I had a recent experience with cold showers, which got me to thinking that they’re not so bad — at least in the summer. Not only does taking cold showers have many health benefits (i.e., there are many claims of health benefits), it also saves money.
Every time you turn on the hot water, cold water flows into your water heater and that increases the amount of power (either electric or gas) it uses. One sure way to reduce your bill is simply to reduce the amount of hot water you use. If possible, don’t even touch the hot water faucet handle when you wash your hands or shower. Use less hot water, and you save money every day. Cold showers have the largest potential for saving money by reducing hot water use, because hot showers use a lot of hot water.
Cold showers are easiest in the summer, when the temperature of the “cold” water might be above 70° F (~ 20° C). That’s not as warm as most people like for a shower, but it’s far from really cold. For the past several days, I have taken only 100% cold showers, no hot water at all, and I’m getting quite used to it. It’s really not bad. Quite refreshing, actually. (Of course, it’s July now.) I’ll probably continue taking cold showers until fall, but I anticipate using less hot water than I’ve previously used during cold weather.
Not only am I saving on the gas bill by reducing the amount of gas used to heat water, I’m also saving on the water bill. Here are three reasons I use less water by cold-showering: (1) I don’t send water down the drain waiting for it to “heat up” as hot water moves through the pipes from the water heater to the shower. I’m only using cold water and it’s there as soon as I turn the faucet handle. I’ve read (2) I use less water in the sense of gallons-per-minute of water flow and (3) I take shorter showers. I also use the minimum amount of shampoo and soap, so as to reduce the amount of time and water it takes to rinse off. No question about it, a cold shower is a quick shower. Of course, I still use a shower shutoff valve.
Q: If cold water saves money, why not just turn off the water heater?
A: Hot water is absolutely necessary for washing clothes and dishes. When doing laundry, hot water does a great job of killing germs, dust mites, and getting all of the grease and dirt out of your clothes. Even though some detergents claim to work well in cold water, I still use hot water for the reasons stated. If you try to wash dishes in cold water, you’ll find your dishes come out greasy and spotted. (However, it’s a good idea to turn the water heater off when you go on vacation.)
To sum up: The shower is the place to save money by reducing your hot water usage. Why not take the cold shower challenge? Ease into it. Reduce your hot water use in the shower by about half for your next few showers, then go total “cold shower” after that. Good luck!