Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step


November 18, 2008

Review: Save Water, Energy with Shower Professor Digital Timer

Category: Companies,Green Reviews,Household,Save Water – Tom Harrison – 12:42 pm

My Favorite

Simple and Inexpensive

Water and energy are scarce resources; here’s a good way to conserve a little of both: a shower timer.

There are three kinds of shower timers I could find: fancy models that actually shut off the water flow, egg timers that run for about 4 minutes, and digital countdown timers. I have found a good, inexpensive choice: The “Shower Professor”.

The first type of timer is fancy: it installs between the shower water spout and the shower head and actually shuts off the water after a set period of time. They cost about $150 or more. This seems like an expensive and rather excessive method.

I tried using an egg timer. They are cute and inexpensive (around $4) but pretty limited. For one, they are set for about 4 minutes, which is the recommended time, but some may prefer an extra minute or so. I also found the model I got hard to read. In the end, I would forget it and stopped using it.

Two models of digital countdown timers are available. Both have a digital display, are water resistant, have a suction cup, and a few buttons. One made by Ripple Products in Australia has several colorful designs (star, duck, etc) for about $20. A new company (that contacted me and provided a free sample) called Shower Professor is similar, and is only $12.98 including shipping.

(And, I just noticed that TerraPass sells one called the Half a Teaspoon Shower Watch for $30)

The Ripple and Shower Professor differ in a small but important way: the Ripple needs to be set (e.g. press the “minutes” button 5 times for 5 minutes, then press start). The Shower Professor comes with four presets: 5, 7 and 10 minutes and another for 1 minute — one touch and you start the timer. Not a big deal, for sure, but who needs to think when getting into the shower?

Both have a display, and beep when time’s up. The Shower Professor’s display is large enough to be legible, and has a discrete, short (but audible) beep. My only real complaint is that the 1 minute setting worked a little differently than I expected — I thought it would add a minute, instead, it stops (but doesn’t restart) a running timer, or if there’s no timer running, starts a 1 minute countdown.

Also, the Ripple sells in the US for about $20 when you include shipping; the Shower Professor is $13 with shipping, at least to my address. No doubt you can save $13 in a matter of a few weeks if you’re motivated. The Shower Professor website is a little hokey, but I have exchanged a few emails with they guy there, and he seems like an honest guy.

I am regularly reminded how slowly my brain is operating when I shower in the morning — it’s nice to have a gentle reminder lest I find myself asleep under a gentle spray of warm water :-)

Don’t Forget The Low Flow Shower Head!

Short showers are a good complement to low-flow shower heads several of which I have reviewed in prior posts. My favorite is the Oygenics Elite 700, but there are other good options, notably the Evolve Roadrunner, or even just the little fitting that comes with the Evolve or can be purchased separately that turns off the water once it has warmed up.

4 Comments

  1. […] how does the coffee affect hot water usage? For since November I have been using the Shower Professor shower timer, and keeping track of my results. When I step in, I set the timer for 5 minutes. When I get out of […]

    Pingback by 20.5% Less Hot Water Used From One Cup Of Coffee | Five Percent: Conserve a Little Energy — December 28, 2008 @ 7:01 pm

  2. […] while back, I reviewed the Shower Professor shower timer. I had tried an egg timer variety, but you really have to look … and it’s steamy in a […]

    Pingback by Shower Timer: Six Bucks Once Saves That Every Month | Five Percent: Conserve a Little Energy — June 20, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

  3. You can take as short a shower as possible, but it’s still water that’s going down the drain when it could go on landscaping plants. We use a product that extracts shower gray water as you are showering and pumps it through the wall onto landscape plants. The system is simple and convenient to operate and has saved us money on our water bill monthly. It also has a remote that turns the pump on and off. If you are interested, the company’s website is http://www.MiragePacific.com.
    Figure out how much water you use in the shower every minute. It will shock you!

    Comment by Julie Reavis — August 29, 2009 @ 5:39 pm

  4. Julie —

    It’s true that not only the water, but the heat in it can be recycled. I’ll check out the site you referenced — thanks.

    I live in the Boston area — we get perhaps four months when the water would help our plants, four months of rain, and another four months during which such water would be creating a lovely ice sculpture in our garden :-) I wonder if the water could be diverted for use in flushing the toilet instead? A gray-water system like this can be a good way to conserve.

    Getting the heat out is also a relatively solvable problem. In the winter, when the air is dry, we make sure not to use the exhaust fan when showering, and instead let the warm steamy air into the house. I have also heard mention of heat exchangers that are fitted on drain pipes, but never found them available.

    I use a low-flow shower head (either the High-Sierra or Oxygenics models I have reviewed) which provides a nice shower using about 1-1/4 gallons per minute, and keep the water temperature on my water heater set to 115°. So it’s pretty easy to know how much hot water I use: 5 gallons of heated water for my 4 minute shower, a little less if I turn off the water while soaping up. This is about half what a regular (2.5 GPM) showerhead uses, and probably about 1/2 the length of a “typical” shower.

    Thanks for the lead!

    Tom

    Comment by Tom Harrison — August 30, 2009 @ 9:31 am

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