Answer: Low flow Shower Heads have improved dramatically and you will save more money on your water, sewer and gas bill even if you already have a low flow showerhead.
Here’s why. Just as in any market when there is a demand for a product, innovations occur. Significant changes have been made in the last few years. First I will tell you about the innovations and then I’ll explain the benefits to you.
Change #1 – Lower-Flow Showerheads
This Change is simple math. For instance, let’s compare the 1.59 gpm Evolve Roadrunner Showerhead to a 2.5 gpm shower head. For every minute the shower is running 0.91 gallons fewer gallons of water being used.
Assume 3 people per day taking a one 10 minute shower for a year (3 showers per day * 10 minutes per shower * 0.91 gallons per minute * 365 days per year) you would use almost 10,000 gallons of heated water less per year.
At approximately $0.03 per gallon (cost of water, sewer and gas) that’s around $300 per year! That’s great, you say, but what if you don’t like the way the shower feels. Let’s look at Change #2.
Change #2 – Better Feeling Showerheads
The first low-flow fixtures were throttled down versions of the water wasters. The first low-flow showerheads had smaller holes which meant the water came out a lot faster – even to the point it hurt to take a shower.
The next step was to aerate the water – or in other words air was injected into the water stream to make the water drops feel bigger. Showers felt better but a side effect was that the air cooled the water which means more hot water needed to be mixed with the cold to achieve a comfortable temperature.
Lower flow better feeling showers saved water but used more energy. More work was needed – let’s look at Change #3.
Change #3: Full Face Spray Patterns
Early low-flow models reduced the number of spray nozzles which limited the amount of water that could pass through. And the water that did get through was moving much faster and was painful on the skin.
More recent versions have reduced the opening where the water enters the showerhead and added more spray nozzles so the same amount of water passed through more holes reducing the velocity below the pain threshold of most people.
The latest models now have a full face spray pattern that evenly disperses the water to make a comfortable feeling shower experience which eliminated the need to aerate. Now there was a lower flow, non-aerating, water and energy saving product – very good. But they got better. Let’s look at Change #4.
Change #4: ShowerStart
In many residences and hotels when you first turn on the water in the shower it takes a minute or two to warm up. Most people turn around and do something else until the water warms up. Or more likely until there is steam coming out of the shower.
The latest and greatest showerheads actually turn themselves off once the water is warm. Then when you’re ready to jump in, you pull the activation chain and you have a nice hot shower.
Let’s do some more math. Assume it takes 2 minutes to warm up the shower. For 2 minutes at 2.5 gpm times 3 people per day 365 days a year (assuming they are not showering back to back to back) that’s over 2,700 gallons of hot water per year. At $0.03 per gallon another $80 flows down the drain.
Wow – now we have a showerhead that is lower flow, non-aerating and shuts off after the water is hot until someone steps in and pulls the activation chain. But what about the crap that’s in our water these days. Lime build up reduces the flow of water, changes spray patterns and just plain looks ugly. Let’s look at Change #5.
Change #5: Anti-clog Spray Nozzles
Cleaning showerheads can be a very tedious job. Sticking a sharp object into each little opening to unclog it is time consuming and realistically not going to happen very often. A more likely scenario is that the showerhead gets thrown out or you just live with it.
Many new showerheads have anti-clog spray nozzles. They are made of a soft pliable material that can be easily cleaned by running a fingernail over the tips while the water is running. The fixtures last longer and work more efficiently over the course of their useful lifetime.
Putting it all together the creators of showerheads have done some pretty amazing stuff. But there is still one more important consideration – what does it look like? If it were up to the engineering types that implemented all of these improvements function would always trump form.
Fortunately the marketing types got involved. No matter how good the showerhead was, if it was ugly nobody was going to buy it. Let’s look at Change #6.
Change #6: Aesthetics
It’s always been true that if you’re willing to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a showerhead you can find aesthetically pleasing fixtures. But now there are a few showerheads that are more reasonably priced and are indeed quite attractive.
And finally, what’s the best shower head for low water pressure – check the honest review at theperfectbaths.com.