A New Shower Head

By Gina Snyder

It started with me trying to take the shower head off my shower and clear off some of the mineral build-up. I broke it. So, I went to the local hardware store and looked at the options. Who knew you could spend hundreds of dollars for just a shower head?

I looked on the lower shelf and saw what I was looking for – a reasonably priced, low-flow shower head. This one had the new label – “Water Sense”. WaterSense, I knew, is a partnership program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency meant “to help consumers make smart water choices that save money and maintain high environmental standards without compromising performance.”

“Hah,” I thought, “I can put this one on, save water, and do an experiment at the same time.”

I have a daughter away at college. So, I put the Water Sense shower fixture on and waited to see what would happen when she came home for spring break. But, it turned out that if I was hoping for a shriek from the shower, I was going to have a long time to wait.

I finally asked her if she’d noticed the new shower head. “Yeah,” she said…


“Well what?”

And so, I had to own up. “Did you notice it was a super duper water saving shower head?”

While she had noticed the different, streamlined look, she didn’t sense any difference in the amount of water. “Imagine that,” I thought, “even a teenager is happy with this new Water Sense fixture.”

According to WaterSense, showering accounts for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use, or about 30 gallons per household per day. That’s nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water used in the United States annually just for showering.

While I had one of those restricting washers on my old shower head, the water sense fixture saves even more. A home without a water saving fixture could save more than 2,300 gallons per year by installing WaterSense showerheads.

And it’s not just water savings, those teenager showers are long and hot, so I’m going to save on water heating costs, too. I could save 300 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power a television for about a year.

WaterSense has other fixtures too. Look for the WaterSense label on showerheads along with faucets, faucet accessories, and toilets to help you identify models that save water and perform well.

About the author: Gina Snyder works at EPA’s New England regional office in Boston.