One of the little ways that any homeowner can do to reduce energy usage and costs is to install a high efficiency showerhead. By starting with something small such as this, the impact in terms of value to the consumer and the environment is exponential in growth.
Why High Efficiency Showerheads
Clean water is one of most valuable commodities in terms of health, both physically and environmentally. Most people think of it as an inexhaustible resource. It is not. Saving water is equal to saving two vitally important resources at once - the water itself and the energy it takes to transport or move it.
It is estimated on many sites devoted to green living across the web that installing a high efficiency showerhead can save between 1000 to 8000 gallons of water annually per individual home. In addition, the energy saved not heating and transporting the water can save as much 25-60 percent off the average electric and heating bill.
More About Energy Efficient Showerheads
There are actual regulations in place that state showerhead flow cannot exceed 2.5 gallons per minute at a water pressure of either 80 or 60 pounds per square inch. High efficiency showerheads have a flow rate below 2.5 gpm. Many showerheads now operate at 1.6 or 1.5 gpm.
It is the design of the showerhead, which controls the shape of the water as well as the speed that allows you to feel you are not missing out when it comes to experiencing that satisfying massage feeling you get from a great shower. Larger and better-shaped holes allow you to experience water immediately, and do not cause backpressure to form where water does not get through and pressure is put on joints and seals causing leaks to form.
Two Types of New Showerheads
There are two types of high-energy efficient showerheads. They are as follows: Aerating - Aerating showerheads allow the water to mix with air. The result is a fine, misty spray that is gentler against the skin. Steam will develop caused by this showerhead usage.
Laminar flow - These cause individual streams of water and are often adjustable for different flow patterns of water. They do not result in a lot of mist and steam.
Pre-1992 Showerhead a Problem
Per Energy Savers.gov, houses built prior 1992 have showerheads that have flow rates of 5.5 gpm or even greater. Their suggestion for checking any older showerhead includes this process:
- Put a bucket marked off in gallon increments under the showerhead
- Turn on the shower
- Time how many seconds it takes for the bucket to reach the 1-gallon mark.
If it takes less than 20 seconds for the bucket to reach this mark, then it is a good idea to replace your showerhead with a more efficient one.
Installing a New Showerhead
Removing the old showerhead is not a difficult job.
- Spray a little WD-40 (TM) where the showerhead connects to the pipe
- Using a channel lock wrench, or vice grip pliers and turn the old showerhead counterclockwise.
- Grip the old showerhead at the part closest to the wall, the base, and twist. After two or three turns, you should be able to remove the head by unscrewing the rest of it by hand
- Clean the exposed connection after the old head is off. Sometimes Teflon base tape is used under a showerhead. Remnants can be removed with steel wool.
- Use new Teflon tape and wrap it around the clean juncture point 2-4 times. Put on the new showerhead.
- Test for leaks by turning the shower on.