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New study gives insight into American bathing habits, cites hot water preferences

A recent study commissioned by tankless water manufacturer Noritz America revealed the importance of hot, continuous water among homeowners. 

Noritz Hot Water Report: Time to get clean

A recent study commissioned by tankless water manufacturer Noritz America and conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs* revealed the importance of hot, continuous water among homeowners and how American bathing habits range from efficient to excessive. The 2012 Noritz Continuous Hot Water Report includes telling infographics about age and gender differences and positive data about homeowner willingness to save energy and reduce strain on utilities.

Key findings

A complete set of infographics, explaining the study results in detail and presented in SlideShare format is available here.

“A hot shower is a welcome reprieve in busy lifestyles,” said Noritz marketing manager Jason Fleming. “Americans want uninterrupted hot water - delivered forcefully - to jump-start their mornings or wash the day’s stress away. This study furthers our understanding about the consumer’s hot water usage and needs.”

Hot highlights

  • The older you get, the less time you spend getting clean, with a larger fraction (49%) of those 55 and older bathing in less than eight minutes, compared with those aged 35-54 (35%) or 18-34 (28%).

  • The average shower time is eight minutes, but some women shower or bathe longer than 16 minutes, almost twice the ratio of men (19% vs. 11%).
  • Reinforcing the gender gap, the research found that men are twice as likely to get the job done in less than five minutes.

  • The days of the rubber ducky are nearing an end, too, with an overwhelming number of people choosing a hot shower instead of a bath (87% vs. 13%). Those who do opt for a bath are twice as likely to be female (17% vs. 9%), which may help explain their longer bathing times.

  • Noritz Hot Water Report: Frustrating shower experiences

    Nothing leaves us cold like the lack of water pressure or heat

    Time spent bathing, however, is not always blissful, according to the Noritz report. Two in three homeowners (68%) cite a lack of both water pressure and hot water as the two most common frustrations behind the bathroom door.

    Fleming is the first to admit that hot-water delivery - the time you wait for hot water at the tap or shower - is a function of water heater distance to the outlet, not the type of heating technology.

    “Increased demand, such as frequent showers or simultaneous use of hot water appliances, can tax conventional tank water heaters that have a finite storage capacity to meet demand,” he explained.  

    According to Fleming, further challenges for tank-type water heaters occur during winter months in colder climates when heaters are pushed harder. Added stress can cause older water heaters to fail - sometimes resulting in flooded basements, attics or garages with 40-75 gallons of rusty water. This is why tank-type water heaters more than eight years old are prime candidates for replacement during the fall and early winter.

    Noritz Hot Water Report: Water heater replacement

    Americans choose efficiency

    Beyond broken units, 58% of homeowners surveyed said that lowering utility bills and saving energy would be a primary reason to replace their water heaters.

    Fleming says consumers can cut operating costs up to 40% by shifting from conventional tank-type water heaters to a tankless unit. Instead of wasting energy and money by continuously heating stored water, tankless technology heats water strictly on demand, so homeowners pay to heat only the water they need.  

    In addition to saving energy, the next most popular rationale (28% of respondents) for replacing a water heater was if the new unit had a longer life expectancy.

    * These results are based upon online surveys conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,449 homeowners 18 and older living in the continental United States. The survey was conducted July 5-9, 2012. Completed interviews were weighted by demographic variables such as age, gender and region to ensure that the distribution of samples mirrors that of the U.S. population of homeowners based on Census data.

    Source: Noritz


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