(or, Will Running the Washing Machine While Taking a Shower Make the Water Go Cold?)
In older residential dwellings built with older plumbing systems, simultaneous use of two plumbing fixtures utilizing hot water will often cause a sudden drop in temperature in both systems, though the drop is most noticeable (often painfully so) to an individual taking a shower.
To determine whether an inhabitant of a two-person apartment will have to suffer through an icy-cold shower if the washing machine is turned on during said shower. The ability to bathe oneself concurrent with one’s weekend laundry cycles would be a valuable time-saving asset to both roommates, so long as the showering roommate is safe from sudden bursts of debilitating cold.
In the experimenter’s apartment, water pressure in both sinks (kitchen and bathroom) and the shower has been colloquially described as “very good,” with both occupants commenting on the extreme temperature when the faucet is turned to the hottest position. Routine conversation with the building's landlord has revealed that all three of the building’s units utilize separate boilers, with no interference from the other units having previously been reported. Though a formal test has not yet been conducted, neither occupant has reported a significant decrease in shower temperature due to the other’s use of the kitchen sink.
The apartment occupies the entirety of the second floor of a three-story building. Date of construction is unknown, but predates 1952 (the date of purchase by the current owners). The apartment utilizes a standard shower system (dimensions and yardage unknown) with pipes running down to a boiler for the individual apartment (specifications unknown) located in the building’s basement.
The apartment’s kitchen holds a Maytag “Dependable Care Fabric-Matic Heavy Duty Large Capacity” washing machine (purchased used for twenty-five dollars and installed using original parts), with a manufacturing date between 1990 and 1995. The washing machine is connected to the second floor boiler via an adjustable spigot, with drainage occurring via a rubber hose.
The detergent utilized will be a standard two-ounce aggregate of Gain, with no fabric softener or other additives.
1. Load washing machine and detergent as normal, starting a standard Warm-Cold, Heavy cycle with infinite water level set to maximum.
2. Rotate hot and cold shower knobs the standard number of degrees (hot: eighty degrees counterclockwise, cold: twenty degrees counterclockwise) to heat the water to the experimenter’s typical shower temperature.
3. For safety purposes, conduct a preliminary temperature check before entering.
4. If the preliminary check reveals a suitable showering temperature, execute a standard eleven-minute shower while mentally noting temperature observations for post-shower recording.
The experimenter noticed no adverse effects, commenting proudly that it was “just like any other shower.”
Though the simultaneous usage of more than two plumbing fixtures will still need to be researched, performing regular loads of laundry with the apartment’s washing machine is not likely to cause a decrease in shower enjoyment, so long as the amount of hot water consumed is not too large. Though endurance tests of very long showers or many showers taken in a row may prove more conclusively how much strain the water boiler will endure, for now, both roommates may safety do their laundry in the morning without the need for shower backup.