Showerheads

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    Install WaterSense® labeled showerheads which can reduce water use in the shower by 20 percent.
    Scope

    Install WaterSense® labeled showerheads which can reduce water use in the shower by 20%.

    Showerheads – All showerheads shall be WaterSense labeled showerheads. This includes fixed showerheads that direct water onto a user (excluding body sprays) for bathing purposes and hand-held showers. The showerhead must have a flow rate that does not exceed 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm) (7.6 liters per minute [lpm]).

    Verify with your chosen WaterSense Approved Certification Method whether there are additional requirements or parameters for the installation of showerheads as these may vary.

    See the Compliance Tab for related codes and standards requirements, and criteria to meet national programs such as DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home programENERGY STAR Single-Family New Homes, and Indoor airPLUS.

    Description

    Showering is one of the leading uses of water inside the home, representing approximately 17% of annual residential indoor water use in the United States. Assuming there are 300 million people in the United States using 11.6 gallons of water per shower, about 1.2 trillion gallons of water are consumed for showering each year. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense® program released its final specification for showerheads on March 4, 2010, to further improve the nation’s water and energy efficiency by raising consumer awareness and promoting the use of more efficient showerheads.

    Showering accounts for 1.2 trillion gallons of water per year in the United States.
    Figure 1. Showering accounts for 1.2 trillion gallons of water per year in the United States. (Source: PNNL.)

     

    Residential Water Use.
    Figure 2. Residential Water Use in the United States (Source: U.S. EPA WaterSense.)

     

    Install WaterSense® labeled showerheads that can reduce water use in the shower by 20%.

    Switch to WaterSense labeled faucets and fixtures.
    Figure 3. Efficient showerheads can save 2,900 gallons of water per year per showerhead. (Source: U.S. EPA WaterSense.)

     

    WaterSense faucets can save 700 gallons per year.
    Figure 4. WaterSense faucets can save 700 gallons per year per faucet. (Source: U.S. EPA WaterSense.)

     

    WaterSense collaborated with the American Society of Mechanical Engineers/Canadian Standards Association Joint Harmonization Task Force to develop the specification criteria for high-efficiency showerheads. This task force is open to the public and comprises a wide variety of stakeholders, including showerhead manufacturers, water and energy utilities, testing laboratories, consultants, and other water efficiency and conservation specialists. Their participation, resources, and expertise enabled WaterSense to evaluate showerhead efficiency and performance and develop meaningful testing protocols that can effectively differentiate showerhead performance.

    Prior to the task force’s work, there were no universally accepted criteria for measuring showerhead performance. Federal water efficiency legislation and national performance standards only establish product flow rates that dictate water consumption—they do not address what makes a satisfactory, or unsatisfactory, shower. With the showerhead specification, WaterSense and the task force have bridged this consumer information gap by incorporating performance requirements for products seeking to earn the WaterSense label. The requirements address flow rates across a range of pressures, spray force, and spray coverage, three key attributes of showerhead performance, according to consumer testing. These new requirements are designed to ensure a high level of performance and user satisfaction with high-efficiency showerheads.

    Manufacturers are required by law to mark showerheads with the maximum flow rate. The showerhead marking will indicate if a showerhead meets the WaterSense maximum flow rate. To determine if the product meets all aspects of the WaterSense specification, look for the WaterSense label on the product packaging and documentation (the specification requires these materials to bear the WaterSense label). 

    The specification sets the maximum acceptable flow rate per shower compartment at 2.0 gallons per minute (gpm) of water.

    The WaterSense website also provides a list of labeled showerheads in the Directory of WaterSense Labeled Products

    Ensuring Success

    Showerheads – The verifier will obtain a list of the make and model numbers for all showerheads installed in the home and verify that they have earned the WaterSense® label. The verifier will also check the maximum flow rate from the showerheads, similar to the test performed on kitchen sink and bathroom sink faucets. For showers, no more than 0.35 gallons of water should be collected by the verifier during the 10-second test.

    Testing shower fixture for water efficiency.
    Figure 1. WaterSense-labeled showerheads release ≤ 0.35 gallons of water in a 10-second flow test. (Source: U.S. EPA WaterSense).

     

    Testing shower fixture for water efficiency.
    Figure 2. A WaterSense-labeled showerhead is tested to ensure a flow of ≤ 0.35 gallons in a 10-second test. (Source: U.S. EPA WaterSense).
    Climate

     With drought affecting various regions of the United States, WaterSense continuously seeks opportunities to collaborate with various stakeholders such as local municipalities, jurisdictions, and water districts – many of which have the opportunity to become WaterSense Partners. By including requirements for WaterSense products and/or WaterSense Home certification in drought mitigation plans, building codes, or urban development plans, stakeholders have been able to reduce water use in their localities.

    Right and Wrong Images
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    Right - EPA WaterSense-certified showerheads help reduce hot water usage.
    Right - EPA WaterSense-certified showerheads help reduce hot water usage.
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    Right – EPA WaterSense-rated low-flow showerheads reduce water and energy usage compared to standard showerheads.
    Right – EPA WaterSense-rated low-flow showerheads reduce water and energy usage compared to standard showerheads.
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    Replacing your old showerhead with a new low-flow showerhead can save hundreds of gallons of water each year.
    Replacing your old showerhead with a new low-flow showerhead can save hundreds of gallons of water each year.
    Videos

    Compliance

    The Compliance tab contains both program and code information. Code language is excerpted and summarized below. For exact code language, refer to the applicable code, which may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense® Home Specification
    The EPA WaterSense Home Specification states that:
    Showerheads – All showerheads shall be WaterSense labeled showerheads. This includes fixed showerheads that direct water onto a user (excluding body sprays) for bathing purposes and hand-held showers.  A list of labeled showerheads can be found at the Directory of WaterSense Labeled Products

    Existing Homes

    Guidance for the measures described in this guide is applicable to both new and existing homes.

    DOE’s Standard Work Specifications describes practices to complete whole-house energy upgrades safely without injury or hazardous exposure in the section on Global Worker Safety. The Specifications also provide some specific guidance on showerheads and faucet aerators.

     

    More Info.

    Access to some references may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

    References and Resources*
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Brochure providing information for homeowners, builders, verifiers, and facilities including an overview of program criteria, the certification process, and EPA-approved home certification organizations for water-efficient homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense...
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Document of requirements including checklist that establishes the criteria for water-efficient homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program, Version 2.0.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Website providing a description of the WaterSense labeled homes program and a checklist of mandatory requirements for homes to be labeled under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program, Version 2.0.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    List providing information on all Home Certification Organizations (HCO) and their specific WaterSense Approved Certification Methods (WACMs). HCO specific factsheets: CHEERS, Green Builder Coalition, Home Innovation Research Labs, Home Innovation Research Labs - WRI, RESNET
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides a directory of individuals that have successfully completed all requirements of at least one WaterSense Approved Certification Method (WACM) through a Home Certification Organization (HCO).
    Author(s)
    EPA
    Organization(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides a directory of individuals that have sucessfully completed all requirements of at least one WaterSense labeled professional certification program.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Website providing lists of WaterSense-qualified products for home plumbing and irrigation equipment that meet the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program.
    *For non-dated media, such as websites, the date listed is the date accessed.
    Contributors to this Guide

    The following authors and organizations contributed to the content in this Guide.

    Building Science Measures
    Building Science-to-Sales Translator

    Water Efficient Indoor =

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    Technical Description

    Water is an increasingly precious commodity. Choices in fixtures, appliances, and even design can help conserve this vital resource.


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