How much water is 20 minutes in a shower?

Taking a shower is a daily ritual for many people. With rising water costs and concerns over water conservation, understanding your water usage in the shower can help you save water and money.

Quick Answer

On average, a typical showerhead uses 2.5 gallons of water per minute. So a 20 minute shower would use around 50 gallons of water.

How Shower Water Usage is Calculated

Shower water usage is usually measured in gallons per minute (gpm). To calculate how much water a shower uses:

  • Find the flow rate of your showerhead (check the specs, or do a bucket test)
  • Multiply the flow rate by the number of minutes you shower

For example, if your showerhead has a flow rate of 2.5 gpm, and you take a 20 minute shower:

2.5 gpm x 20 minutes = 50 gallons

So that 20 minute shower would use around 50 gallons of water.

Factors That Impact Shower Water Usage

There are several factors that can influence how much water is used during a shower:

Showerhead Flow Rate

The main factor is the flow rate of your showerhead. Typical showerheads have flow rates between 1.5 and 2.5 gallons per minute. Older, inefficient showerheads can use up to 5 gpm or more.

Showerhead Type

Different types of showerheads can also impact water usage:

  • Standard fixed showerheads – These basic showerheads have a set flow rate.
  • Low-flow showerheads – These are designed to conserve water by restricting flow to around 1.5-2 gpm.
  • Rainfall or luxury showerheads – These provide a drenching spray but use more water – up to 4 gpm.
  • High efficiency showerheads – Use advanced flow technology to provide a strong spray with less water – as low as 1.25 gpm.

Water Pressure

Higher water pressure can increase the flow rate from your showerhead and result in more water usage.

Showering Habits

Your personal showering habits make a difference too:

  • Taking longer showers uses more water.
  • Closing the water while lathering up saves water.
  • Turning the water on and off multiple times uses more than letting it run.

Average Shower Water Usage

With all those factors, shower water use can vary significantly. Here are some general averages:

  • Standard showerhead: 2.5 gallons per minute
  • Low-flow showerhead: 1.5-2 gallons per minute
  • Rainfall/luxury showerhead: Up to 4 gallons per minute
  • Average shower length: 8-10 minutes
  • Average shower water usage: 18-25 gallons

However, it’s important to measure your own shower’s flow rate and your habits to get a more accurate number.

Estimating Your Shower Water Usage

You can estimate your shower water usage with a few simple steps:

  1. Measure your showerhead’s flow rate – Do a bucket test or check the specs.
  2. Time several typical showers – See how long your showers normally last.
  3. Multiply flow rate by shower length – Do the math to calculate water used per shower.
  4. Multiply by shower frequency – Account for how many showers per day/week.

For example, if your showerhead uses 2 gpm, and you take a 10 minute shower once a day:

  • Flow rate: 2 gpm
  • Shower length: 10 minutes
  • Water per shower: 2 gpm x 10 minutes = 20 gallons
  • Showers per day: 1
  • Daily usage: 20 gallons x 1 shower = 20 gallons

Getting your real-world shower usage can help motivate water conservation and calculate possible savings from water-saving fixtures or changes in length.

Typical Shower Usage in Homes

Across U.S. homes, showers account for nearly 17% of indoor water use. Here are some statistics on typical daily shower water usage:

  • Average shower water use per household: 30-40 gallons
  • Average shower water use per person: 18-25 gallons
  • Average daily showers per person: 1
  • Average shower length: 8-10 minutes

Households with more occupants or longer showers will be on the higher end of water usage. Water-efficient fixtures and habits can significantly reduce shower water use.

Regional Differences

Average shower water usage also varies by region in the U.S.:

Region Average Water Use (gallons per day)
Northeast 32
South 28
Midwest 26
West 24

The Northeast has the highest usage due to older fixtures. Western states like California have embraced conservation efforts and have lower daily averages.

Shower Water Usage by Household Size

Larger households with more occupants will typically use more shower water:

Household Size Average Water Use (gallons per day)
1 person 18
2 people 28
3 people 38
4 people 48
5+ people 58

Installing water efficient fixtures and encouraging shorter showers can help reduce usage in larger households.

Comparison of Baths vs. Showers

When it comes to conserving water, showers are generally considered more efficient than baths:

  • Average shower water usage: 18-25 gallons
  • Average bath water usage: 30-50 gallons

However, there are some factors to consider:

  • Taking a 5 minute shower saves more water than a bath.
  • Taking a long 10+ minute shower may use more water than a bath.
  • Newer bathtub designs use less water than older tubs.
  • Closing the drain before showering helps capture excess water for reuse.

In general, a short shower is the most water efficient option. But reusing bath water for plants or another purpose can help conserve overall.

Tips for Reducing Shower Water Usage

Here are some tips to use less water when showering:

Reduce Shower Length

Set a timer and try to keep showers under 5 minutes. Taking shorter showers saves the most water.

Install Efficient Showerheads

Replacing old showerheads with low-flow versions using 1.5-2 gpm can make a big impact.

Turn Off Water When Not Needed

Turn off the water while lathering up to save 10 gallons per shower or more.

Take Fewer Showers

Skipping just one shower per week can save up to 25 gallons per person.

Reuse Shower Water

Capture excess shower water to use for plants, cleaning, or flushing toilets.

Monitor Usage

Checking your water meter before and after a shower lets you measure and manage your water use.

Upgrade Your Plumbing

New water-saving plumbing like low-flow valves and pipes can improve efficiency.

Insulate Hot Water Pipes

Preventing heat loss means you waste less water waiting for hot water to reach the shower.

Shower Water Usage Calculator

Here is an interactive calculator to estimate your shower water usage based on your specific showerhead and habits:

Cost Impact of Shower Water Usage

The costs of shower water usage really add up for the average household. Here’s an estimate:

  • Average shower water used per person daily: 20 gallons
  • Average cost of water per 1,000 gallons: $3.75
  • Average household size: 2.5 people
  • Daily shower water used: 20 * 2.5 = 50 gallons
  • Yearly shower water used: 50 * 365 = 18,250 gallons
  • Yearly water cost for showers: 18,250/1,000 * $3.75 = $68

That’s around $68 per year the average household spends just on shower water costs. Using a low-flow showerhead and cutting just 5 minutes from your daily shower could save a household $30-40 annually.

Environmental Impact

In addition to household costs, shower water usage has environmental consequences:

  • U.S. uses over 1 trillion gallons of water daily. Showers account for nearly 17%.
  • Reducing shower water use decreases energy for water heating and pumping.
  • Conserved water remains available for wildlife, habitats, and other needs.
  • Preventing water waste is especially crucial in arid regions prone to drought.

Simple measures like shorter showers and efficient fixtures can make a meaningful difference in conservation when practiced collectively.


A typical 20 minute shower with a standard showerhead uses around 50 gallons of water. But precise shower water usage depends on specific conditions like your plumbing fixture flow rates and personal habits. Understanding your actual usage is key to conservation. With some simple efficiency measures, minor adjustments in your routines can significantly reduce your water costs, usage, and environmental footprint over time.

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