Installing a Low Flow Showerhead can save thousands of gallons of water per year

With a few dollars, a few minutes and pair of pliers you can save thousands of gallons of water and the energy and money to heat it by installing a low flow shower head. Here’s how

Time: 5-10 minutes


Tools Need:

  • Channel Lock Pliers
  • Silicon Plumbers Tape
  • Old rag

The standard shower length in the US is about 10 minutes per person. Replacing a 2.5 gallon per minute (gpm) showerhead with one that only uses 1.5 gpm can save thousands of gallons a year along with all the energy needed to heat most of that water.
For one shower per day, the savings is as follows

  • 10 min x 2.5 gpm x 365 days/year = 9,125 gallons/year
  • 10 min x 1.5 gpm x 365 days/year = 5,475 gallons/year
  • Savings: 3,650 gallons saved per year per person showering
  • Water bill savings: $62 per year per person @ 1.7¢/gallon for water and sewer

With the water shortages being experienced by various parts of the country and the importance of clean drinking water, this is a real easy way to make a difference.


  1. Make sure the shower is turned off
  2. Place the old rag around the old showerhead base where it connects to the pipe. The rag helps avoid the teeth on the pliers from leaving marks.
  3. Using the channel lock pliers over the rag, gently unscrew the old showerhead.
  4. Wrap one layer of the Silicon Plumbers Tape around the pipe threads in the direction of the threads.
  5. Carefully screw the new low flow showerhead on by hand.
  6. Using the rag again, carefully tighten the showerhead.
  7. Turn it on a test for leaks.
  8. Enjoy saving water every time you shower, just remember don’t enjoy it so much you stay in the shower longer than necessary.

Additional Opportunities
Reduce your shower time by a few minutes a day. Knocking off a few minutes from a standard ten minute shower will save you time and water. A trick I’ve found is that morning cup of coffee or tea before the shower can help to wake you up and keep on target.

Our own experience
We have one of the recommended Niagra showerheads and love it. With EnergyStar rebates that are available through EFI, we got ours for even less. The massager feature works nicely and the shower is better than the $40 shower head I had tried before.

We made it a game to take shorter showers and kept a log in the bathroom. Using a simple digital kitchen timer we were able to time our showers. Our goal during the Energy Smackdown was to keep them under 5 minutes and we were pretty successful. Without the added incentive of the competition, our showers are a bit longer, but still well below the 10 minute mark. Bonus points for avoiding a shower or bath all together every once in a while.

Happy Greening!


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