Low Flow Brings Big Savings?

Skincare-FchromeI knew that low-flow showerheads could save water, but I'm a little flabbergasted looking at my energy bill. It looks like a switch from a not-very-vibrant older showerhead that never produced the kind of pressure we liked to a new Oxygenics SkinCare model saved us nearly $20 per month in water/outflow or about 40 gallons a day over last year. The showerhead cost about $30 and was easy to self-install; it included Teflon tape. It's also got a very intense spray.

The water bill shows 14 months of history in the two-month billing blocks with numeric comparisons for year over year adjusted for the length of the two periods, which can vary. At first, I thought we'd only saved a few dollars, as we pay $2.53 per cubic foot. By saving about two cubic feet a month, that's only $5. But we pay $6.76 for outbound water, which is where shower water goes -- and that's another $13.50.

This doesn't include the natural gas that heats the water. This showerhead runs 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm), while older ones apparently run 3 to 4 gpm or higher. We don't take excessively long showers, so I'm guessing we had a fairly high differential!

These are winter water rates, so there's more savings to be gained $ for $ over the summer.

We may be running laundry slightly less frequently versus last year, too, and a load of laundry can be up to 40 gallons of water per load. That's one of the next purchases for us. Front-loading, high-speed machines are the way to go for less wear on clothes and much less water use. If we're running about eight loads a week and can cut water use by--ye gods--160 gallons a week or 640 gallons a month, which is nearly a cubic foot or $9 at current rates. Over the course of the life of the product, that might be over $1,000 in savings, plus the state and federal government are offering some subsidies for that kind of appliance. There's also, of course, electricity use; modern units that are Energy Star qualified consume less than half as much as "standard" washer/dryers and we certainly have a standard set.

We wash primarily in cold since I read that the enzymes in modern detergents are optimized for cold water, which should be obvious, and that saves on heating the water, too.