|A low flow showerhead makes long showers cheaper|
Except when it comes to my showers. I like to take a long, hot shower every morning to turn my brain on, figure out the day, and meditate a bit. Plus, my scalp gets itchy if I don't shampoo daily (sidenote: it's a bit better with the "all natural" shampoos that don't contain things like SLS, but it is still uncomfortable. )
At the new house, my husband doesn't want me to take long showers, at least not until we figure out how much it would cost us on the bill to have my showers. Thus began an epic quest to determine right from the first shower in that house, how much do long, hot showers cost?
For the purposes of my question, I'm considering the heat to warm the water a constant, since that's something we've been paying here and not something that would increase our bills at the new house versus the old house. The only variables I'm looking at are water and the related cost of sewer.
From the rate sheet on the utility's website, it appears that there is a flat monthly fee, based on the type of meter and a rate per ccf, or hundred cubic feet of water used. Since the flat rate isn't going to change whether I use one gallon of water for a quick wipe down, or take a full-length (read: until the hot water runs out) shower, I'm not going to consider that in the cost of a shower. The cost per ccf per month appears to be $2.56, with an additional fee of approximately $0.44 for the chemicals they use to treat it, so a total cost of about $3 per ccf.
But wait! That's just the water coming into the house! They charge us coming and going! On top of the water charges, there are a flat fee and per ccf charges for sewer use as well. Again, since we flushed the toilet at the new house already, that's going to take care of the flat rate. We used it, it is there. The variable rate is 4.70 per ccf commodities charge plus a $0.59 per ccf inflow/infiltrations commodity charge. So using one ccf a month, going down the drain, is $5.29, bringing my total costs per ccf month to $8.29.
I keep the water heater set to a really low temperature, to prevent scalding by the children (or me, during an airbrained moment) and to keep other utility costs down, so one of my showers (you can stop picturing me wet and naked any time now, thanks) usually consists of the hot water on full blast with little to no cold water in the mix and goes until the hot water starts to run out. I know from survival stuff that the average hot water heater contains about 30 gallons, so that is approximately what I use for a shower. Since I shower daily, that means I use roughly 915 gallons a month for showering, or 1.22 ccf (1 ccf = 748 gallons). For all my showers for the month, it will cost a projected $10.11.
The other way to look at it is one full-length shower costs about $0.33. Considering how much I save the family on everything else under the sun, from food to clothes to things around the house, I don't think that's too much to pay for one little thing that is a small but important "luxury" in my life!
How much do your showers cost?
For this post, I had a lot of help from my expert on all things Lansing and crazy spreadsheet lady, my friend Melissa, from Cookies, Crayons, Classes, & Chaos. (Seriously, she put yellow on a spreadsheet to do with sewers. Who does that? I guess I should just be grateful for her help...and that she didn't use brown.)