How to save money in the shower: from 4-minute timers to high-tech solutions
Money saving ideas, from the simple to the high-tech, that can help reduce household bills.
We all know that a shower is far more efficient, in terms of energy and water consumption, than having a bath. Even so, Wessex Water estimates that showering makes up 40% of the average household’s daily water consumption. Plus, there’s the cost of the energy that has to go into heating the water. By following our advice on how to save money in the shower, you can cut bills dramatically.
We’re just focussing on showers here, but we’ve also got general tips on how to reduce energy bills that cover other appliances and rooms in your home.
Switch to a four-minute shower
On average, a shower will use between 10 and 15 litres of water per minute, with the average person showering for 7.5 minutes. That’s a minimum of 75 litres of water per shower, according to Thames Water, which isn’t much less than a typical bath, which holds 80-litres of water.
Cutting back to a four-minute shower reduces water consumption. According to the Energy Saving Trust, a typical household can save £65 on energy bills and £65 on metered water bills by switching to four-minute showers.
That’s an average, and there are other factors at play, such as the type of shower you have (electric or standard) and the heating source (cold water to an electric shower, a combi-boiler or a hot water cylinder).
Of course, timing a shower can hard while you’re standing in it, so you can buy a cheap four-minute shower timer, such as the Blue Four Minute Shower Timer (£2.49), which is basically an egg timer for showers: when the sand runs out, it’s time to get out of the shower.
Reduce the amount of water you use
There are other ways to reduce the amount of water that you use. First, you should get in the shower as soon as it’s warm enough to do so, and start your four-minute countdown from then; don’t leave a shower running while you’re brushing your teeth or getting ready to climb in.
Reducing the amount of water that a shower uses can also help. A product, such as the Bristan 6 Litres Per Minute Shower Outlet Flow Limiter, can be retrofitted to a valve outlet connection or shower hose, reducing the amount of water used. That model reduces flow rates to 6 litres per minute, but there are other options with higher flow limits.
Similarly, a water-efficient shower head will reduce water flow, with a typical model providing a regulated 7 litres per minute. Most shower heads can be retrofitted to an existing shower hose.
Be careful, as many products are not compatible with electric or digital showers. If in doubt, call a plumber and have them fit your chosen water-saving device.
Use a high-tech shower
The problems with most water-saving shower options are that you either have to remember to do something manually or you’ve fitted a permanent device that can make your shower less comfortable to use. To get full energy savings combined with flexibility, a high-tech shower can help. Think about the energy savings it can bring, as this can be factored into reducing costs during a bathroom renovation.
With the recently released Mira Platinum (from £727), you get a smart digital mixer valve, with options available for higher pressure/combi systems and for a pumped valve, as well as for single and dual outlets. This shower’s power lies in the wireless control (charged via USB-C); there’s precise control over temperature and flow control, balancing comfort against power and water consumption.
This digital control also has automatic timer controls, turning off automatically after 30 minutes in regular mode and after five minutes in Eco mode. Eco mode also restricts water flow to between 4 litres and 8 litres per minute. Controls are also available via the smartphone app.
The Mira Platinum also tracks water consumption, so you can see, at-a-glance, how much water you’re using to shower.
Similarly, the Triton ENVi electric shower (from £399) uses a smart control panel to control the shower precisely. Average UK water and energy unit costs are pre-set in the device (although they can be updated for precise information for your home), tracking the cost-per-shower helping you to make changes that save money.
As well as setting a desired temperature, a shower timer can be set, with a dedicated Eco mode button reducing the timer by one minute. Up to six user profiles can be added to the ENVi so that each household member can have their own dedicated settings.