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Living with Low-Flow

After the building superintendent installed low-flow showerheads in his apartment, Seinfeld fans will remember Kramer buying a Commando 450 showerhead on the black market. And that was when “low-flow” was considered to be 2.5 gallons-per-minute, the upper limit for showerheads on the market today. Now one can readily find showerheads using as little as 1.25 gpm. Which begs the question: how well do these babies really work?

I wanted to take the leap and got a 1.5 gpm showerhead for Christmas. The Your Energy Colorado low-flow showerhead calculator said my family of four should expect to save about $25 per year in energy costs alone, and with the cost of quality showerheads in that ballpark I figured it was a worthwhile ask.

The installation couldn’t have been simpler (unscrew existing showerhead, screw in new one) and I was excited to start saving energy, water, and money…until…my wife took a shower. This particular showerhead didn’t deliver enough pressure for her liking and I couldn’t argue. Instead, she did some more research and exchanged the first one for a showerhead with a wider span and many more spray holes spread throughout its entirety. This time the flow was sufficient (although admittedly it’s not as strong as our previous 2.5 gpm standard). The only issue we have is that it’s a little louder than our old showerhead.

For us, we’re willing to sacrifice a little more noise and a little less pressure for saving energy. The hassle factor of installing a new showerhead is extremely low. And the money savings is ripe for the taking. But if you decide to shop for a 1.5 gpm showerhead or lower, be prepared to try a couple of different ones before settling on one that provides satisfactory performance.


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