These days, we take it for granted that when the water runs from our taps, it’s clean and safe to drink or wash with. But this wasn’t always the case. In fact, until fairly recently in history—less than 100 years ago—most people couldn’t drink their tap water without fear of illness because they didn’t know what was in there or how to treat it.
Nowadays, most developed countries like Canada have strict regulations about what can be put into public drinking water systems and how often these regulations need to be met with testing; but even if you live in a country with no such laws on the books, you should still think twice before drinking your tap water or taking a shower! Here are some of the reasons why:
- The pipes leading to your home may be corroded.
- Your city’s water supply has been contaminated by a spill or other incident.
- The treatment plant could have malfunctioned due to an outage, equipment failure, or even sabotage!
No matter where you live, whether in Canada or elsewhere around the world, it’s best to assume that your drinking water has not been treated or filtered in any way. If you’re at all concerned about what could be lurking in your tap water, use a special pitcher or filter to treat it before drinking!
The same applies to the shower – if it’s something you drink from occasionally, then you probably don’t need to worry too much about what you’re putting on your skin. But if you’re someone who takes long, hot showers every day, it’s best to be aware of what they could be doing to your plumbing and the environment.
Okay, so we’ve established that taking a hot shower isn’t bad for you; but are there any habits you should avoid?
Let’s take a look at:
5 bad shower habits that have an effect on your home’s plumbing and the environment:
1) Using the wrong amount of shampoo/conditioner
Use the amount of shampoo or conditioner that’s recommended on the packaging. Using too much or too little interferes with the effectiveness of your product, which can cause your hair to appear dull and lifeless or make it feel more oily than usual. It can also leave soap scum in the shower and lead to buildup on the fixtures. Allow any shampoo that you use to fully rinse off before turning on the water for washing, so that extra shampoo doesn’t get into the pipes!
2) Using too much body wash/soap
The same goes for using too much soap in general; be aware of how much you’re using so that there’s not a significant amount left over after getting dressed! Otherwise, this could lead to:
- Soap scum buildup on shower walls and the tub itself.
- Mold growth due to excess moisture, which can be bad for your health!
- Your skin being dried out over time with a decrease in natural oils (your own built-in moisturizer!)
- A build up of soapy residue from products that contain sulfates (esp. sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS) which respond negatively with wet tiles and grout.
Too much soap can clog your pipes.
3) Keeping a window open during a hot shower.
If you have to take a hot shower because of an injury, illness, or allergy flare up, then it’s perfectly fine to leave the window open. But if you’re taking a hot shower simply because you like it hot, then consider closing the window – and even using a fan to keep the moisture in! Doing so reduces humidity from your home (which is great in cold weather), while helping to reduce your overall energy consumption (it takes a lot less power to heat up water than to warm up the air around it!).
4) Leaving taps on.
It may seem ridiculous that anyone would do this without meaning to, but there are stories of people who get distracted by their pets or children and forget that they left the bathtub faucet running when they go back into another room. If you can’t walk away from a sink without turning the water off, install a flow restrictor on your faucet so that it stops after a set amount of time – or even better, have an automatic shut-off feature installed if you can afford it!
This is not an ideal solution for older homes where there is no plumbing to connect the shower head to, but if you’re having trouble remembering to turn the water off in your bathroom and kitchen sinks every night before bed, then consider installing a device that will automatically do it for you.
5) Not letting the water run long enough after using it.
This habit not only wastes even more water than leaving taps (and bathtubs!) running, but also doesn’t get all of the soap out of your hair and skin. When you get out of the shower, turn off the water from the tap (or bathtub faucet), then stand there for a few seconds and let the remaining soap run down your body before turning it off completely.
With these habits in mind, hopefully you can be a little more conscious of your actions when you’re taking a shower. You may even save yourself some money on plumbing bills. If you have an alternative practice for something listed here, I’d love to hear about it – just comment below with your experiences, as well as any other interesting tips and tricks that people should know about showers & their plumbing!