Few people stand beneath the shower head before they turn on the shower, unless they fancy being subjected to an icy blast of cold water first. Most of us wait at least ten seconds before we jump in, just to make sure the spray has reached the desired temperature.
But how long do we really need to wait? And how easy is it to become distracted with other things and leave the water pouring away down the plughole for much longer than is really necessary?
Quite easy, according to a recent study by Evolve Technologies, which sheds light on the so-called behavioural waste that occurs when we wait too long to step into the shower and looks at just how much water we may be frittering away.
Using data from two separate surveys, it reveals that only around one in ten people get into the shower straight away regardless of the temperature. Just under half of respondents said they keep their hand in the water stream and get in as soon as it's warm enough.
However, the remainder carry out other tasks while the water is running, from brushing their teeth and going to the toilet to picking out their clothes for the day and getting out a towel. This is where the concept of behavioural waste comes into play.
The study concludes that, on average, there is a period of around 47 seconds during which the water spraying from the shower head is at the ideal temperature, yet the user is not standing beneath it because they are busy with some other task.
How much water is wasted during this time will depend on the flow rate of your shower head. A head with a rate of 1.5 gallons per minute will produce 1.2 gallons of waste in 47 seconds, while a head with a rate or 2.5 gallons per minute will produce two gallons.
One of the easy ways to reduce this wastage is to avoid multi-tasking and keep a close eye on your shower, jumping in as soon as it's up to temperature.
However, there are other things you can do that will impact on how much water you use, not just during the first minute or so, but throughout the whole of your time in the shower.
For example, an aerated shower head pumps out air alongside water and uses less H20 while still enabling a power shower experience. Flow reducers can also be fitted to the end of your shower hose to reduce the overall flow of the water.
And of course, there's the good old fashioned timer, which you can set to go off after a specific period of time, reminding yourself of the need to spend less time in the shower.