A reader wrote in last week asking for some tips on how to reuse shower water. What a great question!
When the weather gets cold, it can take the shower even longer to heat up. It's also awfully tempting to languish under that steady stream of hot water rather than face the cold, isn't it? Here are some ideas to help you use less water in the shower and reclaim the water that you do end up using.
1. The Shower Bucket - It is what it says it is! You can get more details about how I use a shower bucket to conserve water here! This is probably the cheapest way to reuse some of that shower water. There's nothing to install or maintain.
2. Use a timer. How effective this is really depends on how many people are showering and for how long, but try setting an egg timer for 3-5 minutes when you hop in the shower, and try to get out of there before it dings.
3. Install a low-flow shower head or aerator. You can find these at most home improvement stores, and they're not too hard to install. My husband installed both of our low-flow shower heads, and it seemed pretty painless. An aerator uses air to help push the water out of the head, so you don't feel like you're losing as much pressure. I'd recommend looking for an aerater, because otherwise the flow can get pretty pitiful when you turn it down.
4. Try greywater reclamation. Grey water refers to water that's been used but is not toxic. So, water from the shower is grey water, water from flushing the toilet is not. Putting in a greywater system is a little trickier - and not legal in all places - but if you're handy with plumbing, you can try re-routing your shower drain through a filtering system, and use that grey water elsewhere, like to water the garden or flush the toilet. Here's a good resource with more information about greywater.
What about you guys? Have you used any creative solutions to reclaim shower water or reduce the amount of water you use in the shower? I'd love to hear your conservation ideas in the comments!
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by stevendepolo