If you’re like most people, you probably don’t really know where the money you spend on utilities is actually going. You just get a bill in the mail every month and hope it isn’t too high. Sure, you know that your air conditioner uses a lot of energy because your electricity bill skyrockets in the summer. But how much electricity does your refrigerator use? How much water does your dishwasher consume every time you run it? Those questions are hard to answer, but you can at least build this Arduino-based monitor to find out how much money you’re spending on water in the shower.
Determining how much electricity an appliance is using is pretty easy these days, because there are a lot of products on the market to monitor that. But it’s not nearly as easy to find out how much water you’re using. If that’s something you’re curious about, this tutorial will show you how to calculate your shower water usage with just a few inexpensive components. The primary parts that you’ll need are an Arduino Nano, a flow sensor, an LCD screen, a LiPo battery and charger, and a boost converter. You’ll also need a 3D printer if you want to make a custom enclosure for the device.
The operation of the device is simple: the flow sensor attached before the shower head sends data to the Arduino about how much water is passing through. That can then be used to calculate the total volume of water used per shower, and then how much that water costs based on your local utility rates. Wiring up the components should be pretty easy, and the most difficult part of the build is ensuring that everything is waterproof. From there, you can plug your utility rate details into the code and flash it to the Arduino. Then just mount the device in your shower and you can see how much water you’re using!