How many gallons is a 20 minute shower?

A 20 minute shower may seem quick and harmless, but did you know that the average 20 minute shower can use a significant amount of water? With rising water costs and concerns over water conservation, it’s important to understand just how much water your daily shower is using. In this article, we’ll break down how to calculate the gallons used during a 20 minute shower and provide tips on how to reduce your water usage.

The Average Showerhead Flow Rate

The first step in determining how many gallons a 20 minute shower uses is identifying the flow rate of your showerhead. Flow rate measures the amount of water flowing out of your showerhead per minute and is measured in gallons per minute (gpm). Most standard showerheads have a flow rate of 2.5 gpm. This means they output 2.5 gallons of water every minute.

Some showerheads may have lower flow rates around 1.5 – 2 gpm to conserve water. Older showerheads or luxury spa showerheads may have higher flow rates of up to 4 gpm. Identifying your showerhead’s flow rate is key to calculating your overall water usage. If you’re unsure of your flow rate, you can conduct a simple test by running your shower for 1 minute into a 5 gallon bucket. Measure how full the bucket is after 1 minute to determine your showerhead’s flow rate.

Calculating Gallons Used

Now that we know the average showerhead’s flow rate is 2.5 gpm, we can calculate how many gallons a 20 minute shower uses:

2.5 gpm x 20 minutes = 50 gallons

A standard showerhead with a 2.5 gpm flow rate will output 50 gallons of water in a 20 minute shower. That’s quite a significant amount of water for one quick shower!

To break that down further, a 2.5 gpm showerhead will use approximately:

– 2.5 gallons per 1 minute of showering
– 7.5 gallons for a 3 minute shower
– 15 gallons for a 6 minute shower
– 25 gallons for a 10 minute shower
– 50 gallons for a 20 minute shower

The quicker the shower, the less water used. But even a 6 minute shower is already using 15 gallons. The numbers add up quickly and longer showers of 10 minutes or beyond use a substantial amount of water.

Factors That Impact Shower Water Usage

While the flow rate and duration are the two main factors that determine shower water usage, there are a few other elements that can influence total gallons used:

Water Pressure – Higher water pressure can increase flow rate and result in more gallons used. Lower water pressure may decrease flow rate slightly.

Showerhead Efficiency – Old showerheads and those with buildup/calcium deposits tend to be less efficient and have higher flow rates. Newer low-flow showerheads use less water.

Leakage – Leaky showerheads or plumbing fixtures increase water waste and gallons used.

Water Temperatures – Longer showers may use more hot water requiring the water heater to work harder. This indirectly boosts water and energy use.

Number of Showerheads – Multi-head showers or body spray systems use more water than a single showerhead. The combined flow rate must be considered.

Shower Flow Settings – Some showerheads have adjustable flow rate settings from low flow to full spray. The setting impacts gallons used.

User Behavior – Water wasted while waiting for it to warm up, or partially on vs fully off during soaping impacts use.

Being aware of all these factors can help you better understand your overall shower water usage.

How Much Does a 20 Minute Shower Cost?

Okay, so a standard 20 minute shower can use up to 50 gallons of water. But how much does that actually cost? Here is a breakdown of the cost implications:

– The average water rate in the U.S. is around $1.50 per 1000 gallons used.
– 50 gallons would be $0.08 when divided by 1000 gallons.
– For a 20 minute shower that equates to around $0.08 per shower.
– For a family of 4 with each person taking a daily 20 minute shower, that totals around $0.32 per day.
– Monthly that would add up to $9.60 for a family of 4 at $0.08 per shower.
– Annually that is around $115.20 per year for 20 minute showers for a family of 4.

While $0.08 per shower may not seem too significant, it definitely adds up for households with multiple long showers daily. Reducing your shower length can help cut costs.

For families in areas with higher water rates, the costs can be substantially more:

– $3.00 per 1000 gallons would equal a 20 minute shower costing $0.15.
– $5.00 per 1000 gallons would equal $0.25 per shower.
– $10.00 per 1000 gallons would equal $0.50 per shower.

Check your local water rates to better understand your actual shower costs. The expenses motivate many people to take shorter and more efficient showers to save money.

Tips For Reducing Shower Water Usage

Now that you know how many gallons are used during a 20 minute shower, here are some tips to reduce your water usage:

1. Take shorter showers. Cutting your shower length from 20 minutes down to 5 or 10 minutes can make a dramatic difference in water savings. Challenge yourself to shorter showers.

2. Install a low-flow showerhead. Replacing your showerhead with a 1.5 – 2 gpm model provides excellent water savings.

3. Fix any leaks. A leaky showerhead can waste hundreds of gallons monthly. Replace worn fixtures.

4. Turn off water while soaping up. Avoid letting the shower run continuously the whole time.

5. Take fewer showers per week. Skipping just one shower a week can save significant amounts annually.

6. Install a shower timer. Timers are a handy way to visibly track and limit your shower length.

7. Set goals and track improvements. Use a bucket to measure gallons used. See your usage drop with shorter showers.

8. Update to a water-efficient model. New shower technology can slash water usage while still delivering a luxurious shower.

9. Check for rebates. Some municipalities offer rebates for installing water efficient showerheads.

10. Share water saving tips. Educate your family, especially kids who may take long showers, on why it matters.

With some minor adjustments, you can still enjoy a satisfying shower while significantly reducing your water usage, saving money, and helping conserve water.

How Low Can You Go? Ultimate Water Saving Showers

If you’re looking to get your shower water usage as low as possible, here are some ultra high efficiency showering options:

– Navy Showers: Wet down, turn off water to soap and shave, then briefly turn water back on to rinse.

– Low-Flow Showerheads: Look for models around 1 – 1.5 gpm. Some use less than 1 gpm.

