Author Topic: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead  (Read 5439 times)

Better Late Than Never

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 39
Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« on: April 30, 2015, 05:31:12 PM »
I'd like to change to low flow (or lower flow) showerheads, however, I'm concerned about being able to adjust from our current, traditional showerheads. Our house was built in 1989, and we've lived here since 2001, so I assume the flow from our showerheads is much higher than the 2.5 gpm showerheads that are sold today. My husband shouldn't have any issues switching, and I'm sure I'll get complaints from my teenaged boys, but they'll get used to it. I'm the problem -- I have long hair, and when I've used low flow showers at hotels, it takes forever to wash/rinse my hair. I'm really not looking forward to taking super long showers whenever I wash my hair.

I've found threads where people have talked about an adjustment going from 2.5 gpm to 1.5 gpm, but I haven't found any threads where people went from traditional to low flow. Is it a huge adjustment, or have there been improvements to low flow so that it's not as big a deal as I think it is? Is there anything I should be looking for to get the most power from a low flow?


Northerly

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 86
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2015, 06:34:18 PM »
We did what you describe, going from the 1980 showerhead to a 1.5gpm one. My wife has long, curly hair and the 1.5gpm showerhead didn't cut it. At all. We bumped up to 2.5gpm and it's great. At 2.5, you're not missing out on anything.

Gumbo1978

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 66
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2015, 08:14:59 PM »
Highly recommend this model.  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002KTQFXK/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687642&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B003UQ17O4&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=0P2RQRG0SB6PJC2A5MHK

Cheap, good quality, can hold in hand to get spray closer to hair, and has different settings to increase flow.  Love it.

Holyoak

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 447
  • Age: 52
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2015, 04:51:16 AM »
Perhaps way off from what you are wanting to do, but I found my best solution was using a flow control valve, and a high volume shower head.  I remove/drill out the restrictor in the showerhead, and use an in line valve, some that will require drilling out.  Love this setup.  Use very little water when you want by adjusting the knob, shut off the water to soap up/shave, then really high volume, and power to rinse off.  Bet I use less/same as just letting the water run all the time  with low GPM, and the satisfaction is so much more in my experience.  i have used a valve like shown for many years, and could never go back to low-flow again. Good luck.


BlueHouse

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2994
  • Location: WDC
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #4 on: May 01, 2015, 05:37:51 AM »
Perhaps way off from what you are wanting to do, but I found my best solution was using a flow control valve, and a high volume shower head.  I remove/drill out the restrictor in the showerhead, and use an in line valve, some that will require drilling out.  Love this setup.  Use very little water when you want by adjusting the knob, shut off the water to soap up/shave, then really high volume, and power to rinse off.  Bet I use less/same as just letting the water run all the time  with low GPM, and the satisfaction is so much more in my experience.  i have used a valve like shown for many years, and could never go back to low-flow again. Good luck.


LOVE this idea. I drill out the low flow water restrictions too and feel guilty for the high flow times when I'm just rinsing off my body. But I can't even get my hair wet with the low flow options. I would buy this if you made a kit.   

Merrie

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 461
  • Location: Midwest
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2015, 06:13:52 AM »
Your current flow rate is probably printed on your showerhead. Look between the holes the water comes out of. Do you have just one shower? You could swap out one showerhead and leave the other the way it is if you have two, and then try it out and see what you think. Or, buy the one MMM recommended (his wife has long hair and she liked it), and if you hate it, just swap back to the old one. Nothing to lose by trying. We just picked one up but haven't installed it yet and we paid less than $15, so worst case scenario we hate it and we're not out much money.

Gumbo1978

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 66
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2015, 06:15:47 AM »
Change out your sinks too.  You won't notice a difference.

Mr. Frugalwoods

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Location: Greater Boston Area
    • Frugalwoods
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2015, 06:20:09 AM »
This is the one you want:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000LV7W4K/

Amazing aeration to make it seem like more water coming through.  AND it has a flow selector, so when you actually need more water you can flip the switch and get the hair-rinsing power.

We've used this in two homes, and it's awesome.

JKLescher

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2015, 07:22:54 AM »
I've been using this for over a year now and really enjoy it:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/American-Standard-FloWise-3-Spray-3-in-Showerhead-in-Polished-Chrome-6130/202077220

It has 2 GPM, 2.5 GPM, and a high pressure setting. When you change the setting water pressure keeps it at the current setting. Once you turn the water off it reverts back to the 2GPM setting. Both the showers in my home use this and I really enjoy that it defaults back to the low setting.

Like some others, I found that 1.5 GPM just didn't cut it. Having to rinse longer really undoes any of the water savings you'd experience and it's just annoying when you're trying to get ready quickly.

velocistar237

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1422
  • Location: Metro Boston
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2015, 07:26:34 AM »
if you hate it, just swap back to the old one. Nothing to lose by trying.

