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WE'RE IN HOT WATER

By Silvia Gutierrez, GMC EDITOR

As summer heads out and leaves a door open for colder days, hot showers become appealing to many. It’s a good way to relax before the start of a day or better yet—after a long day at work. Although those precious moments can potentially reduce a person’s stress, they actually have the opposite effect on a household.

According to WaterSense, a partnership program for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 17 percent of residential indoor water use is spent on showering. That amounts to an average of 30 gallons of water per household daily. Coincidentally, 17 percent of total home electricity is due to water heating, as cited by the Department of Energy.

The next couple of months will alter utility bills as they do every year. However, with the water scare going on, unaware residents will have to pay closer attention to what’s occurring while they’re taking long, hot baths.

Depending on the size of the property, it might take a while for water to reach a shower once a shower head is activated. When activating the hot water, it takes water heaters some time to transfer that over (especially if pipes are frozen due to low temperatures).

Some might think the sensible thing to do is to let the water run for a few minutes until it heats up. But for every minute that goes by, an average of 2.5 gallons are wasted on an empty shower.

During the next couple of months, residents will have the responsibility to consider special technologies to decrease the impact hot showers can have on residential indoor water usage during fall and winter.

For instance, WaterSense labels water efficient shower heads with flow rates below 2 gallons per minute. This would save thousands of gallons of water annually. Other companies, such as Evolve Technologies, are aiming to help homeowners recognize when their shower has reached a hot enough temperature. In that case, the wait time for water to heat up will be precisely calculated and in-turn, shortened.

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