Showering to Savings

In an average home, showers are typically the third largest water use after toilets and clothes washers. The average American shower uses 17.2 gallons (65.1 liters) and lasts for 8.2 minutes at average flow rate of 2.1 gallons per minute (gpm) (7.9 lpm).

Shower Water Saving Tips

shower head
  1. Pay attention to the length of time spent in the shower. Try taking a shorter shower of around 5 minutes.
  2. If you shower is equipped with an on-off switch use it while you are soaping and shampooing.
  3. If you have to wait a period of time for the hot water to reach the shower, try collecting the normally discarded cold water in a bucket for watering plants.

An additional method to reduce water use in showers is to turn off the water while lathering and shampooing, often called a "navy shower".  The method requires three steps: 1) turn on water to rinse body and hair; 2) turn off water while shampooing hair and washing body with soap and washcloth; 3) resume water flow and rinse off all shampoo and soap. Using this technique, the total duration of water flow can easily be reduced to 5 minutes or less.

Other Shower Information

woman in shower

Shower Heads

Replacing your current showerhead with a new model that uses 2.5 gpm (9.5 lpm) may or may not save water in your home. Many people already have a 2.5 gpm (9.5 lpm) showerhead installed.

Showerheads are inexpensive (starting at less than $5) and can be a good way to save water in your home. Reducing hot water use saves energy because your hot water heater has less work to do.

WaterSense LogoWater–saving showerheads that earn the WaterSense label must demonstrate that they use no more than 2.0 gpm. The WaterSense label also ensures that these products provide a satisfactory shower that is equal to or better than conventional showerheads on the market. EPA worked with a variety of stakeholders—including consumers who tested various showerheads—to develop criteria for water coverage and spray intensity. All products bearing the WaterSense label—including water–efficient showerheads—must be independently certified to ensure they meet EPA water efficiency and performance criteria.


The duration of the shower has a direct effect on water usage. A 20-minute shower will use twice as much water as a 10-minute shower taken at the same flow rate.  Many have hypothesized reducing flow rates of showerheads might cause users to take much longer showers.  Scientific studies that monitored thousands of homes across the nation have proven the flow rates have little influence on the duration of the shower.  A shower timer might be a helpful tool in reducing the length of your showers - see Shower Timer Introduction.

man in showerFlow Rate

Current national energy policy act (EPAct) standards mandate that all showerheads manufactured in the U.S. have a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gpm (9.5 lpm).  Showerheads are also available at flow rates of 0.75 gpm (2.8 lpm), 1 gpm (3.8 lpm), 1.5 gpm (5.7 lpm), 1.75 gpm (6.6 lpm), and 2 gpm (7.6 lpm), although they may be harder to find at flow rates below 2.5 gpm (9.5 lpm). Before 1980, many showerheads exceeded 5 gpm (18.9 lpm).