The US has been using low flow shower heads to varying degrees of success since the 1990s when the federal government legislated their use. The early models did decrease water usage from 5 – 7 gallons a minute to the mandated 2.5 gallons a minute, however, the problem back then was that decreased water flow also often meant decreased water pressure. So when it took you longer to rinse off soap residue due to low water pressure your shower time became longer, in turn bringing water usage back up. Kind of self defeating.
Today’s low flow shower heads not only decrease water consumption, they stabilize water pressure and save you money on your water heating bill since you’re heating less water. Check out these comparisons of the pre 1990 shower heads to the various incarnations that followed. How does the shower head work? There are two kinds of low flow shower heads, aerated and non-aerated. The first kind uses air to pressurize the water stream, while the second maintains water pressure by pulsating water through separate water jet streams.
Let’s say your family takes a conservative total of three showers a day. If you switch from a 2.5 gallon per minute fixture to a 1.5 gpm fixture, that’s a savings of 21 gallons every day. And what if your shower head is still one of those pre ’90s water wasters? You could be saving over 100 gallons a day by replacing it with a low flow unit. Let’s see, in a thirty day month that comes to 3000 gallons of water NOT down the drain!
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