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American Standard Bathroom Habits Survey Shows We’re Multitasking, Even In the Bath

Busy Consumers Aren’t Just Taking Care of Business; They’re Checking E-Mail,
Using Cell Phones and Listening to iPods While Still Striving to Conserve Water

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (August 20, 2008) — There was a time when a stack of magazines located near the commode was enough to occupy a person who intended to spend some time in the bathroom. But according to American Standard’s 2008 Bathroom Habits Survey, today’s busy consumers have extended multitasking into their bathrooms, making optimum use of every possible moment — whether it’s checking their e-mail, talking on their cell phones or listening to their iPods, while still striving to conserve water.

American Standard polled consumers across the country to determine how they are using their time in the bathroom in order to determine what kinds of products and amenities they might need now and in the future.

“Americans have a lot on their minds these days, from saving time and money to escaping from the pressures of everyday life. They are not only multitasking in the bath, but they also want multitasking fixtures that offer beauty, comfort, reliability, and that meet their growing concerns for water conservation,” says Jeannette Long, director of marketing communications for American Standard.

Behind-the-door behaviors
The survey shows that people are doing a lot of things inside their bathrooms besides the obvious. A full 88 percent use at least one electronic device in the bathroom. More than a third read their mail — both snail mail and e-mail, 43 percent get dressed; 20 percent sing; 19 percent listen to music via radio or iPod; 15 percent talk on the phone, and three percent watch TV.

Escape time: a precious commodity
According to the survey, the average amount of time people spend in the bath every day is about 30 minutes, but one in four spends more than an hour. Women are significantly more likely to be spending well over an hour in the bathroom (37 percent for women versus 15 percent for men). Women also are more likely to take significantly longer than men in the shower, with more than half taking 10 or more minutes. Having children only increases their desire to escape to the shower, with 58 percent of people with children taking longer showers than those who don’t.

“The percentage of consumers who have reduced the amount of time they spend in the shower over the past four years is minimal based on data we collected from the 2004 Bathroom Habits Survey. With conservation being even more top of mind with consumers today, it’s surprising that they still spend approximately the same amount of time in the shower,” says Long.

Despite consumers’ delight in showering, water conservation is a huge concern. Consumers can still enjoy an invigorating and satisfying shower while reducing water usage 40 percent from code with American Standard FloWise® showerheads. The FloWise showerheads use only 1.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm) and can save consumers more than 8,000 gallons of water per year. A small turbine-like mechanism spins the water stream through the head force from a trio of showerheads to create a powerful, energizing spray that feels much the same as standard 2.5 gpm showerheads.

Yet water is precious, too
Ninety-one percent of consumers say they are trying to conserve water, and the most common way they are doing this is by not running the water while they are brushing their teeth (71 percent). Almost half are limiting the time spent in the shower and nearly a third are flushing the toilet less frequently or taking fewer baths and showers.

Most consumers were surprised to learn they could be saving as much as 4,000 gallons of water per year if they used a water-conserving toilet, with 94 percent saying they would be prepared to use such a water-conserving toilet.

Some of the newest toilets on the market allow consumers to save water and even customize how much they use. For example, the American Standard Dual-Flush FloWise® two-piece High-Efficiency toilet allows users to decide whether to use 1.6 gallons per flush (gpf) or 0.8 gpf, potentially saving 30 percent more water than 1.6 gpf toilets. Independent testing has confirmed that the Dual-Flush FloWise performs in the best category for bulk waste removal.

A variety of other high efficiency toilets also save water while helping to achieve green building ratings in remodeling and new construction. The American Standard Compact Cadet® 3 FloWise one-piece toilet, for instance, uses 20 percent less water than a standard 1.6 gpf flush model while offering superior flush performance.

To help consumers learn more about water conservation and how many dollars they can save by converting to various water-efficient fixtures and faucets, American Standard offers a new Water Savings Calculator and Rebate Locator, found at The Rebate Locator lists current water conservation rebates available throughout the United States, and will be updated regularly as new local and regional incentives become available. “It is the most comprehensive tally of water-saving incentives available in the industry,” says Long.

Just say “no” to plunging and repairs
One thing consumers don’t want to do in the bathroom is plunge their toilets or repair their fixtures. About a third of consumers would not try and fix their toilet beyond trying to plunge it and have had a plumber visit their home in the last year. Seventeen percent even know their plumbers on a first name basis.

Multitasking varies by region: American Standard’s 2008 Bathroom Habits Survey looked closely at the bathroom habits of people living in Atlanta, Boston, Miami, Minneapolis and Seattle. In Atlanta, people are more likely to be listening to the radio; in Boston they are reading magazines and their mail; in Miami they are more likely to be talking on their phones than any other part of the country (22 percent in Miami claim to do this compared to a national average of 16 percent).

Knock, knock. When are you coming out of there? People in Atlanta top the nation in taking their sweet time in the bath, with 62 percent staying 30 minutes or more, and 28 percent spending more than an hour. Seattle comes in second, with 60 percent taking more than 30 minutes. Go-go Miami is even faster, with 53 percent spending fewer than 30 minutes and 22 percent most likely using the phone, while efficient Minneapolis has 49 percent who claim to use the bathroom less than a half hour each day.

To crumple or not to crumple: that is the toilet paper question. Almost 50 percent more people fold their toilet paper rather than crumple it. Minnesotans crumple toilet paper more than any other part of the country; Miami is more likely to fold. And speaking of toilet paper, let’s settle it once and for all: three-quarters of consumers nationwide are adamant that the toilet paper must come out over the top of the holder, versus below it.

Toilet troubles, trials and tribulations: Top toilet frustrations for consumers include fixtures that don’t flush all the way (19 percent), appearance (18 percent), running water or needing to jiggle the handle (18 percent); and not conserving water (17 percent). Not surprisingly, almost half (46 percent) said the most important feature when purchasing a toilet was reliability.

The Cleanliness Quotient: Americans like to feel clean. Nearly half (47 percent) clean their bathroom weekly, and 88 percent change the cloth hand towels at least once a week or more, especially if they have children. Boston is the cleanest city in the nation, with 78 percent claiming to shower every day.

Concerns for water conservation: When shopping for toilets, Miami and Atlanta consider water conservation significantly higher in importance than in other parts of the country.

For more information on the 2008 Bathroom Habits Survey and American Standard products, visit or call (800) 899-2614.

These results are based upon online surveys conducted by Opinion Research Corporation among a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,001 homeowners 18 and older living in the continental United States. The survey was conducted May 1-12 2008. Completed interviews were weighted by three variables: age, sex and race, to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total population of the DMA.

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