Installing low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators is the most effective water conservation measure you can take for your home.
Low flow shower-heads help reduce water waste, but don’t lower shower head pressure.
Inexpensive and simple to install, low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators can reduce your home water consumption as much as 50%, and reduce your energy cost of heating the water also by as much as 50%.
This conservation of water and energy is not only good for the environment, but the savings in your utility bills will pay for the cost of the aerators within a few months. From then on, you enjoy continued savings.
How to Tell If You Need One
If an aerator is already installed on your faucet, it will have its rated flow imprinted on the side. This should read 2.75 gpm (gallons per minute) or lower. Replace if over 2.75gpm. If no aerator is installed, check to see if there are threads just inside the tip of the faucet. Most modern faucets are threaded to accept aerators.
Showers account for 22% of individual water use in North America.
Set a 2qt. saucepan on the floor of the shower and position it in the middle of the shower stream. With shower on full, count how many seconds it takes to fill the pan. If it takes fewer than 12 seconds, you could use a low-flow shower head. If you have a low-flow shower head installed, it should read 2.5 gpm or less.
There are two types of low-flow shower heads: Aerating and Non-Aerating
Mixes air into the water stream. This maintains steady pressure so the flow has an even, full shower spray. Because air is mixed in with the water, the water temperature can cool down a bit towards the floor of the shower. Aerating shower heads are the most popular type of low-flow shower head.
Air is not mixed into the water stream. This maintains temperature well and delivers a strong spray. The water flow pulses with non-aerating shower heads, giving more of a massaging-showerhead effect.
Low-flow faucet aerators usually cost $5 -$10. Low-flow shower heads range from $8 – $50 depending on features such as flow adjusting dials and designer styling. Hand-held models are more expensive than fixed models.
- Unscrew the old aerator if one is installed. This can often be done by hand. If you need more force, use a channel-lock pliers, vise-grips or small pipe wrench. Unscrew smoothly and steadily – don’t jerk hard or you might damage the threads.
- Apply a single wrap of white pipe tape around the threads of the new aerator.
- Put the rubber washer inside the end and screw the new aerator by hand onto the faucet.
- Run water to test. If it leaks out the side, try tightening more by hand. Test again. If there is still a small leak, use a pliers to tighten. Put a damp cloth around the aerator first to protect the finish from the pliers. Don’t use a pipe wrench because it might bite through the cloth and mar the finish. Take care not to over-tighten.
Where to Buy
Low-flow shower heads and faucet aerators are available at Eartheasy’s online store.