Switching to a low-flow showerhead is one of the easiest ways to save water – at least 2,000 gallons per year, to be exact. Better yet, today’s models make it easy to crack the low-flow code: an eco-friendly shower that will still make you want to sing. Ready to go shopping? Consider these four factors to find the showerhead that’s right for you.
GPM. The GPM, or gallons per minute, measures the amount of water that flows through the faucet while you shower. A few years ago, showerheads fell within the 5-8 GPM range, while today’s low-flow models deliver at around 1.5 GPM and below. Keep in mind that water pressure – measured in pounds per square inch, or “PSI” – is the other shower quality indicator, but most homes are at the mercy of their utility provider. So make sure you go with a GPM that suits your comfort level, particularly if you live in a home with low water pressure.
Stationary vs. hand held. There are two types of showerhead to consider: stationary models that screw directly onto the pipe and hand-helds that consist of a hose for targeted rinsing. This is largely a matter of personal preference and hygiene habits, though hand-held showerheads tend to use less water overall since the water travels a shorter distance to reach your body.
Cost. When it comes to the price tag, showerheads run the gamut. On the low end, you can get a standard (usually plastic) model for about $10. It will do one thing: lower your water flow. The high end includes models over $100, typically in hand-held and multi-nozzle configurations. Price is ultimately a matter of features, such as different spray settings and pressure control.
Installation. Luckily, swapping showerheads is among the more user-friendly home maintenance tasks. It’s usually just a matter of unscrewing the old one, applying Teflon tape to prevent leakage and screwing on the new one. However, be sure to read and follow your new showerhead’s installation instructions carefully.