Water Saving Shower Ideas — Low Flow Showerhead

In our household, we decided to try two options for saving water while showering. A low flow handheld showerhead, the subject of this post, and an inline shower shut off valve.

Low Flow Handheld Showerhead Research and Selection

We wanted a showerhead that would use the least amount of water possible and would still be effective for washing and rinsing our bodies and hair. With several long-haired people in the family, a trickle of water would not do.

I jumped online to look for WaterSense labeled products and read reviews.

WaterSense Labeled Showerheads

The WaterSense label indicates a product or service is at least 20% more efficient than average products in the same category (e.g. showerheads) and performs the same or better.

WaterSense labeled showerheads must meet the following requirements.

  • 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm) maximum flow rate, 20% less than the current federal standard of 2.5 gpm.
  • Minimum flow rate no less than 60-75% of maximum, this is to ensure that a 2.0 gpm showerhead will not flow at less than 1.5 gpm even in a home with very low water pressure.
  • Meet standards identified through consumer testing for flow rate across a range of pressures, spray force and spray coverage.

We decided to try a WaterSense labeled Waterpik EcoFlow handheld showerhead with a trickle button. At 1.6 gpm this product uses even less water than the WaterSense 2.0 gpm requirement.

Low Flow Handheld Showerhead Installation

The fun part about this project is that I, the family member with the least mechanical skills, decided I would try to install the showerhead. With some trepidation, my spouse agreed to supervise and take pictures of the process. This is how it went.

  1. I removed the existing showerhead by adjusting the channel lock pliers I borrowed from my spouse and turning counter clockwise while holding onto the showerhead so it wouldn’t fall on my foot after I loosened it enough to fall off. By the way, watch out for a trickle of water when it does come off.  When performing a mechanical task, I often have trouble with when to turn clockwise and counter clockwise. Several years ago I heard the phrase “righty tighty lefty loosey” that makes sense to me.
  2. I’m a planning kind of gal so I opened the package, looked at all the parts, and read the instructions all the way through. Everything is made of plastic so my spouse recommended not using pliers for the installation as it might scratch the parts. Interestingly instruction step 3 said not to use pliers, but if I had not read the directions all the way through it would be too late by the time I got to step 3.
  3. Next, I attached the new showerhead bracket to the pipe, turning righty tighty by hand.
  4. Then the instructions said to “locate the grooved connector on the hose and tighten it to the bracket” (apparently if the wrong end of the hose is installed on the bracket the showerhead will not work). The line drawing in the instructions helped me figure out which end to attach. Again righty tighty by hand.
  5. The last step was to attach the other end of the hose to the showerhead, you guessed it right tighty by hand.
  6. I turned on the shower to see if it worked. It did!

If I can install a showerhead, then anyone can.

Low Flow Handheld Showerhead Use and Evaluation

My spouse tested the shower and reported that it worked great. The only drawback is the trickle button does not reduce the water flow to a trickle. Upon further reading, I discovered the trickle button is only designed to reduce the water flow to 0.5 gpm. This seems dumb and wasteful to me as the idea is to stop water from being wasted while soaping up, but It does still save water.

An investment of $10 to $50 in one or more WaterSense labeled or other water efficiency products will save water, energy, and money. For a $0 cost method to save water, time your average shower and then take a shorter shower next time. It all adds up.

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Author: Linda Poppenheimer

Linda researches and writes about environmental topics to share information and to spark conversation. Her mission is to live more lightly on Earth and to persuade everyone else to do the same.

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