Should You Shower While the Washing Machine Is On? (A Practical Answer..)

If you are in a rush to go places but you still want to do some limited laundry before leaving, you may think of taking a shower while the washing machine soaks your fabrics.

If you get your settings right, balance the load, and ensure everything else is ok, you’d be free to do anything while the machine is running, including preparing a mug of coffee or even fixing anything amiss at home.

However, the fact that both your shower and washer demands a great deal of water alone can make you contemplate whether it would be a good idea to run both fixtures at the same time.

So, Should You Shower While The Washing Machine Is On?

Yes – if your water pressure is right, plus a few other factors, you are good to run both the shower and the washer simultaneously. In fact, homeowners are highly encouraged to run any two water hungry devices at the same time because it saves more water than when you run them separately.

Plumbing, Water Pressure & Hot Water Supply – The Trinity That Must Be Right

Whether you can use your shower and washer simultaneously or not depends on two water factors:

  1. Your home’s water pressure (can be anything between 40 and 60 PSI, but most prefer 50 PSI)
  2. Whether the washer takes away much of the hot water while you are showering

What normally happens is the temperature of your shower water may fluctuate as a result of the different cycles occurring during the washer cuts in and out.

If your home has legit plumbing in place, then you should use the two systems without any major problem.

Here is how water pressure and plumbing works:

  • There needs to be a feeder pipe with a large diameter leaving the water mains and feeding your cold water trunk and hot water tank.
  • The hot water trunk and cold water trunk leaving your hot water tank need to run the length of the home
  • Every device – every washer, dishwasher, shower, bathtub, toilet, and sink should have a small diameter (compared to feeder pipe) pipe branching from the large diameter trunk lines.
  • All toilets should feature a small feeder line to allow the tank to fill slowly after every flush, and also ensure that the cold water draw alone can’t cause a spike in hot water in the shower.

This way, each device’s pressure remains constant whether several of the devices or just one is being used.

The overall water volume in all trunk lines is sufficient to supply all the cold and hot water your devices need (including those that are often used simultaneously) without any noticeable pressure drop.

And if there’s a noticeable pressure drop, it needs to be uniform across the cold and hot trunk lines, therefore, the net effect will be no variation in temperature.

That’s how some homes are plumbed and their owners don’t have to worry about who else in the home is using the hot or cold water with what device.

If your home is plumbed this way, you will almost certainly never feel a pressure drop or temperature change when trying to run a washer and take a shower at the same time.

The problem, however, is that many homes in America use pipes of the same size throughout, something that causes the water pressure to vary considerably across different devices. If that’s your home, we’d suggest getting a qualified plumber (or someone good with water pipes) to help you switch to big trunk lines.

Four Additional Factors Worth Considering In Showering While Doing Laundry Debate

1. Temperature

Of course, the temperature of the water is just as integral as the pressure especially if you plan to use it on several fronts (dishwasher, washing machine, bathroom, etc.).

So, you also need to consider the temperature of your water when running the washer and the shower at the same time.

If you are running warm water for your washer or dishwasher dishes and your shower simultaneously, there’s a risk of depleting the ready hot water supply from the heater.

If you attempt it and the shower turns cold or lukewarm at the end or somewhere in the middle, you know you have gone run out of available hot water.

As such, it would be great if you prioritize your shower over the washer or vice versa or, better yet, boost your hot water capacity.

2. Water heater capacity

Determine how big your hot water tank is (the capacity of your water heater, basically).

If you recently ran the dishwasher and/or did the laundry and you have several showers going on simultaneously… you are probably going to run out of hot water.

If you find yourself frequently running down your hot water reservoir and you can’t adjust your schedule, it would be prudent you install a tankless heater for the bathroom.

3. Your washer’s efficiency

How efficient is your washer?

The volume of warm water your washer uses per cycle can determine whether it would be a good idea to run it while you are taking a shower.

If the hot water intake per cycle is too high, consider upgrading to a model with high efficiency to reduce water usage.

This will also permit you to run several fixtures simultaneously without exhausting your hot water water.

4. The duration of your shower

How long does your typical shower last?

If you love swimming in there for 20 minutes or more, it’s about time you cut back.

Also, if your shower duration is written in stone and you can’t make any adjustments, consider forgoing running the washer simultaneously and opt for doing your laundry after or before your shower.

Use A Shower Equipped With A Regulator

Most modern showers you will find in the store comes with a regulator that serves to control the balance between cold and hot water.

This means that if the pressure reduces in the hot water supply line the regulator automatically drops the pressure in the cold water line so that the two can match.

It’s still okay if your shower doesn’t feature this technology.

However, instead of being nervous about the washing machine stealing a big part of your hot water, which might give you a significant blast of a cold stream, you should be more concerned with it drawing the cold water, which might give you a great blast of super-hot water and perhaps a mild burn (in case your skin is diseased or overly sensitive).

Summary

So, should you shower while the washing machine is on? Absolutely – if your water pressure is right, plus a few other factors, you are good to run both the shower and the washer simultaneously.

Whether you can use your shower and washer simultaneously or not depends on two water factors:

  • your home’s water pressure (can be anything between 40 and 60 PSI, but most prefer 50 PSI)
  •  and whether the washer takes away much of the hot water while you are showering.

There needs to be a feeder pipe with a large diameter leaving the water mains and feeding your cold water trunk and hot water tank.

Still, there are more important factors to consider

  • The temperature of the water is just as integral as the pressure especially if you plan to use it on several fronts
  • If you are running warm water for your washer or dishwasher dishes and your shower simultaneously, there’s a risk of depleting the ready hot water supply from the heater.
  • Determine how big your hot water tank is (the capacity of your water heater, basically)
  • If you find yourself frequently running down your hot water reservoir and you can’t adjust your schedule, it would be prudent you install a tankless heater for the bathroom
  • Another factor is the water-efficiency of your washer and even the shower itself
  • If the hot water intake per cycle is too high, consider upgrading to a model with high efficiency to reduce water usage.
  • This will also permit you to run several fixtures simultaneously without exhausting your hot water water.
  • The duration of your shower also matters
  • If you like to shower for 20 minutes or more, it’s about time you cut back
  • If you don’t see yourself adjusting your shower duration, consider forgoing running the washer simultaneously and opt for doing your laundry after or before your shower.

Most modern showers you will find in the store comes with a regulator that serves to control the balance between cold and hot water.

This means that if the pressure reduces in the hot water supply line the regulator automatically drops the pressure in the cold water line so that the two can match.

It’s still okay if your shower doesn’t feature this technology.

However, instead of being nervous about the washing machine stealing a big part of your hot water, which might give you a significant blast of a cold stream, you should be more concerned with it drawing the cold water, which might give you a great blast of super-hot water and perhaps a mild burn.

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