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Last spring I installed two on-demand electric hot water heaters in parallel. They worked wonderfully until this winter's cold temperatures pushed the ground water temperature lower than the rest of the year. We had no problem with hot water from our taps at about 1.5 gallons per minute but the shower just never got hot. The standard for new shower heads is 2.5 gallons per minute. We needed to reduce our GPM consumption by about 1 gallon in order to have hot showers.

I did a bit of research and found Bricor manufactures a number of sub 2.5 GPM shower heads. I contacted them about making a purchase and they replied with their pricing and told me to measure the pressure of the water at the shower head. I dutifully removed my shower head and threaded on $12 worth of parts from the hardware store to measure the water pressure. With that information and a model picked out I sent them payment via Paypal. They made my shower head specifically for me and my home's water pressure to achieve the desired PSI. A few weeks later I received it and put the new head in place.

The pros of the low flow shower head are that my water consumption is down. The on-demand hot water heater can easily keep up with the lower flow so I'm probably using less electricity as well. Reducing your water and electricity consumption is definitely nice! The pressure of the water coming out of the head is not noticeably less than my shower head off the hardware store shelf.

The cons of the low flow shower head are the expensive price up front (I'll admit, I probably chose their most expensive model), and a major lag in response from a change in temperature at the knob to the time the desired temperature comes out of the head. It also takes a long time for the hot water to reach the shower head from the heaters but I understand that the water used during that longer period of time is the same as before changing to the lower flow.

A less expensive but equally effective way to reduce water consumption and reduce the GPM rate to allow a heater to keep up with demand is to simply regulate the amount of water coming our of the shower head by not opening the valve the whole way.

  • Keith

    In order to get a hot shower faster, run the tub faucet first, then turn on the shower when it gets hot.

    I am also looking into getting the Bricor showerhead (I found this site while looking around for how to measure the water pressure). If I do, I'll post my experience here, too.

  • Jim K.

    Everything about a low flow showerhead is negative, except for saving water. Your shower will be much less soothing and will take much longer. The length of the shower being considerably longer in order to wash and rinse properly with less water ends up eating up your water savings. I personally despise them. The few cents in water saved does not make up for the extra few minutes of an unenjoyable shower. If you really want to save water and time, without inconveniencing yourself, get The Hot Water Lobster Instant Hot Water Valve! It's a revolutionary home water conservation product that will get instant hot water to your shower and save a lot of water that's normally wasted down the drain while waiting for hot water. Just install the thermostatically adjustable recirculation valve under the sink farthest form your water heater and you will have instant hot water throughout your entire home. I’ve had one for 3 years now and I'm very impressed!

    The Hot Water Lobster uses no electricity and works off of your existing plumbing! It’s also pump free, so it creates no noise. It's made in the U.S.A., has a 10-year warranty, and can be easily installed in under 10 to 15 minutes! It even has a money back guarantee! The savings in water and energy quickly recoups it's low $179.95 purchase price! You can't beat this product!

  • George N.

    I just emailed Bricor yesterday, and am now trying to figure out how to measure the water pressure too! All the gauges I've found are designed to hook up to an outside faucet like a garden hose does. If Ryan or anyone else can tell me what they bought to measure the pressure I sure would appreciate it.

  • Ryan McFarland


    You can see in the photo that I have a pressure gauge that is threaded into a nylon fitting in a brass fitting. The hardware stores in my town are quite small and they had all of the pieces that I needed - I just didn't know quite what I needed until there. Ask for a pressure gauge first. You'll want one that goes to 100-150 PSI just to be sure. Then work backward. If you can't find something local I'm willing to mail mine to you as a loaner.

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