The facts on water use in the U.S. are startling. According to the EPA our water consumption has risen 127 percent since 1950. An even more difficult statistic is that about 95 percent of the water that enters American homes goes directly down the drain. Showering is one of the biggest wastes of water, which accounts for around 17 percent of the water in a typical home (translating to around 40 gallons a day for the typical family). A typical shower lasts about 8 minutes, but most people will wait to begin until the water has been heated to a comfortable temperature. This means gallons of water is wasted because it simply isn’t warm enough.
In 1992, changes to shower heads were made to improve efficiency. Up until that time, most models had flow rates of 5.5 gallons per minute (gpm). The first designs were inefficient, with the low pressure resulting in users taking longer showers. But recent low-flow shower heads come in aerating and laminar flow designs – resulting in better pressure and more efficient water coverage. If your home has an older shower head, you could improve your water efficiency by simply buying a new one. Modern low-flow designs can reduce the water usage by as much as 5 gpm.
Types of Low Flow Shower Heads
Much like the regular designs on the market, there are two main types of low-flow shower heads. There are the stationary models and the hand-held models with a flexible hose. The hand-held models are a bit pricier than the stationary types, but they are also slightly more energy-efficient. With the hand-held designs, the water travels a shorter distance (between the head and body) resulting in less cooling when it hits the air. Hand-held models are also more versatile, allowing the user to direct the water where they want – ensuring more efficient use.
Shower Head Features
When shopping for a low flow shower head, make sure to check out all the features available. The best models have multiple spray settings that range from narrow to wide streams, offer various massage options or have pulsating stream capabilities. Some low flow models even have a water-saving feature that can slow the water output down to a trickle for other cleaning needs.
EPA Partnership Program
The EPA started a program to identify shower heads that are both efficient and satisfying. Products with the WaterSense label use no more than 2.0 gpm and also provide a satisfying shower that is equal or better than traditional designs on the market. The average household could save 2,900 gallons of water a year by installing WaterSense approved shower heads. Since less hot water is used, there is less use of the water heater (a huge drain on utilities), which will also help save energy. In some areas throughout the U.S. there are utility companies that offer rebates and vouchers on new low flow shower heads.
If you need any guidance choosing a new low flow fixture – or need assistance with installation, give the experts at Metro a call! We have been helping our Chattanooga neighbors with faucets, fixtures and sinks since 1989. Call us today at 423-616-1025 or 706-516-1980 to schedule an appointment today!
Metro Plumbing, Heating, and Air Conditioning is the service company you want! Call us today at (423) 616-1025!