Installing Low-Flow Showerheads

by April Reinhardt
(last updated June 13, 2014)

Here is an illustration of how much water you could save if you switch to a low-flow showerhead. Place a two-quart pan on the shower floor, and position it to catch water when you turn on the shower. With the water on full stream, count how many seconds it takes to fill the pan. If it takes fewer than fifteen seconds, then you could benefit from installing a low-flow showerhead. Some people might worry that they won't have enough water pressure to rinse shampoo from their hair if they switch to a low-flow showerhead. Choose a model that has various settings that restrict the flow in certain areas to create higher water pressure. It's just like placing your thumb over the end of your garden hose to create higher-pressure flow.

Basically, there are two steps when it comes to installing a low-flow showerhead; remove the old one, and install the new one. Here's how to do each:

  • Remove the old head. No matter what your old head is made of—metal or plastic—it has to be twisted off of the metal water pipe that comes out of the wall. Don't just grab the head and start twisting, however, since you could cause damage to the water pipe behind the wall. Instead, anchor the pipe by first placing an old rag around it, with several layers of duct tape. Grab the pipe and hold it steady with a large wrench or pliers, and twist the showerhead counterclockwise with your other hand until it is free of the pipe's threads. Once the head is off of the pipe, clean the pipe's threads and remove all old thread tape.
  • Install the new head. Always follow the instructions on the package of the new showerhead. If you have a donated head with no instructions, these steps will help. Wrap the pipe's threads with pipe tape, two or three laps. Some heads come with a rubber washer. Insert it onto the head and then screw the head onto the pipe. At first, tighten by hand slowly until you meet great resistance. Most showerheads are plastic, so don't over tighten because you could crack the head. Turn on the water to check for leaks. If you have leaks, tighten the head a little more by hand.

Most low-flow showerheads deliver pulses of water instead of a constant stream, thus saving water. If you enjoy a hard stream of water while showering, look for a hand-held low-flow showerhead that has changeable patterns. Most of those types of showerheads deliver what feels like more water pressure because of restricting water within the hole patterns.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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