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According to the EPA, an average family uses approximately 17% of residential indoor water in showering, equal to 40 gallons per day. After further estimation, almost 1.2 trillion gallons of water are annually used in the United States only for showering.
The overall water usage is calculated by knowing the water flow of the shower head, which is 2.5 GPM equals 25 gallons of water used during a 10-minute shower. On the other hand, the minimum flow rate is 1.8 GPM which uses 18 gallons of water for a 10 minutes shower.
Considering the right shower head flow rate is always good to avoid any disappointment after wasting water and energy without knowing the limits. In this guide, we have shared the details on why the flow rate of shower heads is essential and what should be the ideal flow rate to consider. Read out to learn more.
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What Is The Best Flow Rate For A Shower Head?
The National Standard set by the Energy Policy Act recommended in 1992 to keep the maximum flow rate of shower heads up to 2.5 GPM. Whether it’s handheld, wall mounted, or rain shower head, the flow rate should remain the same. However, in the 1990s, the flow rate could reach up to 3.5 GPM or more, but considering the energy and water reserves, the limit is kept at 2 to 2.5 GPM.
1.75 GPM Shower Head
Anything below 1.5 GPM is considered low flow for shower heads, but 1.75 GPM is a good flow rate. People suffering from low-pressure sensitivity prefer shower heads with this flow rate to experience less intense showers.
Also, shower heads with a 1.75 GPM flow rate are considered the best option to reduce water usage by up to 75%.
2.0 GPM Shower Head
Shower heads with a 2 GPM flow rate are also counted as good regarding water conservation, up to 75%. With lesser water use, you can save a lot on water bills.
Shower heads with this flow rate work best in water-scarce areas.
2.5 GPM Shower Head
A shower head’s standard and most recommended flow rate is 2.5 GPM, making it easy and relaxing to take showers. Though the water pressure gives the best experience, the extra water is used during longer showers. This ultimately increases water bills. Shower heads with more than 2.5 GPM flow rate are banned in many areas.
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WaterSense Certification For Flow Rate
EPA has stated that shower heads labeled with WaterSense are independently certified to increase performance, save water, money, and energy with innovative manufacturing technology, and can have a flow rate of 2 GPM or less.
Though the flow rate seems quite low, most shower heads that are well known for their Eco Performance feature have a maximum flow rate of 1.5 GPM which gives 40% less output compared to a 2.5 GPM flow rate.
These flow rates are set considering water pressure, spray coverage, and spray force. The estimated WaterSense Shower Head flow rate at 80 psi is slightly less than the maximum limit, and 45 psi or 20 psi depicts low water pressure. Below we have enlisted shower head flow rate and pressure according to WaterSense Certification:
|Minimum Permitted Flow Rate||80 psi Water Pressure||20 psi Water Pressure|
|2.0 GPM||1.5 GPM||1.2 GPM|
|1.75 GPM||1.3 GPM||1.1 GPM|
|1.5 GPM||1.1 GPM||0.9 GPM|
|1.0 GPM||0.8 GPM||0.8 GPM|
Things To Consider When Choosing Flow Rate of Shower Head
Before deciding which shower head to choose, you must consider multiple factors that will help you decide the right flow rate. Here are a few things you must keep in mind:
- Compare the flow rates of the new shower head with your existing shower head.
- Know the rules and regulations set by the government regarding shower head flow rate. 2.5, 2.0, or 1.8 GPM are the only available options in most areas.
- You must know the features of the shower head, such as if it offers a massage shower or has limited spray impact.
- Consider the water pressure at home; in a home with low water pressure, the shower head with a low flow rate will work to fulfill needs.
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How To Measure the Flow Rate of Shower Head?
Usually, you can find the flow rate mentioned on the packaging of the shower head, but if you want to measure it at home, here is the simple procedure.
- Get tools such as a bucket, timer or stopwatch, paper, and a measuring cup.
- Set the timer to 10 seconds and turn on the water at full pressure. Keep a bucket to collect water and let it happen for ten seconds.
- Use a measuring cup to measure the quantity of water and keep the record on paper.
- Convert noted measurements to gallons, such as 16 cups in a gallon. (8 cups equal to 8/16 = ½ gallon)
- Now multiply the quantity of water by 6 to know the flow rate in GPM. If ½ gallon of water is collected in 10 seconds, multiply it by 6, equal to 3 GPM.
What Is Better 1.8 Or 2.5 GPM Shower Head?
If you want maximum water pressure, it is better to go for 2.5 GPM compared to a 1.8 GPM flow rate. However, a low flow rate is always a good option if you aim to save more water.
Is A Higher Flow Rate Shower Head Better?
A showerhead with 2.0 GPM is better than a 2.5 GPM flow rate for saving water. In a 10 minutes shower, 9,125 gallons of water are used with a 2.5 GPM flow rate, but a 2.0 GPM shower head will save up to 1,825 gallons per year and save $25.
What Is Ideal Shower Head Pressure?
Usually, the water pressure in home pipe systems ranges from 30 to 80 psi. Water Pressure between 45 to 55 psi is considered good, but you can’t exceed 80 psi.
A standard way to find out the number of gallons of water used in a shower is knowing the flow rate in GPM, which helps pick the most suitable shower head for the bathroom. In the US and other parts of the world, the recommended flow rate of a shower head is 2.5 GPM.
Keeping the flow rate lower will save energy and water. However, to get a soothing and relaxing shower, 2.5 GPM is the best option.