If you’re like many people, you may have a shower head that offers a very satisfying shower but uses a tremendous amount of water.
Or you may have the other extreme: an incredibly efficient shower head that makes you wonder if the water is turned on. The trick is to have a low flow shower head that offers a satisfying shower while using a minimum amount of water.
Shower heads are measured by flow—the number of gallons they deliver per minute (gpm). Flow is affected by water pressure, measured in pounds per square inch (psi). The greater the pressure pushing water through pipes and shower heads, the greater the volume of water forced out.
Water pressure on the high side—80 psi, for example—will push a greater amount of water through a shower head than low water pressure, say 20 psi. This same principle is in effect when you don’t turn on the water full blast. Water pressure varies from community to community and even from house to house.
A few years ago, shower heads delivered about 5 to 8 gallons per minute (gpm) at 80 psi. The current standard for low flow heads is 2.5 gpm at 80 psi. Some low flow shower heads deliver only 1.6 gpm.
A quality low flow shower head will feel good at both high and low water pressures. Some have flow restrictors that can be reversed or removed to allow more water through on low-pressure lines, allowing you to achieve the right amount of water flow for your water pressure.
Others have restrictors that work automatically. For example, Teledyne Water Pik, at about $30, offers one highly rated “Shower Massage” shower head that automatically senses the available water pressure and adjusts to deliver 2.5 gpm.
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