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Energy Efficiency and Showerheads

on Aug 9, 2010 |

Overview

Did you know that low-flow showerheads not only save water but energy, too? Less hot water, translates to less energy needed to heat that water.

Nearly 1.2 trillion gallons of water are used for showering in the United States annually. Standard showerheads use 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm). Showerheads purchased before 1992, could use even more. But showerheads with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) WaterSense label, use 2.0 gpm or less—that’s a 20 percent savings or more! Like Energy Star, Water Sense is a government backed program. Products earning the Water Sense label must use at least 20% less water than standard models and must meet strict quality standards.

The average household could save more than 2,300 gallons per year by installing WaterSense labeled showerheads. Since these water savings will reduce demands on water heaters, households will also save energy. In fact, a household could save 300 kilowatt hours of electricity annually, enough to power its television use for about a year.

Evaluate What You Have

Not sure if its time to replace your showerhead? Here’s a quick test to determine whether you should replace a showerhead:

  1. Open the top of an empty half-gallon milk carton so the entire top forms a square.
  2. Turn on the shower at the normal water pressure you use.
  3. Hold the carton under the shower head. If it fills in less than 10 seconds, you will benefit from a low-flow shower head.

Be safe

Variations in plumbing design and improper installation of showerheads may cause fluctuations in water temperature which can lead to scalding. The EPA encourages consumers to follow manufacturer’s instructions for installing showerheads and to work with a plumbing professional to ensure proper installation, setup and use of the products.

Also evaluate the temperature of your water heater. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends setting your hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit to help protect yourself from scalding water.

Now is a great time to buy. Idaho Power is partnering with local retailers to bring down the price of low-flow showerheads. Visit www.idahopower.com/homeproducts for details.

To learn more about water conservation and water saving products, visit the EPA Water Sense program at www.epa.gov/watersense.