't take sewage costs or other water usage -- including the sink, dishwasher, lawn sprinkler -- into consideration. If you want to learn more about other water-saving tips and tricks, check out our rundown on how to save money on your gas, electric and water bills and these smart devices that can help you save on your utilities

More money-saving tips for your home