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How to save water in the shower

Do you know the key factors of an efficient shower? Everything revolves around three points: duration, temperature and the heating system you use. Save on your bill and, at the same time, adopt sustainable living habits. 

Although the bathroom is one of the places in the house where we spend the least time each day, it is precisely here that we normally use up the most energy and, of course, water.

An approximate calculation shows that we use between 8 and 15 litres of water per minute when showering. So,on average, for a five minute shower, we would use about 57.5 litres.

As for your bill, there are many factors involved, but if you have an electric water heater it would cost approximately 15 euro cents per shower. Here we explain how much it costs to take a shower.

"For each minute you spend under the shower, you use between 8 and 15 litres of water."

Is using 57.5 litres, a lot or a little? It depends on who you ask. While Canal de Isabel II recommends about 45 litres of water per shower, the World Health Organization opts for 95 litres.

What can you do to make your daily showers more efficient?


The expense of your shower depends on three factors

  1. Duration: this is one of the few aspects on which there is a consensus. Virtually all agencies and specialists recommend 5 minutes. Enough for proper hygiene without being wasteful.
  2. Temperature: ideally, it is best not to exceed 30ºC, to keep the temperature as low as your comfort level allows (some people feel the cold more than others). Below 24ºC, water is considered to be cold. Above 30°C, your skin may become inflamed and, as a side effect, will suffer from annoying itching for the rest of the day. And with extremely hot temperatures, a drop in blood pressure is not uncommon.
  3. Heating system: in this classic debate it all depends on whether or not your house has a natural gas outlet. If it has one, a boiler is usually the best option. But, if you want to research the topic further, we recommend this article, on whether a boiler, water heater or immersion heater is better.

7 ways to make your shower more efficient

The room for improving your efficiency in the shower depends, obviously, on what you are doing now. We assume you have already stopped filling up the bathtub, because having a normal-length shower will always be more efficient than a very hot bath. Remember that water is becoming an increasingly scarce commodity.

  1.  Soap yourself down with the tap off: If you find it uncomfortable, remember that while doing so you are saving about 10 litres of water a minute. Or, in other words: a full bottle of the largest size usually sold in supermarkets.
  2. Reuse water: it sounds tricky and strange but it is much simpler than you imagine. There are several methods, from the most do-it-yourself (putting a bucket under the tap until the water runs hot) to the most sophisticated (which also does not require a complex installation). That water you have saved from going down the drain can be used to mop the floor, water the plants or fill up the toilet cistern.
  3. Reduce the flow: we all like a gushing stream of water, but obviously this is not efficient. You can reduce the flow rate with efficient shower heads and aerators, which can cut the amount of water coming out by 50% without affecting the pleasure of your shower.  
"Efficiency comes from showers of no longer than 5 minutes at no more than 30°C."
  1. Single lever mixer taps: classic taps (one for the hot water and one for the cold) make you waste time mixing the temperatures until you feel comfortable. Remember: every minute lost means that between 8 and 15 litres of water have served no purpose at all.
  2. Thermostatic controls: another idea that goes further than the single lever mixer tap involves setting the control so that water comes out directly at the desired temperature. They cost more than a normal tap but, in the long run, make up for that cost in efficiency and savings.
  3. Programme the immersion heater: if your heating system has an electric immersion heater, you should install a timer that activates the heater only when necessary.
  4. Hose and taps in perfect condition: a detail that many people overlook until things stop working altogether. In addition to the hassle (and expense) of replacing a shower hose (or an entire tap), you have to think that each scaly deposit and leak gradually increases your water usage and, therefore, the amount you are billed. 
"Turning off the water while you apply the soap saves 10 litres of water per minute."
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