Switch to a WaterSense labeled showerhead, and you will automatically use 20% less water when showering. No other action needed.
Of course, you could also take a shorter shower. Cutting just one minute from your daily shower could save about 75 gallons a month, or about 300 gallons for a family of four.
Either way, you will use less water. Using less water also means you'll use less energy to heat water, and send less of it down the drain, thus lowering your energy and sewer costs. Many water providers give away high efficiency showerheads to their customers for free. If yours does not, you can purchase one at most home improvement stores for about $15.
How to determine your showerhead's flow rate:
- Place a bucket marked in gallon increments under your shower head.
- Turn on the shower at the normal water pressure you use.
- Time how many seconds it takes to fill the bucket to the 1-gallon mark. (If it takes less than 20 seconds to reach the 1-gallon mark, your shower uses about 3 GPM and you could benefit from a showerhead with a more efficient flow rate.)
How to install your water-efficient showerhead:
- Remove old showerhead. If you need to use a wrench to remove it, use a second wrench to hold the shower arm while you loosen the old showerhead. Use pieces of cloth around each piece to protect the finish.
- Briefly turn water on to rinse out pipe, then turn off before going to next step.
- Screw on the new showerhead and tighten by hand.
- Test the showerhead by running the water. If it leaks, tighten by using one wrench on the shower arm and another one on the showerhead (again using pieces of cloth between the wrench and the fixture). Tighten until snug, but DO NOT over-tighten!
What to do if your showerhead leaks:
Most leaky showerheads can be fixed by ensuring a tight connection between the shower arm and the showerhead. Tighten by using one wrench on the shower arm while using another wrench turning clockwise on the showerhead until a snug connection is made. If the showerhead still leaks, remove the showerhead from the shower arm and wrap two-three layers of Teflon tape around the threaded end.
According to WaterSense, a showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute wastes more than 500 gallons per year. That's enough water to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher.
It is recommended that you change your showerhead every 10 years. Is it time for you to upgrade?