Installing Low-Flow Shower Heads: conserve energy, lower utility bills
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Installing Low-Flow Shower Heads

showerInstalling a low-flow shower head in your shower is not just good sense, it's a breeze.

Your shower uses around 22 percent of the total water you use in your home (if your home is average). A good portion of that water takes a detour through your water heater, raising your energy bill on its way to soaking your head. You can assume that with an old standard shower head, a 5-minute shower would use about 30 gallons of water. If you have more than one person in your home, or you take longer showers . . . well, you do the math. I just know it's a lot of hot water.

If you would rather take a nice vacation than pump money into your water heater, install a low-flow shower head, which can cut your shower water use by two thirds. For a nice lunch on your vacation too, install one which is free from your water department. Find out if your utility is giving them away or offering rebates or coupons if you buy one yourself.

FYI: a low-flow shower head usually works by mixing air into the water flow, which is restricted to increase the water pressure.

For best efficiency, you should get a low-flow shower head with a shut-off valve. This allows you to turn off the water while soaping up, then turn it back on instantly without having to readjust the temperature.

Installing a low-flow shower head is easy. First, get out an adjustable wrench. Unscrew the old shower head. (In case you are wondering, yes, the water in the shower should not be running.)

At this point, you will know whether the pipe jutting out of the wall needs a shower head with threads on the inside or outside. You can even take the old shower head with you to the store to make sure you get the right type of shower head.

Next, run a bar of soap or some liquid soap around the threads of the pipe in the wall. This will make it easier to install the new shower head.

Before installing the new shower head, make sure its pieces are in order. If you don't have a good picture or instructions on the packaging of the new head, the following will have to do. The filter screen goes in the neck of the shower head. The washer rests on the screen. The tightening nut goes over the pipe on the wall.

Pick up the adjustable wrench you probably put down 2-3 steps ago. Screw the new shower head onto the pipe coming out of the wall.

Voila. New, improved shower.

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