This week’s blog post was written by WCO intern Laura Keys.
This past October the Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office gave away 500 low-flow showerheads. On numerous occasions as I was handing them out, the recipient would ask me, “So have you used one? How are they?” I would sheepishly admit that I had not, in fact, tried them yet but had heard good things about them.
The WCO is poised to do another even bigger showerhead giveaway, and I figured it was time to sample the wares so I could give people my informed opinion. So here are the details of my experience with a new low-flow showerhead: the chrome-finished Niagara Sava Spa 2515 showerhead.
Before I removed my old showerhead, I measured how much water was actually flowing out of it. I was surprised to measure 3.5 gallons per minute (gpm) because it was rated at a maximum flow of 2.5 gpm!! In the past we never turned the shower on fully because it felt like we were being blasted by a firehose, and now I understand why.
Using a set of pliers, I twisted off the old showerhead and removed the rubber washer, which was covered in black grime and might not have been seated correctly against the showerhead. (I don’t know why the showerhead produced more flow than it was rated for, but several generations of rental house neglect probably didn’t help.)
Then I installed the new showerhead, twisting it into place by hand and giving it an extra quarter twist using pliers. (Using small pliers scuffed up the finish a little bit. A big wrench probably would have been better, oops.) I measured the flow out of it and saw that it was hitting a perfect 1.5 gpm, as it should have been.
The final task was to actually try it out. When I first turned the shower on to its maximum flow, it was sort of a weird sensation… a nice full spray, but with a much lighter feel. As soon as my hair was fully wet, I didn’t notice a difference anymore, and shampooing/conditioning my hair took the same time as usual. So it was a pretty quick adjustment period. Another pretty sweet advantage: my shower usually lasts under 10 minutes, but I often run out of hot water before then because our water heater is teeny-tiny. Besides saving water and money on my shower, I didn’t run out of hot water because less was being used in the same period of time!
This new showerhead will be a big money-saver, too. It retails for around $10, though I used it for free. (My old showerhead was free since it came with the house, so no difference there.) But here’s the water cost-savings for the next year: assuming eight 8-minute showers a week from my household for 50 weeks of the year, the cost of water would be $23.23. With my old showerhead, running it fully would cost $54.21, and partly running it at 2.5gpm would cost $38.72.
So I call this new showerhead a total victory. Sleek appearance? Check. Good water pressure? Check. Hot showers? Check. Saving money? Check. Saving water? Double-check. Stay tuned for the next showerhead giveaway!