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Not all low-flow showerheads are created equal

Illustration of a low-flow showerhead
Low-flow showerheads are not all created equal, but picking the right one for you can shower you in savings.

You can save water and energy, and still enjoy your shower

For years, BC Hydro has been recommending shorter showers, even to the point of offering a handy timer equipped with a suction cup to see if you can cut your showers to four minutes or less. At the same time, we've been big believers in low-flow showerheads, which also reduce the amount of hot water used during showers.

The question is, could you combine the short shower with low-flow and still emerge refreshed, complete with long hair washed and properly rinsed? The answer is yes... if you're careful to pick an eco-style showerhead that uses sound technology to limit flow but maintain pressure.

To start with, check to see that a manufacturer's eco promise rings true. Unless the showerhead uses less water than the typical 2.5 gallons per minute (gpm) – ideally 1.75 gpm or less – it's not really delivering. Spend the time to check the gpm number, and recognize that not all websites deliver that data. You may have to input that model number into a website that does.

Why are we talking about this today? Until March 13, 2020, BC Hydro is offering savings of up to $10 on low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators.

Read those reviews, as there's a love-hate relationship with showerheads

It turns out that the human race is pretty particular about the flow of a showerhead. It's not hard to find rants about terrible showerheads, but it's also not hard to find praise for models that deliver on low-flow while still providing a quality shower.

One budget-priced model that rates high among users is the Niagara Conservation Earth Adjustable 9-Jet, which not only costs just over $10 (with a 10-year warranty), but limits water use to between a miserly 1.1 and 1.5 gallons per minute.

Delta is also known for the success of its low-flow technology and offers a blend of savings and aerated flow in its 4.75-inch Water Saving Showerhead that features a 1.5 gpm flow. Other popular models include the Waterpik 4-Setting EcoFlow Hand Held at 1.6 gpm, and the Moen Engage Chrome 6-function Handheld that has a 1.75 gpm flow rate.

Shorter showers at lower flow can add up to big savings

If you're using a standard showerhead and two people in your home cut their shower time by two minutes each, you could save $60 in electricity used to heat hot water over a year. If you also switch to a showerhead that's 40% more efficient, you could cut your shower energy costs to less than half of what they were.

For a household that averages two showers total per day, that could add up to nearly $100 in savings over the course of a year.

Install tap aerators to save even more on water use and energy

The average B.C. household uses nearly $350 worth of electricity every year to keep the hot water flowing. Installing efficient showerheads and tap aerators will help cut down on the amount of water you use, without sacrificing water pressure.

An aerator is a small attachment that either fits onto the end of the tap or inserted inside of the existing spout. The aerator controls the amount of water that flows through the tap while mixing it with air to maintain water pressure.