Every Drop Counts: The Water Saving Benefits Of Low-Flow Shower Heads
MIDVALE, Utah — 2020 was the driest year on record for Utah, leaving 90% of the state in an extreme drought. This week, the KSL Investigators are exploring simple ways to save water that go beyond how we water our lawns because every drop counts.
One way to reduce our daily water consumption is to swap out our old shower head with one designed to be low-flow.
Josh Meyers coaches cross fit at the Factum Gym in Midvale, and though he was running others through a workout, he was also working up a sweat.
“I’m hot. I’m sweaty. I’m sticky,” he said. “And the first thing I want to do is shower.”
Meyers hits the showers several times every day, and it has allowed him to become a shower connoisseur of sorts.
“What makes a good shower?” the KSL Investigators asked him.
“Space in the shower, but post that – the flow rate of the water,” he answered.
Uh oh. If that is what Meyers really relishes about his showers, he may regret agreeing to help us with a little experiment.
At his home, we presented him with a brand-new, eco-friendly $40 shower head, purchased at a big box hardware store. Rather than the two and a half gallons per minute that his shower currently pumps out, our replacement shower head lets through 1.75 gallons of water every minute.
While Meyers took a shower to test out the new low-flow shower head, the KSL Investigators did a little math.
Most standard shower heads that we found on store shelves boast 2.5 gallons per minute. Our low-flow option is 1.75 gallons per minute.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average shower time in the United States is 8 minutes. In that time, the low-flow shower head will put out 14 gallons, while the standard shower head sends out 20 gallons. That is a savings of six gallons with every shower using the low-flow.
That alone is substantial, but if we zoom out and say all 3.206 million Utahns shower once per day, and if each Utahn used a similar low-flow shower head, the water savings would climb to over 19.2 million gallons every single day.
Aside from conservation, we found another reason you may want to cut back on how much water flows from your shower to the drain — it could save your skin.
“I think a low-flow is just perfect for the skin,” said Dr. Rebekah Clifford, a dermatologist with Granger Medical Clinic.
Clifford said many folks shower wrong, washing away an important oil our skin uses as a protective barrier. Without it, we could wind up with itchy skin and rashes.
“If you are taking excessively long showers, showering a lot of times per day, you’re scrubbing at your skin, taking really hot showers – all of that strips away that natural oil,” she explained.
After trying out the new low-flow shower head, we got Meyers’ take on low-flow versus a standard shower head.
“The flow rate was very obviously lower, and I noticed it was a little difficult to get clean in some nooks and crannies, but if I’m saving some money and I’m saving some water, I say, ‘Why not?'”
If you have an idea for small ways we can save water, and you’d like us to take an investigative look to uncover just how much we would save, let us know about it. Call (385) 707-6153 or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.