All the recent heat and humidity may be causing you to spend more time in the shower or bath than usual. And if you pay for water (or are concerned about conserving it), you may be wondering which is harder on your wallet (and the environment): Showering or bathing? Here’s what to know.
Which uses more water: A shower or a bath?
There are a number of variables here, including the size of your bathtub (and how far you fill it to take a bath), the type of shower head you have, and how long your showers typically last.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average shower lasts about eight minutes, and the average shower head has a water flow of 2.1 gallons per minute, so the average shower uses more than 16 gallons of water.
Meanwhile, the average bathtub holds 80 gallons of water, so even if you only fill it up halfway, that’s still 40 gallons. To save water when taking a bath, the EPA suggests plugging the drain right away and then adjusting the temperature as the tub fills. Still, unless you’re taking a long shower, it’ll typically use less water than taking a bath.
If you’re looking for a more precise number (and less math), use this calculator to figure out whether you’ll use less water taking a shower or a bath.
How to figure out the cost of shower or a bath
Now that we know that on average, showering tends to use less water than bathing, let’s take a look at how to figure out how much it costs to get clean. To do that, you’ll need to find out how much you’re paying for water in your city.
Let’s say that you’re currently paying $1.50/1k gallons of water, live with one other person, and you each take one eight-minute shower every day. Depending on the cost of electricity in your area (necessary for heating the water), and the type of shower head you have, a year’s worth of showers in your household will work out to around $200 each year.
You can use this calculator to plug in your own numbers and get an estimate for the cost of showering in your household.