Ways to Save Water in the Shower

The following post is by NC State student and NC State Steward Eric Rizzo.

As I thought about ways I could reduce my use of water, my thoughts first turned to the shower. Did you know that the average 10-minute shower uses anywhere from 25 to 70 gallons of water? It all depends on the type of showerhead you use, and who knew that a showerhead could make that big of a difference?

Today’s showerheads typically release about 2.5 gallons of water per minute, but showerheads made before 1980 use as much as 7 gallons of water per minute. Not sure what the flow rate is on your showerhead? There’s an easy way to test.

Test Your Showerhead

Turn your shower on and place a container in the shower to collect all the water for 10 seconds. Then, measure the amount of water you collected and convert that into gallons (if you have an empty gallon milk jug, use that for converting the water to gallons).  Whatever gallons measurement you calculate, multiply that number by 6 to determine your gallons-per-minute flow.

Swap Out Your Showerhead

Turns out my showerhead wasn’t as efficient as it could be, so to save water and energy (letting your faucet run for five minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 22 hours), I went on a search for a new showerhead that balanced water conservation with functionality.

At under $10, I found a 1.25-1.5 gallons per minute (GPM) showerhead that was water-efficient and also had several flow options so you can adjust the water stream according to your personal preference.


If you have more to spend, I found a $40 showerhead has a flow rate of 0.995 GPM, which is one of the lowest available. Though it provides less water pressure than other showerheads, it was still comfortable and an enormous water saver.


Shorten Your Shower

But a showerhead isn’t the only thing you can do to conserve water in the shower. Try shortening your shower with these tips:

  • Time your shower with your phone’s stopwatch or clock. Is it longer than you thought? Could you reduce the time? Every minute you cut off your shower saves at least two gallons.
  • Listen to a 5-minute song while you’re in the shower. Can you finish your shower before the song ends?

For more ways to save water, visit go.ncsu.edu/savewater