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Archive for the ‘saving energy’ Category

A few months ago, I completed an on-line energy survey through one of my local utility companies, and as a reward, they sent me an “energy conservation package.”  It consisted of a new low-flow shower head and several low flow faucet adapters.

The faucet adapters were clearly marked as 1 gpm (gallon per minute) flow rate, and I chose to replace the adapters in the kids’ bathroom, which dated to when the house was built in 1995 and were clearly marked 2 gpm.  The flow was significantly reduced and I thought the kids would complain, but they do not.  They do not use their sinks much except for hand washing and brushing their teeth and they were trained their whole lives not to let the water run while brushing, so while there may be a little savings from the new adapters, it is probably small.

I also replaced the original shower head in the master bath with the model sent in the kit – an ultra low flow shower head delivering 1.5 gpm – pretty much the lowest flow rate available in a shower head according to some quick internet research I just did.  The old shower head was not marked, but the flow from the new shower head is SIGNIFICANTLY less, so my guess is that the old shower head delivered at least double the flow rate of the new model, maybe more.

We all use this shower since it is a step in shower and more convenient that using the shower in the tub in the kids bathroom.    All of us take an average length shower, I think, with the exception of my daughter, who spends quite a lot more time in there.

When I first installed the shower head (pretty easy to do, by the way) and turned it on, I laughed hysterically at the little trickle of flow and told my family that we should try it for a month, at least, and then if everyone still hated it, I would replace it with something with a bit of a higher flow.

It took a while to get used to.  We have always had a bit of a wait for hot water in that shower since it is quite a distance from the water heater and now it takes even longer to heat up.  I think I spend a minute or two longer in the shower since it takes longer to rinse.  Everyone would prefer a bit stronger of a jet but complaints have been surprisingly minimal after the first week.  We do make jokes about getting dribbled on now and again, but after about 6 weeks, I think we are all used to it.  I still can’t guarantee we won’t bump up to something a bit higher in the future, but even so, I think we’ll end up with a lower flow than the original shower head.

I installed the water saving devices about 1 week into our water billing cycle and still we saw over a 10% reduction in our water bill from the previous month.  My spouse was curious about the gas bill – it went down about 10% also, but it is hard to tell if all of that was from less water heating or just the usual variation in the bill from month to month.

Overall, I am pleased about how it went.  It seemed like a big sacrifice at first, but we adapted quite well and it is nice to know we are saving water, energy, and money.

Try a new shower head out and see how it goes for you.

Best regards,

Lynn

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