Saving money is one of the most important things in your home and the amount of water you use for baths and showers may be putting a dent in your pocket.
If you are moving into a new home or apartment your bathroom probably came with one of the least expensive fixtures available just to provide a working shower. Although this is sufficient to get the job done it may mean that you are not enjoying the most from your showers and that you are also wasting money.
On the opposite end you may find that a high end fixture has been installed that provides way too much water to be useful. The new fad of Body Washers that turn your shower into a car wash for humans is likely to waste a lot of water but you may just find that they are annoying and require higher maintenance costs.
So what is the best mixture of low water use and a quality fixture? Well sometimes that takes a little bit of trial and error but if you don’t resort to hugely expensive shower heads then trying a few different models over a period of a couple years will allow you to find just about the perfect shower head for you and your family.
How do you test your Shower Head for Water Flow?
Testing your shower head is as easy as letting it run into a bucket for one minute.
Normal sized buckets will hold over 2 gallons of water so find an empty one gallon container fill it with water and pour it into the larger bucket.. Now mark the water level with a magic marker on the inside. If your bucket will hold more water then add a second gallon and mark that level.
Run the water from your shower head into the bucket and time how long it takes to fill the one gallon mark and the two gallon mark.
Now you have to do a little math to find out how many gallons a minute flow out of your shower head.
If your shower head took more then 30 seconds to reach the 1 gallon mark then you are doing fine.. this would mean that in 60 seconds you would you would use about 2 gallons of water.
If your shower head took 15 seconds to fill the 1 gallon mark that means you are using about 4 gallons of water a minute and this is over the low flow rate.
Anything under 15 seconds to fill to the gallon level and you are using a fire hydrant to wash your hair.
The optimal time is 20 seconds to fill a gallon of water and that would mean you are using 2.5 gallons of water per minute. This is the low flow rating that most new fixtures have.
Choosing a new Shower Head
When you choose a new shower head you want to make sure that you find the area on the package that lists its flow rate. You are looking for fixtures that have 2.5 gallons of flow per minute or less.
The size and shape does not really matter but most people will enjoy a shower head with an extended hose to allow for easier use. It also allows you to wash the dog or the kids..
If you really like the shower head you already have then you can purchase a flow restrictor but you may find that you do not get the same performance.
Whatever you do don’t go spending hundreds of dollars on some ecofriendly piece of garbage that won’t provide the right type of flow.. but also costs more then a month’s water bill.