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Shower heads – Make All of the Difference

When is the Last Time You Changed Your Shower Head?  

I suspect few people ever change or clean their shower heads. I say this because I have been to so many homes were the water is spraying in such a strange pattern that I know the shower head is clogged with grit which is diverting the water spray to places the manufacturer never intended. Does your shower head deliver a spray similar to when you purchased it or is it all over the place?

The other thing I notice is that most shower heads look like they came with the house. So there you are standing in a shower stall which likely costs over 1000 dollars using a shower head that cost less than 10. You may still like your shower head but what happens if you do not? What would you do?

There are three things you can do:

1. Replace the shower head, takes less than 5 minutes once purchased

2. Clean the shower head, takes about 5 minutes plus an hour to soak the shower head

3. Live with the problem, takes a lifetime

Replace the Shower Head

If you are interested in replacing your shower head there are so many choices that you can make. I have separated out the types of shower heads into three categories shown below.

Water Saving Shower Heads

A low flow or water saving shower head is my first choice as water is a limited resource and needs to be treated as such. I have two types of Delta Water Amplifying shower heads. One has a flow of 1.85 US gallons per minute (USGPM) while the other has a flow of 1.6 USGPM. You can find a Delta Faucet 75152 Water Amplifying Adjustable Showerhead with H2OKINETIC Technology, which is similar to the one I have, at Amazon.

Switching to a low flow shower head is one of the easiest things you can do to change the feel of your shower with the added advantage that it will save you money as well. This is the type of thing you do once and it pays you back for as long as you use it. Switching from a standard 2.5 a 1.6 USGPM shower head will instantly reduce the amount of water you use in a shower by 36%. Assuming you shower daily and your shower length is similar to the average North American, which is 10 minutes, you can save around 3,000 USG of water per year per person when you switch to a water saving shower head. In dollar terms this is approximately $20 per year per person based on US averages found on the internet for 2009 in regards to water and sewage costs. I have also assumed that you are using an electric water heater and that your hot water temperature is 105 oF (40.5 oC) which is a typical, safe, water temperature to take a shower at. This will save you an additional $50 in energy costs per person per year.

Another interesting tip is that it is quite difficult to restrict the time other people in your family take in the shower. Of course you can set the water temperature really low or buy an undersized hot water heater but this is taking it a bit far I think. Once you switch to a low flow showerhead you will instantly save money and once everyone gets use to your new heads you will still be saving money and they will not be complaining. I am not really sure they will complain anyway. My low flow Delta is quite enjoyable and I really do not find it that much different than our old shower head. The new shower head technology really improves the flow pattern and I have never felt like the water was trickling out of the head. If you were moving from a rain shower head to a low flow you will likely notice a difference however, modern technology has really improved these water saving devices.

Spa Shower Heads

Shower heads in this category have a number of features such as being able to be hand held, capable of massaging, having a dual shower head, high pressure shower heads, rain, soaker, pulsing and multiple spray patterns. The average flow for these shower heads is 2.5 USGPM. When people refer to high pressure showerheads they are not refering to the water pressure the shower head can handle (i.e. the city water line pressure) they are refering to the strength of the water coming out.  A low pressure water stream would feel soft to the skin while a high pressure rating would feel as if it is biting the skin.

Exotic Shower Heads

In this category you will find large and multiple shower heads in the 50 to 300 dollar range with water flows above 2.5 GPM. This is the forget water conservation category with some shower heads going up to 20 GPM. You may want to check the laws in your state, province or country as in some areas of the world shower heads with flows so massive can be illegal.