May 28, 2009 by Lisa Montgomery
The other day it dawned on me. My kids aren’t so little anymore. Sooner than I’d like, they’ll be teenagers. Although they’re just 11 and 9 now, they’re already showing signs of adolescence, like sleeping until noon, eating me out of house and home and taking marathon showers. They used to skip in and out of the stall, barely taking the time to wet their hair. Now a good 20 minutes passes before they emerge. I’m happy that they’re finally getting this hygiene thing, but they’re spending way to long under the nozzle. I decided to investigate technologies that would put an end to their wasteful ways.
One of the best little devices I found was the Shower Manager ($139). It’s basically a battery-powered timer that attaches to your existing showerhead. Dials on the unit let you set the showering time for 5, 8 or 11 minutes. When the time is up, the device reduces the water flow to half power—just enough to rinse shampoo out of your hair but not enough to encourage continued showering. The manufacturer claims that by cutting average shower times from 20 minutes to 5 minutes a family of four can save more than $1,000 in water and energy usage annually. Although I’d like to save $1,000, I’ll probably set the timer for 11 minutes just to be sure my tweens get all the grass, mud and grime off their soccer- and baseball-playing bodies.
After a few days of handling all that dirt, my shower, frankly, could use a good shower. Not just the weekly scrubbing I give it, but an everyday cleaning that’ll prevent it from getting so gunked up. Seems there’s a device for that, too. The Shower-Shower (starts at $1,600) from Intelligent Consumer Products uses a battery-powered robotic arm to spray your favorite cleaners over the surfaces of your shower and rinse them off. A controller built into the arm lets you set the cleaning power for light, medium or heavy. A sensor prevents the unit from turning on if the shower is occupied of the door is open.
Temperature Sensitive LED
I’m not sure I’m ready to shell out $1,600 for a robotic arm to clean my shower, but $45 for something that’ll let me eyeball the temperature of the water before stepping inside? Maybe. This find is not only helpful (particularly to parents of small children), but it’s fun. The Temperature Sensitive LED Shower Light showerhead makes the water glow bright blue if the water is cool or bright red if the water is hot. It’s one of those gadgets you can’t help but toy around with … and waste water. Hopefully the Shower Manager can be attached to it.
Click here to view 3 Gadgets for the Shower.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.
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