Water Monitor Measures The Cost Of Your Shower Thinking Time

The shower is one of the top thinking places for many of us, but can get a bit out of hand with water wastage and utility bills if you go down a deep rabbit hole. To be more mindful of his water usage in the shower, [GreatScott!] created a power sipping water monitor that lives there.

The device is built around a cheap 1/2″ brass water flow rate sensor connected to his shower hose, which outputs pulses as a small wheel passes an internal hall effect sensor. The datasheet didn’t contain any spec for pulses/volume, so [GreatScott!] had to experimentally determine this by filling a one-liter container with water and counting the pulses. He found that the pulse count per liter was dependent on the flow rate, so he narrowed down the variables and just determined the average count at his shower’s pressure and flow rate.

The sensor is connected to a battery-powered ESP8266 housed inside a sealed 3D-printed enclosure in the shower. To reduce power usage to a minimum, a flow switch was added in series with the flow meter, which only switches on the ESP8266 when water starts flowing. A latching circuit keeps the ESP powered after the water stops, giving it enough time to transmit the data before shutting down. This type of circuit is very handy for any battery-powered project connected to an external switch or sensor.

It is programmed with ESPHome and outputs the data to a local Home Assistant server, so no data is saved on someone else’s server.


18 thoughts on “Water Monitor Measures The Cost Of Your Shower Thinking Time

      1. yeah, what’s the big deal here :) . Reloading, I handle lead all the time (it isn’t mercury). Just don’t ingest it, or pop a lead ball in your mouth to chew on …. Point is, lead problems are way, way, way, over blown.

        1. Agree. Don’t drink litres of the shower water every day. Even then the maximum lead dose is minimal from that fitting. Frequently handling lead, not washing your hands then eating sandwiches and smoking would be significant exposure. But exposure control is simple.

    1. Infrastructure with lead pipes on the mains are treated to create a coating so the lead does not leech into the water. The lack of this treatment was one of the failures of flint.
      I would assume that plumbing fittings from the local hardware would be lead free by default. doesnt make sense for them not to be if they are marketed and sold for plumbing, in the plumbing section. I could be wrong though.

      1. Depends on what plumbing it is used for. Toilet fittings? Not required to adhere to standards about being lead free. They can be a good 8% lead or so. Add a bidet to them and you get lead spraying bidets. That you spray into the opposite of your mouth. Should they be lead free*? Yes.

        *Even that isn’t required to be lead free if it has to be brass. Just lower than it historically was.

        Lead makes machining cheaper and easier. It also makes it less healthy overall. Same with vehicle motors. Makes them run better. Just has a longer term consequence. There’s a reason we worked to (mostly) phase that out, at least in cars.

        The other issue with lead is that it accumulates in your body. So it’s not really as much about avoiding it completely which isn’t really possible but trying to prevent it from accumulating over time and being reasonable about exposure.

        Why can you not just use something like stainless fittings instead of brass other than they cost a little more for something you use daily?

  1. Indoor water use is all sent to the sewage treatment plant and then back into the river. To be used by downstream communities.

    We sometimes call flushing the toilet ‘Fixing a drink for LA’. They keep trying to steal more of our water but people paid attention to the Owens Valley. 50+ years obstructed already. No dry season water rights left. Fish got the last of them.

    Water is about 1/10 penny a gallon. It’s the base monthly hookup fee that costs. Drill out the flow restrictor.

  2. The original video is nicely done.

    He is a bit upset that the gadget he used has a flow rate dependency, but that could be calibrated out as well if a person was so inclined.

    1. You have a point and it will most certainly be an improvement to calibrate it properly. But what do you think that will happen a year from now… when the thing gets dirty and clogs up with debris and lime scale.

      But does it really matter? The wife-acceptancy-factor makes this whole project disappear after the first sight. And if not, it will vanish into obscurity after the “battery” has died unexpectedly for the second time.

      A simple timer will do, with a scale calibrated not in minutes but in liters. But where’s the fun in that.

  3. With all the drought happening shower time is critical. It’s time to visit the multiple mode shower. Hydro-therapy is good. Sometimes medically prescribed. I want to have a rinse down the drain followed by a long hot massage time with a spa pump intensity sprayer-shooter running on recycled hot water added slowly to maintain temperature for as long as you need. Then stop pump and open drain. Then shampoo etc. followed by a final rinse with fresh water going down the drain. There could be some substance used during the as long as needed massage cycle to help get clean and keep the pump etc. clean. Bar soap would be barred here though.

    This gives you spa therapy without the big pool and it’s captive water that needs you to shower first before getting in otherwise it’s a bidet. No shower spray should be attached to the wall. It’s impossible to rinse off really good below your head. Women need a movable spray shower as well.

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