Thursday, March 19, 2009

Shower guilt? WaterPik EcoFlow can help!

Melissa, taking a turn at the GLR wheel today...

For those of you out there virtuous enough to blast your way through a three-to-five minute shower, or able to successfully convert yourself to Navy showers, feel free to go check your Facebook page or e-mail now. You have my admiration. But if you, like me, suffer severe shower guilt due to overconsumption, read on!

I'm a Pisces, so water is my element. Maybe that's why I've been fretting for years about how I can cut back on my wasteful showers, which have been too long and also wasted way too much on the front end, warming up the water before getting in. (I know I could put a bucket in the shower to catch that water, and I will probably do it this summer for garden-watering, but I haven't been ready to face off with my husband about this one yet!)

But thanks to an afternoon's lazy aisle-scanning at Home Depot last week, I have found what I think is a pretty satisfying solution: The WaterPik EcoFlow.

This is not the bare-bones aerator you might be picturing, but a five-setting handheld sprayer that makes showering with less water a pleasure. In fact, I don't even feel like we're cutting down -- the spray is so well-diffused that it feels like we're getting as much as -- if not more than -- our old water-hogging showerhead. The five settings (controlled with a dial on the head) include a kind of standard shower spray, a harder spray, a pulsating spray, a concentrated mist and a diffuse mist.

But my favorite favorite feature (and the one that sold me on this showerhead) allows you to slide a kind of switch to one side and cut the waterflow down to just enough to keep you warm while you lather or shave. I also use this feature while I'm warming up the shower (Yay! Big chunk of guilt, melted away.).

I don't know all the details on flow rate comparisons, but I did see on the WaterPik site that EcoFlow uses 1.5 gallons per minute. Also according to WaterPik, "by law, all shower heads sold in the United States must use no more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute," so dropping another full gpm seems like a pretty solid reduction. And I'd bet my old shower head predated whatever law they're talking about, so we could probably save even more. Win, win, win!

I am sure there must be cheaper products that reduce your water usage (like the above-mentioned basic aerators), but I don't feel like I was taken to the cleaners. I paid about $45, but saw something similar in a pricey catalog a year or so ago for closer to $70.

I had a few moments where I hesitated about buying a new showerhead, figuring my husband might rupture something if I made a change "for the sake of making a change," as he sometimes sees it. But I got past that, installed it myself (super easy -- took about 5 minutes and the only tool involved, they provide), tested it on my own arm first and held onto the receipt, just in case.

I did decide to tell him about it rather than sneaking it in on him (which has not been a good choice, historically), and fortunately, he was merely impressed that I installed it myself (men!). And when he used it, he said his shower was fine and even felt a little harder than with our old showerhead (a surprising admission, since he chose that one several years back).

So for all you shower hogs out there not ready to sacrifice warm water and reasonable pressure (you know who you are), but tired of feeling like an environmental dirtbag, the WaterPik EcoFlow may just be the answer! And I'm awarding it four green leaves for now...personally, I'd give it five, but who knows? There could be an even better one out there somewhere!


Matt S said...

And as a side benefit, not only do you save water, you also save the energy it takes to heat that water. If you are like me, saving 1 gal per minute could save 15-20 gallons per shower. That's a third or more of the average hot water heater's capacity!

Jenn said...

This is awesome & since Matt already commented to say he thinks it is cool we may have to pick one up. Ours is about 7 years old now and was a low flow back then but a very basic model that I would be happy to leave behind when we leave this apartment, so I would not feel as bad about picking up something new. (FYI looks like you have a double sentence going on in the 4th & 7th paragraphs :)