Why I’m going to have shorter showers

14Jun10

I’ve had my eyes opened.Last Friday, I took a shower. It started normally enough. I adjusted the water’s temperature and, as usual, found the means to create a wicked lather. But not long after, that feeling of dread that creeps up every so often hit hard. The water wasn’t draining. Something was clogging the tubes.

Everyone knows the feeling. Usually, it takes a while to actually do anything about that stupid clog. It’s rarely enough of an impediment to require more than a moment’s attention. Besides, it drains away, just over a longer period of time.

Not this time. The water simply wasn’t draining. I shut down the production and looked at the water. It had only been a few minutes, but there was a lot of water in that tub. Fine, I thought. I’ll leave a note for the super, and when this thing drains, he can come do his thing (my super prefers that, in cases of bathtub clog, he be consulted). Fair enough.

But it wasn’t draining at all. And time was running out before the weekend. I only had 30 minutes before my ride out of town. I had lots to do, and writing a work order wasn’t near the top. My hair-brained quick-fix solution was to empty the tub manually, with a pint glass, and fill out the work order on the other side of the weekend.

That strategy turned out to be more instructive than I thought. Also stupider.

I went about emptying the tub — with a pint glass, as mentioned. A few trips to the sink later, I knew I was in over my head. That tub wasn’t looking any emptier. A few more trips and I was at the mercy of my aching shoulder. How much water was in there?

I looked at the clock: it read 4:45. I only had 15 minutes before the ride out of town and I hadn’t even packed. After a quick priority change, I left the bathroom and packed my bag. I was confident that the remaining water might still drain over the next hours.

Two days later, I returned to my apartment. After a couple of minutes, I bit the bullet and drew back the bathtub curtain (talk about self-imposed drama).

Oops. Much of the water remained. It was a couple of days old, which is never nice. This was only a couple of days from West Nile stagnant, and I’m lucky no mosquitoes found out about this hidden treasure.

Today’s quick fix was to empty the tub of water, so that the super’s job would be less water-logged. I just finished that job and am about to fill out the work order.

But here’s the point of all this: I couldn’t even count the number of pint glasses I filled with water. And that was the result of only a short, clog-interrupted shower. We use so much water it almost hurts.

When I brush my teeth, I don’t keep the water running. I try to minimize the water I use to wash dishes, too. And I don’t drink bottled water, and I drink tap water for practical reasons, and I swear to you that I weep every time I flush the toilet.

But only after cleaning out a disgusting body of bath water, the Great Lake of my apartment building, did I realize how much freaking water goes into the daily shower.

I now resolve to be clean much more efficiently.

Now, to fill out that work order.

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4 Responses to “Why I’m going to have shorter showers”

  1. 1 Sarah

    Nick,

    That was an epic, amazing story and a great lesson to be learned in water use reduction. I cannot believe you tried to use a pint glass to attempt to unclog!

  2. 2 Maureen

    Installing a water-efficient showerhead can actually save 80 litres of water per shower! A normal showerhead will use 15 litres per minute, so if you can’t install a better shower head, cutting your shower time from 10 to 5 minutes will save 75 L. And who really needs a 10-minute shower? This is bordering fanatical, but I also put a bucket in the shower while the water is warming up and use the litre-or-so to water my garden. Living under water restrictions makes you realize that every drop counts!

  3. 3 Shawn

    Replacing the showerhead with a water efficient one in my apartment was one of the first things I did when I moved in.

    Not to discourage, but it’s depressing to know that whatever efforts you make, are negated by the next guy who takes a much longer shower, for instance (and not counting other non-environmentally friendly actions).

  4. gr8 resrch bro…


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