You’ve taken note of our plumbing tips and energy-saving practices related to your HVAC system, and now we’ve got some great information about low-flow showerheads and faucets so you can go green with your plumbing system.
What Is a Low-Flow Water Fixture?
Low-flow showerheads and faucets come in a variety of designs, usually aerated or non-aerated (laminar-flow). Both have very small apertures, and aerated fixtures mix water and air under pressure, resulting in an even, fine spray of water. Non-aerated sprays result in a strong, pulsating flow of water. Some fixtures are fitted with a shut-off valve so they can be turned off while soap is applied, while not affecting the water temperature.
Checking Your Fixtures
Flow rates on modern showerheads, at a water pressure of 80 pounds per square inch (psi), should not exceed 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm). The rate for faucets is the same or it can be 2.2 gpm at 60 psi. Modern faucets come with flow rates between 0.5 gpm to 2.2 gpm.
Older showerheads (usually pre-1992) have much higher water flow rates, so check yours out by:
- Placing a bucket showing gallon increments under the showerhead.
- Turning on the shower at the velocity you normally use.
- Timing how long it takes for the water to reach the 1-gallon mark.
If the water reaches the 1-gallon mark in less than 20 seconds, you need to replace the showerhead with a low-flow version.
On faucets, it is the screw-off tip or aerator that restricts the flow of water. Unscrew the old one from the faucet and use it as a sample to make sure you get the correct size when you replace it.
Low-flow showerheads and faucets save water and energy, as you’re using less water and less energy to heat that water. Low-flow fixtures are not expensive, and can achieve water savings of 25 to 60 percent.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Calgary, Alberta about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about low-flow showerheads and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. Image courtesy of Shutterstock