Showers account for about 18 percent of household water use, reports Alliance for Water Efficiency. To reduce water use—and the cost of heating water—in the shower, you can install a shower timer. There are two basic types available.
There are several waterproof hourglass- and countdown-style timers made specifically to be placed in the shower. While they do not turn off the water when the time expires, they signal to the user that it's time to finish up. These timers are inexpensive and easy to install and can be set for a wide range of times. The disadvantage is that they easily can be turned off or ignored by family members who don't want to adhere to time limits.
A mechanical timer actually restricts the water flow when the time has expired, leaving only a weakened spray for final rinsing. These timers are easy to install, threading onto the shower arm (the pipe extending from the wall) between the arm and the showerhead. They can be expensive and usually are limited to preset times. For example, one brand has only settings of three, five and 11 minutes and includes a warning signal that alerts users when the time is nearly up. The timers are good, however, at convincing recalcitrant family members to limit shower time.
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