Although water usage differs from household to household the majority of hot water is used for the showering/bathing. Installing a water efficient showerhead is an easy and cost-effective way to reduce energy and water use in your home. Water efficient showerheads can save around $100–$150 a year on household water bills and up to $200 a year on energy bills depending on the type of hot water system you have in your home.
When replacing your showerhead, look for one that has a WELS rating of at least 3 stars. The Water Efficiency Labeling Scheme (WELS) label gives products and appliances a star rating from 1 to 6 and also shows the comparative water consumption in litres. An inefficient showerhead can use more than 20 litres of water a minute, while an efficient WELS 3 star rated showerhead uses a maximum of 9 litres a minute (some use as little as 6 litres a minute!).
In addition to saving water, a water efficient showerhead will also help you reduce your energy bills by reducing hot water use. A considerable amount of energy is required to heat water – around one-fifth of all energy used in the average Australian home.
New models are really getting the balance right
Even if you already have a water efficient showerhead, or you’ve decided you don’t like the showering experience it currently delivers, it might be a good time to revisit the new models on the market. Most of the best selling showerheads have flow rates of 9 litres per minute but there are also many on the market with a flow rate of 7.5 litres per minute (which can bring an extra 5000 litre saving per year). Many of the problems with earlier models was when they were matched with instantaneous gas hot water systems which require more water through the system to actually switch on. For instantaneous gas hot water systems it’s better to stick to the 9 litre models.
We love the home test criteria for a good water efficient shower head that they used:
- Effectiveness at wetting the body and hair.
- Effectiveness at removing soap and shampoo.
- The amount of coverage of water over the body.
- The feel of the spray.
- Ease of adjustment of temperature and spray settings.
- Overall satisfaction.
These were the top three winners
“The Page family discovered some real standout low-flow performers that provide an experience comparable to – or even better than – their existing 9L/min showerhead. They found the differences were more to do with design than performance, and tended to prefer those that had wider heads to smaller ones. The Pages also commented that the number of spray adjustments didn’t really matter, as they tend to use just one type of spray. Of those on test, the family favoured the Flexispray FLX36, $109, Methven Kiri Satinjet FLX150H, $103 and Hansgrohe Puroset Raindance S 100 set, $263”
Water efficient showerheads are available from your local hardware store. Installing a water efficient showerhead only takes about 5 minutes for a plumber or handyperson. If you’re doing it yourself, make sure you:
- Have the correct instructions
- Turn off the mains water supply if necessary
- Use the correct plumber’s thread seal tape (also known as PTFE or Teflon tape)
Some water authorities offer retrofit kits, free showerhead exchange or rebates on water efficient showerheads. For information on current assistance check out our list of water rebates.