My Hydro-Powered Think Tank

by Katy on November 9, 2008 · 11 comments



My name is Katy and I am a water waster.

Let me first preface this by stating that I do live in Portland, Oregon. The state with T-shirts proclaiming that, “Last year in Oregon 125 people fell of their bikes . . . and drowned.” 


Oregon is famous for its lengthy October through June rainy season, so drought is not exactly a hot-button issue.

But that doesn’t mean I should be wasteful with water either. And I’m fully aware that the hot water heater doesn’t exactly run on pixie-dust.

Because you see, I love a long, hot shower.

I always have the best of intentions when getting in. I’ll do my shampoo/condition/soap routine and then get right out. But once I’m in there, with the hot water running down my back, relaxing all the kinks and knots, I lose that earlier discipline. 

Ahh . . . .

I become transformed into a grade A, good idea machine.

I always come up with the greatest ideas and solutions while in the shower. Issues I didn’t even realize I was worried about will suddenly solve themselves. 

It’s without fail.

I do have a low flow shower head, so I guess my crime isn’t as bad as it could be. 

I know I could be saving money by keeping the showers short and sweet, but I feel this is money well spent.

Because hiring one of the think tank thingies would probably cost a lot more than the extra hot water.

Do you linger in the shower or keep it short? Tell us about it in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl November 9, 2008 at 7:42 am

I’m pretty fast in the shower…I’m usually done in 7 minutes. I also don’t take very hot showers(my husband calls them lukewarm!)

My husband takes VERY hot showers…he looks like a lobster when he gets out! And my son is the same way. I give him a 5 minute timer and tell him he needs to be out by then. He’s not that big, he’s got very short hair, and there’s just no reason for him to be in there for more than 5 minutes.

We have our hot water heater set at 120 degrees, so if my husband and my son take showers right after each other, the tank gets empty awfully fast. We try to make sure that doesn’t happen very often. 😉


Shymom November 9, 2008 at 8:04 am

We are very frugal with water, but we live in California where drought is always a possibility.

The kids get a maximum of 5 minutes in the shower. My husband usually can get in and out in 3 and I tend to linger BUT since I take navy showers I use very little water.

I turn the water on to get wet and then off again while I am soaping up/shampooing. Then on again to rinse, then off again to condition my hair and shave my legs. Then on once more to rinse.

If I am not washing my hair or shaving I will wash off with a soapy wash cloth before I get into the shower and then just use the shower water to rinse off.

We also catch, in a bucket, the water that we run while waiting for the shower to heat up. (We have another bucket by the kitchen sink.)

That water we use for watering plants, rinsing hand washables or flushing the toilet.

I still think we use way too much water. In the winter we use about 86 gallons of water a day and in the summer it is about 120. But that does include watering the vegetable garden and all landscaping.


Jackie November 9, 2008 at 10:55 am

I always intend to keep it short …but as soon as the hot water hits me I lose all track of time. So I keep a timer in the bathroom and set it for 5 minutes.

If I don’t set the timer, I could stay in the shower until all the hot water runs out!


Lora November 9, 2008 at 11:16 am

I also have the best of intentions before showering. Sometimes I manage to wash up quickly, but other times I also get carried away thinking about stuff and… well, let’s just say I love hot water too!
I always turn the water off to wash up & shave though, and I’ve got short hair which helps with cutting down on the time I spend in the shower. Oh, and I eliminated conditioner from my list of “nasty bath products I still use”, so that helps a bit, too.


Mary C November 9, 2008 at 2:08 pm

This is a hot button issue for me. How does one ‘hurry’ when you have to shampoo, wash, and shave? In the summer, I can turn the water off for shaving and shampooing but in the winter…it ain’t happenin’. Also, it takes a good three or four minutes for the water to get hot in our bathroom. It’s on the opposite end of the house from the water heater. I really try to hurry and I try to use the first few minutes to water my plants while I wait for the water to get hot.
My husband however, loves to just stand there and do nothing while all the hot water gets used up.
I cannot win.


Meg November 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm

LOL! I just did a double-take! My husband and I had a roommate named Katy who was also a big fan of loooong hot showers. We once timed her at an hour and a half — and that wasn’t a particularly long one for her.

We knew she loved long showers when she moved in, but we didn’t know how long until after we had already agreed that we’d pay the utility bill instead of splitting it (and her rent was super low, too).

Fortunately, our current roommate is much more frugal and eco-conscious — even when we pay for things (if not more so).


MAM November 9, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I’m pretty much a short shower-er, turning off the water during soaping up and hair washing. (Although every once in a while that hot water feels goooooood.) I also am of the opinion that I don’t necessarily need a shower every day. In the summer, maybe; in the winter definitely not (unless I get up off my behind and start exercising more regularly).



efilyzarcym November 9, 2008 at 3:54 pm

LOL!! I had the same revelation…I am a bathtub think-tanker!! I love it!
The problem is….once I get out….I can’t seem to get all of those great ideas on paper (or in a blog, as it were).
This was a great blog…thanks!!


LeAnna in MN November 9, 2008 at 10:54 pm

You know, I am all about quality of showers over quantity. I shower roughly 3 times per week, just enough so I don’t look greasy or smell. 😛 I figure that gives me license to friggin’ ENJOY my shower. As hot as I can take it, long enough to warm up and relax.

Sustainability is about comfort as well as conservation. Living a stripped-bare life is, well, bare. It’s not sustainable to live that way. Gotta enjoy the simple pleasures, or you binge on not-so-simple ones. 🙂


PN November 10, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Like you, Katy, I enjoy long showers. To make up for that, and the fact that hot water takes forever to reach the furthest bathroom from the water heater compounded by the inherent problem of tankless water heater, we installed 1.5 GPM shower heads ($13 each) in all the showers and a ChiliPepper hot water pump ($225 with remote control). The wait for hot water at the shower is about 10 seconds now, versus a few minutes in the past. I consider this money well spent.


ToilingAnt November 10, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Interesting… I’ve been contemplating going for shorter showers as well, but I agree… it’s not time wasted for me. It’s either my quiet thinking time, or relationship building time. At least a few times a week, I shower with Hubs (*grin*) and we do tend to have good conversations in there (seriously!). So I figure splitting the water with him has to outweigh the longer time spent.

Now yes, I would probably sing a different tune if a) we were in a drought-prone area, instead of swampy, water-wherever-you-look southeast Louisiana, b) were so strapped that we needed to crank the water heater down/off, or c) didn’t have green energy options (we do- I think we’re paying ten bucks extra each month for the privilege of local, green power).


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