It’s quite interesting that taking a shower has evolved from a basic ritual to a therapeutic one. At the end of the day you take a shower to relax those tired muscles, when you are cold you need it to warm you up, and in the morning after a long night you need one to rejuvenate yourself as you look forward to work. Yet, as the maxim goes, “to each his own,” every person has his or her own preferences when it comes to shower heads. That’s why companies have developed multiple types of shower heads to meet the preferences of each individual. However, the large number of companies in the market, as well as, the number of different products makes it hard to choose the best shower head. So I turned to experts to help you make your decision whenever you feel like upgrading or changing your shower head. So what should you consider when choosing your next showerhead? Here are some of the most important factors that will determine whether your shower head will be your friend or just a waste of your money.
Since time immemorial, showering has always been about how forceful the water hits you. Fortunately or unfortunately, this is determined by local laws and other governing laws on conservation of water. This means that apart from the design of the showerhead, the governing laws will affect the pressure of your shower head. Currently, in the US, the laws allows only two and a half of gallons per minute. That’s why all designs come with such a flow or lower. In addition to the laws, your water provider may be unable to provide consistent water pressures due to supply issues or other issues. So what can you do to ensure that you get what you want?
First, you need to consider a shower head that meets the current conservation laws (2.5GPM) and still can provide that powerful stream of water and plenty of coverage. How such shower heads save water is another discussion. Second, you need to consider whether you need a high pressure shower head or a low pressure shower head. When determining whether the shower will deliver a weak water stream or a powerful stream, you need to consider the design. Shower heads with a large number of nozzles will deliver a weak stream if your water pressure is low and vice versa. For example, a rain shower head will produce a weak stream if the water pressure is low as the water comes out of a large number of nozzles. So if you have low water pressure consider buying a high pressure shower head for low water pressure. You can check reviews here.
Frequently Asked Questions on Shower Heads and Water Pressure
How can I get my shower head to increase water pressure?
If your shower is not delivering that powerful stream of water you can solve the issue in several ways. First, you can replace your shower with a high pressure shower head that is designed to improve the water pressure as it jests out of the shower head. You can check the reviews here. Second you can remove the restrictor on your existing shower head.
The green restrictor is placed on shower heads by manufacturers to restrict water flow so that the shower meets local or federal water flow guidelines (less than 2.5GPM). Do not just remove it as it acts as a gasket. The best option is to enlarge the opening without compromising the outer ring. Sometimes removing the restrictor may be unethical in areas with low water supply.
Your second option is to check your plumbing. If your plumbing has issues such as blocked pipes, restricted shower valves, leaking pipes and other problems, there is a likelihood that your shower pressure will suffer. So you can check your pipes and the whole plumbing system for any issues. The best approach is to check the pressure before installing the shower head, so that you do not have problems after installing that modern shower.
How about Water/Dollar Saving?
Old shower heads can set you back a large amount of dollars on your water bill. Just imagine a shower head with a water flow of more than 8 gallons per minute. If you multiply that amount with the minutes you spend in your bathroom each day, then the number of showers a week and the number of individuals in the home, then you can be sure that your bill will not be so attractive. Showering alone consumes 17% of all water used in an average home. So when it comes to saving water consumption, the shower should be your first option. The best approach is to use low flow shower heads that have a water low of less than 2.0 GPM. This does not mean that the water stream will be inferior. Such shower heads use air stream, less number of nozzles and laminar flow, all of which ensure that the stream is pressurized to your liking. Or you could just use a pressure head that allows for adjustable pressure to reduce consumption.
How does a water saving shower head work?
These shower heads either limit the volume of water that flows through them or using air. Non-aerating shower heads squeeze water through the small holes or large but few holes, forcing the water to flow under higher pressure, thus producing a harder and massaging experience. In contrast, aerating shower head add air into the water mixture, which produces an appearance that the water is at a higher pressure. Such showers provide a softer experience.
How much money does a water saving shower head save?
Let’s assume that a normal traditional shower head allows water flow to the tune of 3.5 gallons per minute, while a low flow shower head allows 2 gallons per minute. An average shower will take 10 minutes, but may vary from one person to another. So total yearly water consumption per type of shower is:
3.5 Gallons per minute X 10 Minutes X 365 days= 12, 775 gallons per annum
2.0 gallons per minute X 10 Minutes X 365 days = 7300 gallons per annum
So from the calculation, a low-flow shower head will save 5,475 gallons per annum. This is not a small amount. Let’s assume that the shower head allows 1.8 GPM, then the amount of water that will be saved is higher (6, 205 gallons per annum). The average cost of water in the US is around $0.004. When using a low flow shower head you will save 21 dollars if the shower head is rated 2.0gpm and 24.82 dollars if the showerhead is rated 1.8gpm. These are only averages. The saving will be greater if you have other members in the family. Let’s assume that there are 4 members in the family, and each member takes two showers a day. The total consumption per day if you are using a 3.5 GPM shower head will be 280 gallons, while if you are using a 2.0GPM shower head the consumption will be 160 gallons. As you can see the difference is large. You can check the rest of the calculations here
How much water does the average person use per shower?
This depends on the amount of time it takes to take a shower and the flow rating of your shower head. Multiple suggests that an average person spends 10 minutes taking a shower. The consumption will vary with your shower head. Let me show you different consumption rates with different shower heads. When using a shower head with a rating of 3.5GPM, the total water consumption will be 35 gallons, for a 2.0GPM shower head, the average consumption will be 20 gallons, while that of a 1.8 GPM rating, the consumption will be 18 gallons. If you take longer, the consumption will be higher and vice versa. On the other hand, if the flow rate of your shower head is higher the consumption will be higher and vice versa. So it depends on each individual. But on average the consumption ranges from 18 gallons to 35 gallons for old shower heads.
What is a good GPM for a shower head?
While there is no consensus for the best flow rating of a shower head, I tend to advice on selecting a shower head that has a flow rate of less than 2.5 gallons per minute. There are two reasons for this. First, government regulations only allow for products with such a flow rating. Secondly, such a flow rating is sufficient for all if not most modern shower heads, whether they are rain shower heads or low pressure shower heads.
What is the standard for a low flow shower head?
At the lower end, the flow rating of a low flow shower head is around 1.5 gallons per minute, while at the high end 2.5 gallons per minute. Generally, ultra-low flow shower heads are few, but may be many if local regulations dictate so. For example, in California 1.8GPM shower heads will be most common as the local regulations allow for such faucets. Well, to be frank, there is no standard, unless one is established in the future.
There are many types of shower heads. Given that each has been examined in another article you can check reviews of each type in other articles on this website.
Apart from water pressure and saving, one should also consider body coverage of the shower head. Of course, a large shower head will cover a large part of the body. However, the cost of a large shower head is also high depending on the design and manufacturer, but will tend to be higher than a small shower head. Shower head tend to range from 3 inches to 14 inches for the largest sizes. However, this is not the only consideration, as the manufacturer may indicate 14 inches but only covers 10 inches with nozzles, leaving a large bevel. When choosing a shower head always look at the area covered by the nozzle to determine the actual size of the shower head. Another factor to consider is water pressure. A large shower head will require high amounts of water pressure and may not be useful in a home which suffers from chronic low water pressures. A rain shower head in such a home will end up producing unsatisfying one sided drizzle that can be very frustrating.