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September 18, 2009

Do low flow showerheads lead to longer showers?

Baltimore Sun green living editor Kim Walker guest posts on her energy check-up experience:

Recently I signed up for a BGE Quick Home Energy Check-up. I'll write more about the overall experience soon, but one issue that stood out was whether to install the low flow showerhead.

The technician was a wealth of information, giving the pros and cons for each proposed improvement. When we got to the showerheads, he told me that some people complain that they have to take longer showers to rinse off all of the shampoo and conditioner. A longer shower during my morning rush didn't appeal to me, so I passed. If the difference in water flow is similar to what I'm experiencing with the sink aerators he installed, he was probably right.

Now I'm having second thoughts. I spoke to B'More Green blogger Meredith Cohn and others who have low flow showerheads, and they say they don't have that problem. The Maryland Department of the Environment says installing a low flow showerhead can save 3 gallons of water a minute and the Maryland Energy Administration calculates savings of 250 kWh a year and reduce household electricity consumption by 1 percent.

Has anyone switched to a low flow showerhead and now take significantly longer showers? Are there any showerheads worth recommending?

Photo of Delta Faucet 75152 Water Amplifying Adjustable Showerhead sold at

Posted by at 7:00 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Going Green


We have one that we love. It also has the shut off valve, so if you wanted the water off for some reason, you could do that. Never use it to shut the water off mid-shower though it's nice the option is there.

The showerhead is called The Incredible Head (yes, really) and I got it for about $10 at Wal-Mart. (yes, really). I've never had a problem with water pressure and getting shampoo/conditioner out. Actually, I use the shut off valve to control the water pressure-- it's not even on full blast. And I hate showerheads where the water just seems to fall out.

Kim: Thanks for the tip, Sarah!

This is the showerhead:

To quote Seinfeld:

"Low Flow? I don't like the sound of that."

I bought a new shower head a couple of years ago and it seemed to be low flow.
No one in the family liked it and felt like we all had/were talking longer showers.
I took it apart and removed a small piece that was resrticting water flow. Much better afterwards.

low flow doesn't have to = low pressure.

At the back of the stores are (used to be?) the best choice on a paper card display; and they only cost about $5.

Modeled after the highly efficient US Navy style they do a great job of reducing volume without sacrificing that satisfying pressure.

Some even come with a built in valve to turn the water off altogether in between rinsing episodes (which is where the real waste is btw).

Next tip: Don't use bath towels anymore.

Use your damp (clean & rinsed) washcloth like a chamois to wipe up all the clean water from your clean body. Wring and repeat. A small handtowel to blot the rest if your body modesty won't let you air dry which is better for your skin too.

If you are going to use low flow shower heads you might as well install low flow faucet aerators You should know that low flow rates start at typically 2.2 gallons per minute and go as low as .5 gallons per minute.

this topic came up with somewhere else so I went looking for an image and such.

The price seems to be up a bit ($15) from before but still well inside the cheapo range.

have a peek:

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About the bloggers
Tim WheelerTim Wheeler reports on the environment and Chesapeake Bay. A native of West Virginia, he has focused mainly on Maryland's environment since moving here in 1983. Along the way, he's crewed aboard a skipjack in the bay, canoed under city streets up the Jones Fall from the Inner Harbor, and gone deep underground in a western Maryland coal mine. He loves seafood, rambles in the country and good stories. He hopes to share some here.

Contributor Christy Zuccarini has been blogging about the local DIY craft scene for a year for She brings her pespective on all things handmade to B'More Green, where she will highlight projects you can do yourself as well as crafters who are integrating sustainable methods and materials.

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