How Much Water Does Your Showerhead Use?

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Showers are the second highest user of water in homes, after toilets. Understanding how much water your showerhead uses and replacing an old showerhead with a new, efficient one will help you save water and energy.

Showerhead flow rate standards

The amount of water a showerhead uses is called its flow rate. Flow rate is measured in gallons per minute, or “gpm”. For showerheads with multiple spray pattern options, the flow rate is for the setting that uses the most water.
WaterSense labeled showerheads are independently tested and use 2.0 gpm or less and perform well.

Washington state code currently requires that showerheads sold in stores must use no more than 1.8 gpm.

How to tell how much water a showerhead uses

Find the gallons per minute (gpm) rating

In many cases, the showerhead will have the gpm rating printed on it. It can be located anywhere on the fixture, but is often in one of these places:

  • The face of the showerhead.
  • On the back of the handle for hand-held showerheads.
  • At the base of the fixture where it connects to the plumbing.
The rating on the face of this showerhead shows that it uses 2.5 gpm.
The rating on this hand-held showerhead is on the handle. If you look closely, you can see that it is also rated for a maximum of 2.5 gpm. This is an adjustable showerhead, with options for different types of sprays. Some will use less than 2.5 gpm, but none of them can exceed that rating.
This showerhead’s flow rating can be found on a ridge near the connection point and would be difficult to find if it was installed. The label indicates that it uses a maximum of 2.0 gpm.

Measure the flow rate

If you can’t find a gpm label, you can use a tool called a flow rate bag that will capture the water from your showerhead to estimate the flow rate.

Customers of a Saving Water Partnership utility can email to have a flow rate bag mailed to you for free.