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What are Reduced Flow Shower Heads?

A reduced flow shower head.
Homeowners who install reduced flow shower heads often lower their energy use while cutting down on utility bills.
Low-flow toilets use less water than regular toilets.
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  • Written By: J. Beam
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 24 October 2014
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Reduced flow showerheads are energy saving fixtures that reduce the amount of water used in the shower. To be classified as low or reduced flow showerheads, they must restrict the water flow to 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute) or less (about 9.5 liters/min). These types of showerheads are extremely effective at conserving water and reducing energy bills. In fact, water usage is one area most homeowners neglect when performing energy saving evaluations of their homes, but it is one of the easiest to control.

Many showerhead fixtures made prior to 1992 lack energy efficiency and may allow water flow of up to 5 gpm (19 liters/min). To test your showerhead's energy efficiency, place a bucket with marks that measure each gallon under your showerhead. Turn the water on and time how long it takes to accumulate one gallon. If it takes less than 20 seconds to collect a gallon of water, you could benefit from one of the newer low or reduced flow showerheads.

There are two basic types of reduced flow showerheads. The aerating showerhead causes air to mix with water and emits a misty-type spray. Laminar-flow showerheads basically create individual streams of water without the air. Though aerating showerheads create more steam, either type of showerhead is suitable for most homes and selecting one is simply a matter of personal preference above all else.

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You can replace your existing showerhead(s) with reduced flow showerheads for between US$10 and US$20. Available at most home improvement and hardware stores, low and reduced flow showerheads with output of 2.5 gpm can save you money on both your water usage and your water heating bills. Individual savings will vary based on the efficiency of the showerhead you replace, but they can be significant over time. You can also inexpensively reduce the usage by other water flow devices such as kitchen faucets, bathroom faucets, and toilets with low or reduced flow energy attachments.

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