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Save Money In The Shower: How To Install Low Flow Shower Heads

Updated on September 1, 2011

Gallons Per Minute

The economy is hitting us all very hard deep within our wallets. So it only makes sense to save money any way we can. Changing your shower head just might do it. Federal plumbing standards, as of today, are stating that your shower head flow rate be no more than 2.5 GPM (gallons per minute). A lot of the older models deliver 5 GPM. But, before you go out and purchase a new shower head, test the one you have. It may be saving you money already.

Here is how to test how many gallons per minute your shower uses:

  1. Place a bucket marked by gallon under your shower head
  2. Turn on the shower
  3. Record how many seconds it takes to reach the one gallon mark

If it is under 20 seconds, it's time to invest in a new low-flow shower head.

Low Flow Shower Heads

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a typical shower for an American uses 25 gallons of water. For a family, 100 gallons a day. In a year, Americans use 1.2 Trillion gallons per year! Those statistics are outrageous, so let's make the change one shower at a time, starting with yours.

Low-flow shower heads work by mixing air into the water flow.The air-water mixture creates a high pressure spray, which makes it seem like more water is coming out than there actually is. This will not only save money on the water bill but the heating bill as well. The hot water use is reduced therefore saving energy and cost.

Rubber Washer (may be included)
Rubber Washer (may be included)

How To Install

First, open the package of the new shower head. Make sure all pieces are present and accounted for. Some shower heads have a washer that needs to be placed before the shower head is screwed on, so make sure to check.

  • Remove the old shower head

Most will just unscrew from the mount, but you may need an adjustable wrench.

  • Clean the threads of the neck of build-up

This will ultimately save you from a potentially slow delivery of water from your shower head in the future. Just like drains, the neck of the shower can accumulate debris.

  • Apply rubber washer to the neck or if indicated, the back of the new shower head

If there is no rubber washer included with the shower head then it is designed for you to hand tighten it, move to next step.

  • Screw the shower head onto the neck of the shower until tight

If using an adjustable wrench, place a rag or tape around the shower head base so as not to scratch it.

  • Turn on shower

If the base of the shower is not leaking and the water is free flowing, congratulations, you are on your way to saving money!

If it is leaking:

  • Remove the shower head and readjust, making sure you have a tight seal
  • Start shower again

Shut Off For More Savings

For even more energy efficiency, certain low-flow shower heads come with a shut-off valve. This allows you to turn off the water while washing your hair or shaving, saving even more money! When you are ready to rinse, simply turn it back on without having to readjust the temperature.

Whatever low-flow shower head you choose, the savings will make this a money saving change your happy to have made.


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    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

      This is so fabulous- I already have a low flow shower head, but I'd like to get a nicer one, and now I know how to install it on my own!

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      Low flow shower heads save a lot of money and water ... a valuable resource. Good information.