Your Place: What your shower may be trying to tell you

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Each morning about 7 oíclock, my shower and I share a relationship lasting no more than a couple minutes ó an effort to keep the water bill to a reasonable monthly payment.

Itís the shower Iíve used for the 15 years Iíve lived in this house, but do I really know anything about it?

The folks at Grohe ó which, coincidentally, made my kitchen sink faucet (installed by the previous owners) ó have made me believe I donít know my shower at all and have taken it upon themselves to correct that situation.

Did you know that the average shower lasts eight minutes in America, or that the shower is the third-largest source of water use in the average American home?

I guess I did not know that.

Although Grohe sent me this information to pitch its products, it was wrapped in very interesting facts.

For example, different showerheads emit water at different rates, and "flow rate" affects how efficient a showerhead is, or isnít.

Federal law limits the maximum allowable flow rate to 2.5 gallons a minute for showerheads, but some have even lower flow rates. The less water that comes out of the showerhead a minute, the less water that will get wasted down the drain.

If your showerhead pre-dates 1980, it could be using more than 5 gallons a minute.

Updating a shower can improve its efficiency and your shower experience, yet the potential need to open a bathroom wall may make you hesitate.

"Shower renovations donít have to require major replumbing," said Cheryl Dixon, head of brand trade and marketing for Grohe.

How much water goes down the shower drain while youíre waiting for the temperature to reach a comfortable level?

"Adding a shower with a thermostatic valve not only ensures youíll never again step into an icy shower stream or be surprised by a temperature fluctuation, it can also reduce the amount of water you use," Dixon said.

Studies show that many people are significantly expanding the size of their showers during renovations, as you might imagine. Weíd all like bigger showers, right?