Water and energy are two commodities which are in short supply in South Africa. Through showering instead of bathing and using energy and water efficient showerheads, South Africans can conserve both of these resources with ease and simultaneously save themselves money.
According to Eskom, water heating accounts for up to 39 percent of the average household’s electricity bill. By switching to an energy and water efficient showerhead, setting your geyser to 60ºC and sticking to a seven minute ‘power shower’ you can save around 35 litres of water every time you shower.
In a household that takes an average of three, seven minute showers per day, a saving of R421 per year can be achieved, not forgetting the energy you’ll save by not heating 18 900 litres of water which can equate to as much as an additional R1,278 per year.
But what are energy and water saving showerheads exactly? A conventional showerhead has a flow rate of above 15L/min. Typically, a shower head is classified as an energy and water-saving showerhead when the water flow rate is reduced from a flow rate of above 15L/ min to less than 10L/min.
If you’re not sure whether or not you already have an energy and water saving showerhead installed, simply carry out the following test: Hold a two litre jug under your showerhead with the hot water tap turned on full and time how long it takes to fill the jug. If it takes less than 12 seconds to fill the jug, then your shower head is not energy efficient. If it takes longer than 12 seconds to fill the jug, then you are using an energy and water saving showerhead.
Energy and water saving showerheads can cost anything from R80 to R800 depending on the material they are made from. Although plastic showerheads of this nature are generally cheaper and just as effective as the more expensive metal options, they do tend not to be as durable as their metal counterparts. Eskom points out that based on the potential rand saving of fitting an energy and water efficient showerhead, the investment in such an appliance should effectively pay for itself within a year.
It must be noted that not all energy and water efficient showerheads are compatible with all showers as the pressure of the shower’s hot and cold water needs to be balanced for these showerheads to provide optimal savings.
You can test your shower’s water pressure with a water pressure gauge. Alternatively, you can test the water pressure simply by adjusting the hot and cold water stream slightly. If a sudden temperature change occurs, then you know your water pressure is unbalanced. Balanced water pressure will have a gradual temperature change. If your water pressure is unbalanced, you can add an appropriate flow regulator onto your current shower head. Ask your supplier for further options in this regard.
Lastly, for those who are avoiding purchasing water and energy efficient showerheads as they think they will detract from their showering experience, think again. Showering with showerheads that feature flow rates as low as 8L/min can be just as satisfying as showering with a water guzzling showerhead. The only factor that would really influence your flow rate is the water pressure of your geyser which should preferably be set at just over 1 bar.