Saving my Shower

I have a water-efficient showerhead, but my showers have always been way too long. While I realise household water use only makes up only 11% of total water consumption in Australia [1], I still felt bad that I could be using less water.

adjustable spanner Last year Towards Sustainability blogged about the Shower Saver and a couple of months ago I got one. Even though I still spend more than four minutes in the shower, the water’s only running for a more reasonable time (although I haven’t timed it).

There were easy-to-install instructions with the Shower Saver, so I thought I’d do it myself. While the instructions were very easy to follow, the Shower Saver didn’t work when I’d finished. My dad had a look and discovered the problem was with my confusing plumbing and I just needed to make a small adjustment to fix it. Thus my plumbing adventures were a success.

the shower saver turned off the shower saver turned on The old plumbing of my shower makes finding the right temperature an excruciating process and it was always too hard to just turn off the taps when I soaped up. Now I just flick the paddle of the Shower Saver and the water stops while I soap up or wash my hair. (I used to have the water running while I combed conditioner through my hair – a good example of why I’m the lazyst environmentalyst.) When I flick the paddle to turn the water back on, the temperature and pressure are already set.

my decrepit plumbing Since using the Shower Saver I’ve been reminded of something else about my decrepit plumbing. There is a lower tap and upper shower head that are on the same pipe. You turn a lever one way or the other to use the one you want. When the shower is running the lower tap drips. I once got a plumber in to fix it and he said the plumbing is so old that parts are no longer made for these fixtures. If I wanted to stop the drip I would have install a new shower system. Now when the Shower Saver is flicked off, the lower tap continues its drip. It reminds me to be quick so the drip will be stop when I finish my shower. I figure a new system would use all new steel parts and the resources that entails, so I accept a drip for the duration of every shower. (This may also have to do with how lazy I am.)

collecting the washing grey water I also acquired a (large) bucket to catch the cold water while I wait for the hot to come through the pipes. I got the bucket with the intention of standing in it while I showered, but I can’t bring myself to stand in my own filth :P I catch 2-3L every shower, with less in the hot weather because the water is so hot from the solar water heater. As summer gets hotter I start having cold showers (like today) so I won’t be using the bucket and all that boiling hot water heated by the sun only gets used for washing dishes. I’ve discovered the bucket is also very good for collecting the clothes washing grey water. The flexible bucket allows easy pouring into a watering-can for watering the vegies. I used to use two ordinary 10L buckets and the grey water hose would often fall out or the bucket would overflow.

The Shower Saver was invented in Australia, so the label says it’s designed in Australia, but it’s still made in China and then shipped back to Australia for selling – like pretty much every product we buy.



  1. ABS (2006) Water Account, Australia, 2004-05

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