Shower head

Your Green Home: Investing in a Low-Flow Showerhead

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GTA REAL ESTATE – During a home showing, faucets and fixtures are always a standout – especially if they are high-quality and feature a material and finish that complements the design of the surrounding furnishings.

In the case of showerheads, however, trading up to a better fixture can save you money on energy bills, while reducing your overall water consumption and increasing your home’s efficiency and attractiveness. Most Ontario residents take warm or hot showers most of the year, so a low-flow showerhead can give your hot water heater a bit of a break, where the energy savings comes in – and it’ll look great when prospective buyers tour your home.

According to the City of Toronto, shower use accounts for one fifth of a person’s total water use at home – so this is a great place to start if you want to make your home a little bit more resource-efficient. It’s also a growing trend, and Ontario residents are leading the way – Statistics Canada reports that the percentage of efficient water-saving fixtures in our province rose from 46 per cent in 1994, to 61 per cent in 2006.

What makes a shower head more water efficient?

BC Hydro’s excellent guide on the subject offers a thorough explanation on the difference between low-flow showerheads and standard ones. In essence, the water emerges through much smaller apertures – reducing the overall amount that is used while increasing the velocity of the spray. This results in a shower that is not only more invigorating, but also uses less water.

The efficiency of any showerhead is measured in “flow rate” – the amount of water that comes out per minute. The BC Hydro guide’s numbers indicate that low-flow showerheads only use 9 to 11 litres of water per minute – a huge savings compared to traditional heads that typically use anywhere from 18 to 27 litres per minute.

The City of Toronto’s guidelines state that a shower head is considered “water efficient” has a flow rate at or below 10 litres per minute.

Choosing a Low Flow Showerhead

If you are still using the showerhead that was included with the washroom when you bought your home, you might be pleasantly surprised by the range of water-efficient showerheads that are available today. Consumers can choose between massaging heads or rain showers; between aerated and non-aerated water flow.

Whichever type of head or material you use, the settings and the material are entirely up to personal taste – these are unlikely to affect the flow rate, which you should take a look at before you make your purchase.

Manufacturers producing attractive, functional low-flow showerheads include:

  • Moen, whose Eco-Performance showerheads consume up to 30 per cent less water than traditional heads;
  • Waterpik, who have added environmentally-friendly EcoFlow showerheads to their impressive range of water products.
  • Levaqua’s range of cutting-edge digital showerheads includes several “Eco” offerings allowing up to 20 per cent reduction in water use. They also have Pause settings – so you can halt the flow of water when you don’t need it.

A good selection of the above brands’ showerheads should be available at your local hardware store, or home furnishings retailers such as Bed, Bath and Beyond.

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