Bath versus shower - which is better?

2016-03-10 06:00
Photo: supplied Showers and bathtubs have advantages and disadvantages.

Photo: supplied Showers and bathtubs have advantages and disadvantages.

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HAVING a bath versus taking a shower - which is better? This is an age-old debate that not only depends on personal preferences, there are also facts and figures that can be compared to see which one comes out tops.

Blanche Burger from Bathroom Bizarre­ shares the pros and cons for each option…

The water efficient option

The answer to this question largely depends on three variables, namely how long you shower for, how big your bath is, and the flow rate of your existing showerhead?

Blanche says when it comes to water efficiency, the shower wins hands down every time. She says the average time a person spends in the shower is around eight minutes, and the standard flow of water through modern showerheads is around 9.5 litres per minute. As such, she says it can be deduced that the average person uses around 76 litres of water every time they shower.

Having said this, however, Blanche says there are low flow showerheads that will seriously reduce this figure. “The In-wall three-jet showerhead from Bathroom Bizarre, for example, boasts a flow rate of as little as 4.8 litres per minute (at a water pressure of 1Kpa), which would mean that for an average eight-minute shower, you would only use a mere 38.4 litres.”

Blanche says there are also showerheads that use a lot of water. She says rain showerheads require a lot of water to create a rain-type showering environment, often using more than you would taking a bath.

The average bath on the other hand, holds in the region of 190 litres of water. If you were to enjoy soaking in a full bath, you would probably only fill it up to around 160 or 170 litres to prevent it from spilling over the sides.

Blanche says even if you choose to only fill half of your bath, you will still use 95 litres of water – so either way, baths use considerably more water than a shower would.

The hygienic option

Lots of people are of the opinion that taking a shower is a more hygienic option when compared to having a bath, as it allows you to wash all the dirt and grime off your body, instead of sitting in it in the bath water.

Blanche says this does not really make much of a difference, as long as you are washing regularly, taking a shower is as hygienic as having a bath.

Easiest to clean

As a general rule of thumb, Blanche says washing a bath is easier than washing a shower. She says this is largely due to the fact that there is much more space to manoeuvre and just the tub and the faucet need to be wiped clean.

With regards to the shower, she says you need to do the cleaning in a confined space, and there are a number of different things that need to be cleaned, including the shower doors or curtain, the showerhead, faucets and drain, the tiles, tile grout and the shower floor.

Costs involved

The cost of bathing and showering is generally defined by water usage, in other words, the cost of the water itself, and the cost of heating the water.

A shower uses less water, and as a result, less hot water. Blanche says showering tends to cost less than bathing. She says if you say that you choose to shower instead of bathing (in a half-filled bath), then over a year, you would save in the region of 6 935 litres of water, plus the costs of heating that water.

Quickest bathing option

“As a general rule, it is estimated that the average shower lasts around eight minutes. However, if you are in a particular rush, then you should be able to shower in five minutes, as long as you are not washing your long hair.”

To fill up half a bath on the other hand, you need around 95 litres. Let’s say the average bath faucet runs at around 20 litres per minute, so the bath will be half full after around four to five minutes. So, as you can see, it is much quicker to shower, as you don’t have to wait for the bath to fill up.

The safer option

There is no definite answer to this question, but Blanche says it is largely dependent on the age of the user. She says baths in general are a much better bet for younger users as there is less risk of slipping.

A bath is also easier to use if you’re bathing little ones - they can sit and play in the water, and the bath water is less intimidating than water sprays inherent in a shower.

On the other hand, however, Blanche says baths present a much bigger risk of little ones drowning. She says they are not a safe option for the elderly as getting in and out of the bathtub can prove to be difficult for those who are motion impaired, and the risk of slipping is great. As such, showers tend to be a safer bet for the elderly, purely because they are easy to get in and out of.

The more luxurious option

This is really a matter of preference, says Blanche. Taking a long, hot soak in the bath is a great way to unwind and wash away the stresses of everyday life. However, showering has also made serious inroads when it comes to upping the scales of luxury.

Blanche says today you can buy showerheads that can be adjusted for various massaging effects. For instance, homeowners can get shower jets that are built into the wall for an all-over-body massage, rain showerheads for a relaxing natural shower effect, steam showers, showerheads with LED lights for added chromotherapy, and the list goes on. It all really comes down to what you prefer, she says.

So, to surmise, the shower is more water efficient, costs less to use, is quicker and a safer option for the elderly.

The bath, however, is easier to clean and a better bet for younger users.

The shower and the bath draw when it comes to issues pertaining to hygiene and luxury. Ideally, it is best to have both in a home, but if you’re in a position where you have to choose between a shower and a bath, and you are looking for a more eco-friendly, water-wise and cost efficient choice – it turns out that the shower would be the optimum choice. - Supplied.

A shower uses less water, and as a result, less hot water. Showering tends to cost less than bathing. If you choose to shower instead of bathing (in a half-filled bath), then over a year, you would save in the region of 6 935 litres of water, plus the costs of heating that water

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