Wasteful Wednesdays – High flow water fixtures

It’s that time of the year between Christmas and New Year’s. Interestingly, Hanukkah also falls within this week—I don’t recall it falling so late in December in recent years. Most of us are relaxing with family, taking holiday vacations, and digesting that so unhealthy Turducken that we finally caved into trying out this year.

While taking a shower this morning and wondering what I could cook on my wasteful stovetop, I was reminded of another convenience that is not in keeping with conservative measures or being financially frugal—my shower head.

The rage these days is about low-flow fixtures. You have 1.6 gpf toilets compared to the classic 5-gallon toilets of the 80’s and early 90’s. I remember being able to modify those 5-gallon toilets to flush using 6-7 gallons by changing the angle of the float, just to ensure that all of the waste is flushed away. More efficient toilet design such as glazing of the trap and wider flush valve diameters (remember, I am a self-proclaimed toilet expert) allow less water to do the trick.



Likewise, low-flow faucets and shower heads are becoming the norm, to decrease water consumption. Our local utilities company actually sent us a 1.25gpm low-flow shower head. I’ve used it before, and it does the trick using aeration holes to diffuse the water spread.

However, when we moved into a house with wasteful kitchen appliances, I started using the built-in shower head: a water-wasting Kohler 2.5gpm shower head!

It works great. Water pressure is excellent. It uses twice as much water as the low-flow units:

Boy do I love the extra calcium in the water!

Rough calculations on my water consumption and costs show that I will spend an extra $50 a year for using a high flow shower head. No, I don’t live in a drought-stricken area, but I do sometimes feel guilty of using extra water.

Do you use a low-flow shower head?

Do you want to get the latest Smart Money MD posts in you inbox?
Get the FREE Smart Money MD Financial Cheatsheet for signing up!