How Do Water-Saving Shower Heads Work?

Aerating shower heads work to conserve water by mixing air with the water. This provides a full, gentle pressure shower. Non-aerating shower heads reduce water usage by forcing water through smaller openings. This provides a cleansing, high-pressure shower with less water. Both styles can be installed in minutes and can help greatly reduce your water bill.

How do water saving shower heads work?

How Do Water-Saving Shower Heads Reduce Water Flow?

Water-saving shower heads reduce the amount of water that sprays from a shower head. By reducing the volume of water flow, they cut back on the gallons of water you use by showering. The two main styles of water-saving shower heads are aerating and non-aerating shower heads. Here’s how they work:

Aerating Shower Heads

An aerating shower head works by mixing air into the flow of water. By mixing air and water, the volume of water used decreases. The shower becomes a gentle experience that is still capable of delivering a great shower.

  • This aerating shower head works by mixing air with water to reduce the water volume spraying out of the shower head.
  • Aerating shower heads are a great choice if you have good water pressure.
  • If you have low water pressure, choose a non-aerating shower head instead.

If you have good water pressure, you likely won’t notice any downside from an aerating shower head. Enough water comes through to provide a great showering experience. However, if your home has low water pressure, adding an aerating shower head may make the shower too gentle. In this case, a non-aerating shower head is best.

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Non-Aerating Shower Heads

A non-aerating shower head works by forcing water through smaller openings than a conventional shower head. This delivers a high-pressure shower with less water. If you enjoy a hard spray and want to reduce your water bill, a non-aerating shower head is the best choice.

  • This non-aerating shower head reduces water flow by forcing water through smaller openings in the shower head.
  • A non-aerating shower head delivers a firm shower spray with less water.
  • If your shower currently suffers from low pressure, a non-aerating water-saving shower head can fix this problem.

Most non-aerating shower heads have spray settings that allow you to dial the intensity of the spray up or down. A non-aerating shower head is not only a great water-saver. It can also add considerable pressure to a shower that previously lacked water pressure.

How Do You Install a Water-Saving Shower Head?

Water-saving shower heads are extremely easy to install. Even a first-time DIYer can accomplish the job in just a few minutes. Here’s how:

  • Make sure the water in your shower is turned off.
  • Direct the water flow to the bathtub faucet, not the shower head.
  • Use an adjustable wrench to loosen and remove the existing shower head.
  • Remove any old plumber’s tape (typically white tape) from the threads of the shower spout.
  • Wrap the threads of the shower spout with 2–3 layers of this plumbing tape.
  • Screw your water-saving shower head into place by hand.
  • Tighten the shower head 1–2 turns with your wrench.
  • Use your shower as normal.

It really is that simple. In many cases, you won’t even need a wrench to take off your old shower head. There’s no need for a plumber. In just a couple of minutes, you’ll be saving water and slashing your utility bills.

What is a Good Flow Rate For a Water-Saving Shower Head?

A typical, modern shower head uses 2.5 gallons per minute. Any water-saving shower head that uses less than this will be a step up. We typically recommend going with a non-aerating shower head that uses 1.25–1.5 gallons per minute. This will cut your water usage in half.

  • 2.5 gallons per minute is the typical usage rate for a shower head.
  • A good water-saving shower head typically uses less than 2 gallons of water per minute.
  • This shower head uses 1.25 gallons per-minute—half of what a standard shower head uses.

By using half the water of a standard shower head, you’ll spend less money on water, as well as less money heating your water. If your home still has a shower head made before 1992, it may be using far more than 2.5 gallons per minute, which will cause your utility bill to be much higher than necessary.

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How Much Water Can You Save With a Low-Flow Shower Head?

How much water you save by switching to a low-flow shower head depends on the cost of water in your region as well as the cost of heating that water. It also depends on the efficiency of the shower head you are replacing as well as the efficiency of the new shower head. Here’s a quick breakdown based on averages.

  • If you take 30 10-minute showers per month with a 2.5 gallon-per-minute shower head your showers will cost approximately $15 each month.
  • Replacing that shower head with a 1.25 gallon-per-minute model will cut your costs in half—down to $7.50.
  • Switching to a water-saving shower head can save you almost $100 per-year.

With a $90–$100 annual savings, switching to a water-saving shower head is a no-brainer. The shower head will pay for itself by the second month. The rest is extra money in your pocket.

What are the Advantages of Water-Saving Shower Heads?

The biggest advantages of water saving shower heads are that they reduce your utility bills, increase bad water pressure, and help conserve water. You are helping to conserve precious natural resources while also saving yourself money.

  • Lower your utility bills.
  • Fix low water pressure.
  • Conserve water.

You’ll also get a better shower experience in a home with low water pressure if you switch to a non-aerating shower head.

What are the Disadvantages of Water-Saving Shower Heads?

The biggest disadvantages of water-saving shower heads come from aerating shower heads. Because they mix hot water with cooler air, you may have to use more hot water to get your shower to reach an optimal temperature. You also may experience less powerful showers, especially in homes with subpar water pressure.

  • Aerating Shower Heads: Require more hot water and reduce water pressure.
  • Non-Aerating Shower Heads: May become clogged with mineral buildup if you have hard water

Non-aerating shower heads, on the other hand, have fewer drawbacks. The most common negative of these high-pressure shower heads is that the small openings can be clogged with mineral buildup if you have especially hard water coming from your taps.

How Do Low-Flow Shower Heads Work?

Low-flow shower heads work by either mixing air with water to reduce water usage, or by forcing water through smaller openings to deliver a strong spray with less water. Both types of shower heads help reduce utility bills and conserve water. However, we prefer non-aerating shower heads. These provide cost-cutting benefits while simultaneously improving water pressure in your shower.

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