How to Save Water with a Shower Timer

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15-minute shower = 25 gals. water
15-minute shower = 25 gals. water (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

One of the best ways to save money and avoid wasting water is to limit the amount of water used when showering. That's a very tough thing to do in a household with kids, especially teenagers, or with adults who love to meditate as dozens of gallons of warm water cascade over them. With a simple shower timer you actually set the length of a shower to a certain number of minutes. With a more sophisticated mechanical or electrical timer, you can actually lower the water flow or shut it off completely once the shower has reached its time limit.

Things You'll Need

  • Simple shower timer, similar to a kitchen timer
  • Expensive mechanical shower timer
  • Expensive electrical shower timer

Install one of the inexpensive ($5-$10) timers built to be used in the high humidity areas of a shower stall to simply remind your family that five or ten minutes in the shower is plenty, They can be attached to the shower wall with suction cups or adhesive strips. Some provide a digital readout of the time and signal you with an alarm. Others are little more than small hourglasses (like egg timers) adapted to installation on the shower wall.

Install a mechanical shower timer. This is a device that you attach to your shower arm. The shower head is then attached to the timer. Installation is relatively straightforward and can be done with wrenches and/or pliers. The best known of these devices costs more than $100 and is adjustable for five, eight, and 11-minute showers. This is not a reminder device, but actually controls the flow of water. It doesn't shut the water off completely, however. It slows it to two-thirds of the flow so people can finish rinsing their hair, etc.

Install an electrical shower timer. This type of device requires some electrical know-how (or hiring an electrician) to install. Once up and running, the digital timer turns the water off completely, rather than slowing the flow. The only device of this type that was found is made in Australia, and is pretty expensive ($300+). However, it is available in the U.S.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use a simple kitchen timer, of course. They work just as well if placed on the bathroom sink. But they may not hold up in a damp environment.
  • The simpler and cheaper timers work only if your family sets them and obeys the reminders.

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