Agreed. With a $10-20 showerhead and some teflon tape, changing it out takes a couple minutes, tops. This is something you can just experiment with directly.

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8008
  • Location: United States
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2015, 08:17:53 AM »
Change out your sinks too.  You won't notice a difference.

I agree. I'd change the sinks before I'd change my shower.

The_Crustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2015, 08:44:35 AM »
I like to keep an empty shampoo bottle in my shower just for this. Instead of waiting for the soap to be rinsed out, I find it quicker to pop off the shower, fill up the bottle with the tub spigot, and then pop the shower back on. Then I dump the water out on my head and it's pretty much rinsed.

Or I plug the drain while im showering so the tub fills up, and dunk my head that way, rinsing it pretty much instantly.

Bob W

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2947
  • Age: 60
  • Location: Missouri
  • Live on minimum wage, earn on maximum
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2015, 09:53:07 AM »
Wal-Mart used to sell a very nice low flow head with a spinner fan like blade in the nozzle.   Apparently it acts like an impeller and accelerates the water stream.  I switch out our house once and the women never noticed even though it made a whirling noise.

The more in depth answer (and I assume water savings is the idea here) is to ---

1.  Evaluate your shower frequency.   I can really get by on every other day most of the year.  Wife is sensitive to smell and never notices.  This saves 50% right there.
2.  Take a standard or modified Navy shower.  Very simply you prime the shower till it is hot enough.   You then make yourself good and wet while creating suds with your bar of Ivory.  The warming and wetting might take 2 minutes. 
3. Turn shower off.
3.  Lather up --- I only ever do head underarms and privates.  Occasionally feet.   Lather as long as you like. 
4. Rinse for 1 minute. 

Total shower time of 3 minutes at 1.8 gallons every other day equals 2.7 gallons of shower water per day.  This vs. what you may currently doing which is probably closer to 7 minutes at 3 gallons per day or 21 gallons.  (give or take)  So this method is a massive 1 to 7 ratio.

The other very important thing is to adjust your hot water to a point were full on hot yields a perfect shower temperature without adding cold.  This may take a few days to find the optimum level.   You would turn your heat and ac on at the same time to find a perfect temp?

Lastly,   Wrap your hot water tank with a roll of R19 from Home Depot.   1 Roll is the perfect size (8foot) and costs about $10.   You can duct tape it on. 

Do all the above mentioned steps and you may see a 30-50% reduction in hot water bills.  (if that ends up being $200 per year within 40 years you will have $1,000,000 simply by adjusting a daily habit)

It is a very small thing but over time this unconscious habits can carve a Grand Canyon through your finances. 

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8008
  • Location: United States
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2015, 10:11:41 AM »
I like to keep an empty shampoo bottle in my shower just for this. Instead of waiting for the soap to be rinsed out, I find it quicker to pop off the shower, fill up the bottle with the tub spigot, and then pop the shower back on. Then I dump the water out on my head and it's pretty much rinsed.

Or I plug the drain while im showering so the tub fills up, and dunk my head that way, rinsing it pretty much instantly.

You must have either a lot less, or a lot thinner hair than me.  ONE shampoo bottle of water to rinse?  I could probably do it with 3 gallon jugs. Maybe 2 if I tried really hard to conserve the water.  Thankfully, I only do this once a week.

Rinsing with water plugged while showering sounds gross. Isn't that now rinsing (to clean) with the water filled with the dirt you washed off your body?
« Last Edit: May 01, 2015, 12:09:53 PM by iowajes »

Better Late Than Never

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 39
Re: Adjusting to a low flow showerhead
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2015, 11:59:28 AM »
Thank you, everyone, for all the great ideas. We have 2 showers, but the gpm isn't listed on either. They're both old enough that I'm sure they're more than 2.5 gpm.

It sounds like I probably won't like anything less than 2.5, but I like the idea of an adjustable, so I may go with the one Mr. Frugalwoods suggested. The lower setting is 1.85, but DH takes such quick showers that there probably isn't that much difference in water usage over a 1.5. There's also a 20% off promotion on Amazon, so it will be less than $20. Holyoak's suggestion also sounds good, but I think it's a little beyond my abilities right now.

The boys' bathroom is a tub/shower combo and has an old WaterPik shower massage. I wanted to keep a handheld in here because it's helpful when washing large objects in the tub. I had been eyeing the one Gumbo1978 suggested, so I'll probably go ahead with that one.

I plan on changing my sinks as well, but I'm starting with the showers because we use a lot more water with the showers than with the bathroom sinks.

After I change the showerheads, I'll have to work on adjusting the water temp. I assume if we use less water, I won't have to keep the temp as high. I'll definitely wrap the water heater, too. I have no idea why we haven't done that yet.