Ask a Plumber--Six FAQ about Low-Flow Showerheads

Ask a Plumber--Six FAQ about Low-Flow Showerheads

There are many ways to cut down on your water bill as well as save the environment.  Implementing the money saving tips from a plumber requires thought and effort. You can step into the shower each morning, shower for as long as you usually do, and still save money. The solution is to install a low-flow showerhead. Following are six frequently asked questions about low-flow showerheads.

What is a low-flow showerhead?

Plumbing in a shower comes in a standard size that allows a great deal of water through the pipes at once. More water can exit the shower than is needed for a great shower. A low-flow head is one that is fitted with a special washer that restricts how much water can exit through the showerhead at any given time.

How does a low-flow head work?

Each head is fitted with a special washer. Usually the washer is plastic with holes punched through it. All of the water that comes out in the shower needs to pass through those holes. Because the opening is partially obstructed, less water passes through than if the showerhead was completely open.

Do I get less pressure when I use one?

No. These showerheads are designed so that the water pressure stays the same. Usually water pressure is 80 psi. All you do is use less water.

What types of showerheads come with the low-flow feature?

You can get two basic types of showerheads from our plumbers or in the plumbing section of a hardware store. Aerating heads add air to the water as it passes through the openings. The air helps to maintain a constant pressure. The air does tend to cool down the water a little. Non-aerating heads do not add the air and give you a hotter stream of water. They are used for pulsating showers.

What if I like a hard shower?

Many people complain that they cannot get enough force to enjoy the massage that comes with a shower. If you like a really hard shower you can buy an amplifying showerhead. This device doesn't increase the pressure, but it increases the velocity or force of the water that goes through the showerhead.

How does an amplifying showerhead work?

The holes in the showerhead are designed so that they are more narrow than normal. The pressure of the water pushing through the head stays the same. This means that the water escaping through the smaller opening comes through with greater force.

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