Low Flow Showerhead

The hot water that many of us take for granted can account for a substantial portion of your total energy costs-as much as 25%, depending on use. In many cases, showers can be the largest single contributor to overall hot water use. Even a modest 10-minute shower can use up to 60 gallons of hot water with a conventional showerhead. A low-flow showerhead can reduce this by as much as half, without sacrificing the "feel" of the shower. There are a wide variety of low-flow showerheads available, including hand-held and designer models.

How It Works

By restricting the flow and forcing the water through very small apertures, these showerheads aerate and increase the velocity of the water, creating a very fine but "wet" feeling spray pattern. While a conventional showerhead uses 6 gallons or more per minute, the low-flow types uses approximately three gallons per minute, depending on the model. Many are equipped with a push-button shutoff valve which allows the use to interrupt the flow of water while soaping up, saving even more.

Replacing a conventional showerhead with a low-flow model is usually a very quick and simple job. With a variety of adapters readily available, they can be fitted to most standard shower arms, including the swivel-type.

Example of Savings

In a 10-unit apartment building, with an average of 3 occupants per apartment, there would be as many as 30 showers per day or almost 11,000 showers per year! With conventional showerhead using 6 gallons of hot water per minute, and assuming 10 minutes per shower, the annual hot water usage would be 660,000 gallons. A low-flow showerhead would use only 330,000 gallons, saving 330,000 gallons annually. If this water is electrically heated, the annual cost savings would be $4,882.07*. If the water is heated by natural gas the cost savings would be approximately $2,072.15**. There would also be significant reductions in your water bill.


Based on the typical costs listed below, the payback for installing low-flow showerheads is almost immediate, depending on the frequency of showers.

Typical Cost

Standard Type -- $8-$12
With shutoff valve -- $10-$15
Designer and hand-held massage type -- $15-$20+

  *Assuming a typical electric water heater, with a 60°F rise and a fuel cost of $0.098/kWh
**Assuming a typical gas water heater, with a 60°F rise and a fuel cost of $1.01/Therm.