Thursday, January 17, 2008

Conserve Water With the Lowest of Low Flow Shower Heads

If you're like me, you love a nice hot shower, and sometimes you enjoy a loooong hot shower. It's one of life's simple pleasures, and something that few of us would be willing to sacrifice. But of course, there's a price to be paid for every hot shower. Fresh water is precious and showers can use thousands of gallons per year in a typical household. On top of that, every time you turn on the hot water, your water heater has to kick on, burning gas or electric energy. All of that comes out of your pocket, even if you forget the environmental ramifications.

So, short of taking shorter, colder showers, what's a green person to do? Install a fantabulous low flow shower head, that's what! Now I know what you're thinking: I don't want some pansy-ass dribbly fixture ruining my showers. Well, I'm here to tell you that I installed a very inexpensive water conserving shower head last night, and this morning's shower was better than ever. It was hot, strong and satisfying. I'm a clean dude today, trust me.**

What is this miracle shower head? It's the $12 "Lowest Flow Showerhead," and you can order it from Gaiam. I learned about the device on Treehugger and it really seems to work. According to Gaiam, the head's "maximum flow is 2.25 gallons per minute (gpm) at 80 psi, and 1.2 to 1.4 gpm is about average for most folks." Just to compare, the maximum allowed by law is now 2.5 gpm, so you're beating the average by quite a lot.***

The device even has a handy pause button that lets you cut off the water while you lather up. Oh, and did I mention that it has a 10-year guarantee? All for a measly $12 investment. That's one hott shower head.

According to the EPA, here's how to see if your shower head needs to be replaced:

1. Get yourself a bucket and a stopwatch--anything with a second-hand. It helps if the bucket has lines indicating gallons.

2. Hold the bucket directly under the shower head and turn on your normal water pressure.

3. Time how long it takes for the water to hit the one-gallon line.

4. If it takes less than 20 seconds to fill a gallon, go ahead and install a low flow shower head.

Note: If you don't have a bucket with gallon lines, just collect water for 20 seconds and then pour it into a measured pitcher or something. If you collected more than a gallon of H20--bingo. Get the new shower head!

TreeHugger's take on the Lowest Flow Showerhead
Buy it on Gaiam
EPA Consumer Guide to Conserving Water

**Except for my mind.
***There are a few shower heads out there that claim to have lower flow rates, but I don't know of a better value than the one I'm recommending.


Jason said...

I have one of these. I actually have the CHEAPER model :-) It took a little getting used to, but it does work great. I only wish it had more of an extention arm. Overall - its a great aerator product. I haven't measured yet, but I'd guess my showerhead is a little more than 1gal/min. Compared to what I switched from - that is a big savings.

Also - without an extention arm - yeah you can buy one - but they're more than the showerhead you just bought - it works best if you're close to the height of the showerhead. It doesn't work great for my 7yr old to rinse her hair out.


Jason said...

So I actually did a test last night. My showerhead - as pictured above - output exactly 1.5gal/min. Our other shower output 3gal/min.

Looks like I need to change that one!


Brennen said...

Wow, thanks for the extra information on the lowest flow shower head! I really, really like it so far, although I agree that it might not work as well for you if you're on the short side.

Cutting your shower water usage by half is an amazing savings for such an easy, cheap change.

Do you remember where you got the CHEAPER model? I imagine that it would pay for itself in a month or two.

tony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony said...

The perfect compliment to a low flow shower head is The Hot Water Lobster! It will get hot water to your shower faster, save water, and increase your hot water capacity up to 10%. Just install this recirculation valve under the sink farthest form your water heater and you will have instant hot water throughout your home. It uses no electricity and is pump free, so it creats no noise. It's only $179.95, has a 10 year warranty, and is very easy to install. It only took me 10 minutes. I have had it for 2 years now and am very impressed. I highly recommend this system. Check it out at:

shower head said...

I consider myself quite a 'green' person. I have however, completely forgotten about water wastage in the shower.

I will have to get something like this if I want a guilt free shower.


Water Saving Shower Heads said...

I love this campaign! I hope everybody follows! Thanks for sharing this Conserve Water With the Lowest of Low Flow Shower Heads post!

Melanie said...


I wanted to send you a quick note because I read what you wrote about water conservation here (

I just finished helping to create an infographic about how much fresh water goes into things we do and consume. The idea is to bring a little extra awareness to what our every day impact is.

Some of the information was pretty surprising! I had no idea just how much water is needed to produce some of the foods I eat...

Anyway, after reading what you wrote, I thought you might like to use the infographic on A Little Bit Greener.

It's totally free to use, of course. If you do use it, please link back to the original source so anyone else that would like to use it can too.

The infographic is here in the original post link:


~ Mel

Melanie Palmero, Loch Ness Water Gardens
Tel: (864) 538-0022 | Mobile: (404) 384-7268 |