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How Much Does It Cost To Run A Bath? Plumber Explain

A lot of people love to take a bath, but do you realize how much does it actually cost to run a bath? We sometimes think that taking a bath or a shower won’t make a big difference on our watter bill at the end of the month. Well, you will be surprised when I tell you how much it affects it. Did you know that the cost to run a bath is much higher compared to taking a shower? If we multiply this over a month or a year, the number is going to be remarkable.

How Much Does It Cost To Run A Bath?

So How Much Does It Cost To Run A Bath? To run a bath that has an average capacity of about 60 gallons (227 liters) of water, will cost us $0.15 cents per bath. For having a bath, we don’t pay just for the water, but also for the electricity to heat the water. Having two baths per week, during the year, it will cost us about $14.4.

A typical bathtub has a capacity of 60 gallons (227 liters). However, some areas inside the bathtub will be displaced because of the body that will be placed inside. For a person that is about 165 lbs (75 kg), it will displace about 20 gallons (75 liters) of water inside the bathtub. Therefore, to have a hot bath with 40 gallons (151 liters) of water, it will cost you between 10 to 15 cents.

In the table below you can see how much it will cost you to run a bath for different bath sizes.

Bathtub SizeWater CostEnergy CostTotal Cost
40 Gallons (151 liters)$0.06$0.04$0.10
60 Gallons (227 liters)$0.09$0.06$0.15
70 Gallons (265 liters)$0.10$0.07$0.17
80 Gallons (302 liters)$0.12$0.09$0.21

Although having a bath is not something that is necessary, and we do this mostly to relax, it is good to know how much it can cost us every time we decide to do it. If you are interested to know how long does it take to fill a bathtub, read the article that I wrote How Long Does it Take to Fill an Average Bathtub?

How Much Does It Cost To Take A Shower?

It is estimated that for an average shower that lasts 8 to 10 minutes you will consume about 20 gallons (70 liters) of water that will cost you between 4 to 6 cents. But, if you take a longer shower, that number will increase.

For people who shower for 3 minutes, the water consumption will be about 5 gallons (19 liters) and it will cost about 2 cents per shower. By this, you can save more than 30 gallons (113 liters) of water each time you shower, compared to run a bath.

If you shower twice a day, it will cost you 4 cents a day, or $14.6 per year. Therefore, if you switch from taking a bath to having a shower, you could save about $140 a year.

What Affects The Price To Run A Bath?

To calculate the real cost of how much it will cost us to run a bath, we must take all possible parameters in our calculation. With the help of a plumber, I made a list of all the factors that are important to get an accurate price.

1. Heating System (Boiler)

If you want to use hot water to run a bath, your boiler needs to heat the water at a temperature of 112 degrees F (44 Celsius). Most people use a gas boiler to heat the water in their bathroom. The average gas boiler has about 85% energy efficiency.

If we take the cost of gas per unit, it will cost us around 4.4 cents + 5% VAT to heat the water for our bath. For people that have an older boiler with less energy efficiency, the cost will be higher.

2. Size of Bath

The average bathtub has a volume of approximately 40 to 60 gallons (151 to 227 liters). The average price of water in the US is between $1.50 to $2 per 1,000 gallons. If we use 60 gallons per bath, it will cost us 9 cents to fill it up. However, that number varies a lot, and often we don’t fill them always near the level that they have.

3. Wasted Water

This is a little harder to estimate. Every time you let hot water flow from the tap, it takes some time for the boiler to heat the water and let it through the tap. During that time it wastes about 0.5 to 0.7 gallons (2 to 3 liters) of cold water until you get the hot water. So if you only want hot water in your bathtub, you will have to leak about 2 to 3 liters until the hot water starts to go out of the tap.

Taking A Bath Or Shower: Money Saving Tips

  • If you are having a bath, try to use only the amount of water that you actually need. There is no need to fill the bath to the top.
  • By taking a shorter shower you can reduce water consumption and thus save on your water bill. If you reduce your shower from 8 minutes to 6 minutes, you’ll reduce water consumption by 25%.
  • Get a water efficient shower-head. By using this new shower-head you will save on your water and energy bill. Shower-head costs about $20 and can save you up to $30 per year.

Related Article: How to Improve Radiator Performance? 5 Effective Ways

The Real Cost To Run a Bath or Shower

When we are having a bath or a shower, we don’t pay just for the water we use, but also for heating that water. Taking these parameters into consideration, we’ll get that the water is more expensive than the energy needed to heat the water. If you are heating the water by gas with a good efficient system, it will cost you about 40% for the heating.

A test was conducted at Cambridge, where the total cost for an average bath was around 17 cents while for the average shower was between 4 to 6 cents, which also depends on the amount of time that you spend in the shower. In the diagram below you can see the real costs.

If we look, we see that 6 cents per shower is not so much, but if we do this every day over the year, it will cost us $22/year. On the other hand, taking two baths a week can cost us $15/year.

ActivityWaterEnergy CostWater CostNumber per YearAnnual Cost
Bath60 Galllons$0.06$0.09365$55
Shower (7 min)20 Galllons$0.02$0.03365$18
Shower (4 min)12 Gallons$0.01$0.02365$11
Basin wash4 Gallonsn/a$0.01365$3.6

Save Even More By Reducing Your Energy Tariffs

The best way how you can save a lot of money is by using a water-efficient head which will consume less water compared to having a bath. But there also other methods you can use.

The second method is to find a better and cheaper energy tariff in your city, that can save you up to $150 on your annual energy bill. By knowing these numbers, and understanding how much water you can save, you can easily determine how much you can save on your energy bill.

Does Taking a Bath Use a Lot Of Electricity?

To run a hot bath which on average takes about 60 Gallons (227 liters) of water, you’re boiler will use about 1.4 kW of power. If the average price per kWh in the U.S is 13 cents, it will cost you $0.15 to heat up 60 gallons of water.

Do Baths Save Water?

Generally, taking a bath uses at least twice more water as taking a shower. If you take a bath you will use between 40 to 60 gallons of water, while for taking a ten-minute shower you will use about 20 gallons of water. Therefore, it is more economical for you to take a shower instead to have a bath.

How Often Should You Take A Bath?

Experts suggest that you need to take a bath at least once per month while taking a longer shower should be several times per week. By taking a hot bath you can remove all the dirt from yourself much better compared to taking a shower. When it comes to short showers (that last 3 to 4 minutes), it is recommended that you take them each day at least once.

For those who would like to learn more, you can read my new article How a Bathtub Works (Plumbing & Drain System).

Related Article: What Is A Safe Bath Water Temperature? Dermatologist Explain

Should We Be Taking A Shower So Often?

It is quite normal to take a shower at least once a day so that you get rid of all the sweat and unpleasant odor from yourself. But of course, it all depends, whether you do sports, what kind of job you have, the health of your skin, etc.

These are some of the indicators that may require multiple showers a day. But overall, if we look from a general and from a health perspective, taking a shower only twice a week is not hygienically healthy.

Final Thoughts

Taking a bath or a shower is something that we must do every day, so it is good to be aware of how much it can cost us. Although we could see that to run a bath we will consume almost 3 times more water compared to when we need to take a shower.

This is a very good reason, that if you are the type of person who is trying to save as much money as possible, to consider to take a shower instead. When you are going to run a bath, you need to know that you also consume energy (gas or electrical) that needs to heat the water, which must also be included in the price in addition to the water consumption.

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