– Watersense Models: EPA approved Watersense showerheads use no more than 2 gpm.

– Water Recycling Showers: Reuses shower water multiple times cutting use by 50-80%.

– Timer Showers: Showerheads with built-in automatic shutoff timers.

– Off-and-On Showers: Quickly turn water on and off as needed while showering.

– Limit Showers: Restrict yourself to only 1 or 2 per week and sponge bath the other days.

– Composting Toilets: Special toilets allow you to reclaim shower/sink water for flushing.

– Dual Plumbing: Graywater systems reuse shower water for irrigation or flushing toilets.

With the right showerhead and some motivation, you can maximize your water efficiency. Cutting usage from 50 gallons with a standard 20 minute shower down to 12.5 gallons with a Navy Shower is an impressive 75% reduction.

The Impact of Water Conservation

Here are some of the key benefits and impacts when households actively conserve water in their daily showers:

Saves Money: Lower utility bills from reduced hot water heating costs and water usage charges.

Preserves Resources: Conserving limited freshwater reserves, especially in arid regions.

Supports Aquatic Life: Minimizing water drawn from rivers and wetlands helps maintain vital habitats.

Reduces Energy Usage: It takes substantial energy to treat and deliver potable water supplies. Less water used equates to less energy demand.

Lowers Emissions: Because large amounts of fossil fuels are used to heat water, reduced hot water usage decreases a household’s carbon footprint.

Improves Infrastructure: Conservation efforts prolong and extend current water distribution systems.

Postpones Expansions: Putting off building expensive new water treatment plants and facilities.

Lessens Chemicals: Lower water usage means less chemical treatment needed to prepare and sanitize drinking water.

By understanding the link between daily water usage behaviors and broader environmental issues, it encourages people to modify habits and conserve more. Simple diligent actions at home related to showering can have much greater collective impacts.

The Shower Water Footprint Around the World

Shower lengths and conventions can vary quite a bit around the world. Here’s an overview of differences:

United States
– Average Shower: 8-10 minutes
– Average Flow Rate: 2.1 gpm
– Average Usage: 17-21 gallons

– Average Shower: 9-12 minutes
– Average Flow Rate: 2.2 gpm
– Average Usage: 20-26 gallons

United Kingdom
– Average Shower: 8 minutes
– Average Flow Rate: 2.2 gpm
– Average Usage: 18 gallons

– Average Shower: 6-7 minutes
– Average Flow Rate: 2.1 gpm
– Average Usage: 13-15 gallons

– Average Shower: 5-6 minutes
– Average Flow Rate: 1.7 gpm
– Average Usage: 9-10 gallons

Cultural views on hygiene, environmental awareness, energy costs, and water availability influence country differences. Generally arid regions like Australia shower quicker than places with abundant freshwater.

Older infrastructure in Europe results in lower flow rates compared to the higher volume showerheads often found in newer U.S. homes. More recent concerns over sustainability in Europe are shifting behaviors.

Many countries have established standards on showerhead flow rates to curb water usage. For example, the E.U. limits showerheads to a maximum of 2.3 gpm. The U.S. has no federal laws limiting flow, though individual states often require 2.5 gpm or less.

Global Efforts To Conserve Shower Water

Here are some other initiatives occurring worldwide to reduce shower water waste:

– England – Water efficiency education for children has helped lower average shower times.
– Australia – ‘Target 155’ program set a goal of limiting home water use to 155 liters per person daily.
– Germany – Water conservation tax on usage above 50 gallons per person daily.
– Sweden – Special water conservation certifications earned by efficient buildings and facilities.
– Japan – Development of low-flow showerheads with innovative technologies and designs.
– Brazil – Reduced hot water usage mandated in new building construction specifications.
– Canada – Home Water Saver program includes free low-flow showerhead installations.
– Israel – Strict water restrictions prohibiting the use of showerhead flow rates above 2.2 gpm.
– U.S. – EPA WaterSense program promotes and labels efficient showerheads and other products.

Many regions still face substantial challenges for broader public awareness and adoption of conservation tactics. But continued innovation and advocacy keep pushing water efficiency forward.

The Future of Shower Water Usage

Several promising trends point toward reduced shower water usage worldwide:

Advanced Low-Flow Showerheads – Innovations allow lower water volumes while still giving a drenching spray.

Water Recycling Technology – Showers that filter and recirculate water onsite will increase.

Smart Monitoring Systems – Smart home water use meters will help track reductions.

Enhanced Water Rate Structures – Rising block rates that charge more for higher usage will discourage waste.

Cultural Shifts – New generations are highly motivated to reduce their environmental footprint.

Building Codes Changes – Stricter plumbing codes will mandate greater efficiency in new construction.

Retrofit Programs – Government and utility rebates will encourage replacing inefficient plumbing fixtures.

Education Initiatives – Schools and media can promote conservation behaviors to all ages.

Ongoing innovation combined with consumer, government, and industry efforts give hope that shower water waste can be curtailed, preserving precious water resources. The gallons saved start with the actions taken during your daily morning routine.


A standard 20 minute shower with a typical 2.5 gpm showerhead uses approximately 50 gallons of water. While that may not seem like a huge amount, those gallons add up significantly over time, leading to higher utility bills and unnecessary water waste. With freshwater shortages an ongoing concern worldwide, it’s important we reevaluate our shower habits.

By shortening your shower length, installing efficient fixtures, and monitoring usage, you can slash your water consumption dramatically. Small behavior and product choices can reduce your shower’s water impact from 50 gallons down to 12 or less. This saves money, helps conserve limited water reserves, and reduces the significant energy needed to supply hot water. Shower water usage is a meaningful piece of your environmental footprint where simple diligent steps can lead to broader progress in conservation.

Leave a Comment