By Mark Eisen
For me, worse than wasting water is wasting water and money. Even worse is not using my head.
I live in Atlanta. It’s the largest city in the country served by the smallest water supply. Each year for the past two decades, they raised the water rates. Now the city has the dubious honor of having the highest rates in the country. The days of cheap water here are now a mirage (you thought Atlanta was just a cultural desert?).
The Feds are in my shower? Yes!
Back in 1992, when it became federal law, I installed a 1.6 gpf (gallons per flush) toilet and a 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute) shower head. But the escalating rates since then sent me shopping, actually sleuthing like Sherlock Holmes is more appropriate, for an even seemingly more ambitious 1.25 gallon per minute version.
You know my methods, Watson.
There are a lot of showerheads on the market – even plenty of the new 1.25gpm and more efficient models. Naturally, I Googled. I like to do as thorough a search as I can, even when its not a major purchase like a car. Consumer Reports compared a dozen or so models not too long ago, but you have to be a subscriber to have access to that review, which I did not. (Why waste money on a subscription when you can Google.)
I don’t always find CR the most authoritative on everything, or the most comprehensive, just a good resource. The best thing to do is to compare one product’s “arguments” to competing products. You will find much information by Googling “showerhead reviews,” then contacting the manufacturers with any remaining questions. I found customer reviews the most useful, because you really can’t go anywhere and try these products. The next best things were You Tube videos posted by those who did test a few.
Arrest that showerhead, Constable!
The make and model I purchased is the Bricor B-100 Supermax. Of course, it was the most expensive, too — a whopping $85, but it uses a patented technology so it gives a great shower and the water doesn’t get cold by the time the droplets hit you. In fact, I now prefer it to the old wasteful model.
The B-100 series is made of all metal, including the body, minimal and unobtrusive. I happen to like that look, will pay for quality and don’t care for plastic in white or chrome, but you might feel otherwise. The important thing is to get a good shower and save water and money at the same time.
Note that Bricor (bricor.com) supplies showerheads to major hotel chains and has a patent on the way their showerheads mix the water with air. I ended up speaking to the owner who told me how they have to defend their patent from copycats. You also don’t have to spend $80 as the company has a wide selection of products that cost less, as well as showerheads that use not only the 1.25 gpm I chose, but 1.0 gpm and even .55 gpm, like you might find in a recreational vehicle.
Making it rain (money).
I really took this all seriously. By using published water rates, my shower time, frequency and the showerhead flow rate, I calculated a one year payback. And every year after that, it returns $100 or more, as rates go up (hey, Atlanta has to lead in something) — a 100%+ return on investment! All because I used my well, (shower) head.