I’m sure it says something about me that most of my ideas have to do with improving life in the bathroom, but that’s a column for another day. Today, we will try to navigate the uncertain limitations of the household hot water tank. The problem? Running out of hot water. The fact is, in a contemporary household populated by two adults and three teenagers, the politics of bathroom usage can get pretty ugly.
One of the most commonly asked questions in our house is “what the (heck) are they doing in there for so long?” That query is usually followed by the through-the-bathroom-door declaration, “You better not use all the hot water!”
As much as I want to blame the hot water hog for draining the pipes of that precious fluid, I have a hard time getting too worked up because they’re swimming blind, so to speak. They have no idea how much hot water is left in the tank. They don’t know that someone did four loads of wash an hour ago, followed by successive showers by two youths trying to wash off last night’s party. They don’t know if there’s three minutes or 30 left before the heated fount turns to ice.
The solution? A hot water monitor in the shower. A simple gauge that would reflect exactly how much time is left before the hot water runs out. The monitor would act like your car’s fuel gauge, gently reminding you that you better fill ‘er up soon, or it’ll be a long walk home. You still wouldn’t want to be the last one in the shower, but at least you wouldn’t find yourself fully lathered with shampoo and blindly hoping that you have time to rinse before the arctic tide comes in!