How Do I Choose a Shower Head?

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How Do I Choose a Shower Head?

A great shower head has the power to transform your showering routine from a mundane chore to a luxurious spa like experience. When performing a Shower Renovation, your shower can impact more than you might realize: from improving your mood to relieving your tension—and even saving you money.  The shower head has a major impact on how much you are going to enjoy your new shower.  Whether you are looking to go green or to customize your shower, a shower head is a simple way to enhance your showering experience; taking your bathroom to the next level.  When asking yourself “How do I choose a shower head?”, there are 4 options:

  • Standard Shower Head
  • Multifunction Shower Head
  • HydroRail or Hand Shower on a Pole
  • Smart Shower Head

When asking yourself “How do I choose a shower head?”, it’s important to understand how they work.

How Do I Choose A Shower Head?There are two factors that determine the performance of a shower head.  These are flow rate and engineering. 

Shower head flow rate

Flow rate refers to how much water flows out of the faucet per minute.  This is referred to as Gallons Per Minute or GPM.  There are generally three flow rate options.  These are 1.75 GPM, 2.0 GPM, and 2.5 GPM.  There are also ultra-low flow shower heads with a 1.5 GPM flow rate.  The 1.75 GPM meets Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSence requirements.  A higher GPM produces a more relaxing and invigorating shower using more water.

In California, the flow rate has fallen from 2.5 GPM in 1994 to 1.8 GPM beginning July 2018.  It was 2.0 GPM prior to the latest change.  California has the toughest shower head requirements in the nation.  As the flow rate falls, manufactures use rubberized inserts in the shower head water disbursement holes.  This creates a more forceful stream of water.  By forcing water through these tiny holes, the water stream intensifies.  This gives the impression of higher water pressure.  For most people it produces a stinging sensation.

Shower heads no longer have restrictor disks that can be easily removed.  If the restrictor disk is forced out of the shower head, the shower head will not function properly.  This renders your shower almost impossible to use.  If you have a tub/shower combination, usually the shower head will not work.  This was done to stop people from simply removing the restrictor to get the GPM back up.

How Do I Choose a Shower Head?

Shower head Engineering

Engineering is each manufacture’s patented design to increase the flow rate while minimizing the stinging sensation.  Consider for a moment that the length of the average shower is 11 minutes and uses about 27.5 gallons of water per shower.  That translates into almost 67 hours and over 10,000 gallons of water each year!  Here in Orange County, all that water is hard with lots of mineral deposits.  Your shower head must be well engineered, or it is not going to last or function properly for long.

The trick is to design a shower head that meets the 1.8 GPM requirement while producing a stream of water that is forceful enough to be relaxing and invigorating.  However, we do not want this flow rate to produce a stinging sensation.  There are only a few manufactures who can successfully meet this engineering challenge.

Okay . . . So simply stated, there are basically 4 types of shower heads.

  1. Basic
  2. Multifunction
  3. HydroRail or Hand
  4. Smart

Basic Shower Head

Bathroom Remodel DAD's ConstructionThis is the most basic.  Most of these varieties are plastic.  Some of these plastic shower heads have metal plating.  This gives the appearance of chrome, brushed nickel or any one of the bronze finishes.  They have a short life, tarnish easily, and collect mineral deposits much faster—reducing performance.

This is the type of shower head typically found at large home improvement stores, internet shopping, and in lower budget Bathroom Remodel projects.  These are typically 1-setting shower heads producing less flow rate with a stream of water that is less than exciting.

Multifunction Shower Head

Best Bathroom Remodel DAD's ConstructionA multifunction shower head offers a variety of spray options all in one fixture. Whether you are looking for a rinse that is massaging, cleansing, or soothing, spray options in one shower head provide an easy solution to creating a customized showering routine. By changing to a multifunction shower head, you can easily go from an invigorating spray to a soothing rinse. shower heads such as the Kohler Forte provide three distinct sprays including wide coverage, soft aerated and massage spray.

Choosing a multifunction shower head makes it easy to switch between different spray options that are designed to deliver a variety of experiences.  A rinsing spray delivers strong, full coverage that envelops the whole body.  A massaging spray offers a strong stream of water that is great at targeting back and shoulders and relieving sore muscles.

HydroRail (AKA Hand Shower on a Pole)

How Do I Choose a Shower Head?How Do I Choose a Shower Head? DAD's ConstructionHow Do I Choose a Shower Head?How Do I Choose a Shower Head?

A HydroRail shower column allows you to easily upgrade your showering experience by turning a single outlet shower head into a two-outlet custom shower. The best part of a HydroRail is its design flexible.  There are multiple poles, shower heads, hand showers, and design configurations.

It is a great way to add a spa experience without the expense.  These systems are perfect for targeting particular areas of your body, washing kids, and cleaning the shower space.  Adding a rain head creates a luxurious spa like experience that encompasses the whole body.  Kohler makes a wide variety of beautiful, high quality HydroRail shower and bath/shower products.

Smart Shower Head

When asking yourself “How Do I Choose a Shower Head?”, consider new smart shower heads and digital showering.  Smart shower heads customize your shower experience and it’s now easier than ever. Updating your shower head with a high-tech option like the Moxie® shower head & wireless speaker will allow you to play your favorite music or podcast while you rinse. You can even pop out the speaker and take it on the go.

Kohler Konnect™ smart products, such as the KOHLER DTV+™ showering system, allow you to save your settings for sound, water, steam, and lighting.

With the KOHLER DTV+ showering system with KOHLER Konnect you can personalize your shower routine—from the temperature of the water, to which outlets you want flowing as you step in. Users can access and control their showering routines using a smart assistant or through the KOHLER Konnect app, ensuring the perfect shower every time.

Water saving when selecting a shower head

Switching to an eco-friendly shower head is a simple way to start your transition to a green bathroom. These water-conservation shower heads will not only benefit the environment, they can save you money on water and energy costs.

The better WaterSense-labeled shower heads and hand showers use 35 percent less water than older models without sacrificing performance.  To earn the EPA WaterSense label, a product must use no more than 2 GPM and still meet strict performance requirements. The EPA estimates that the average family could save 2,900 gallons of water per year by installing a WaterSense-labeled shower head.

According to the California Energy Commission, after a full turnover of shower head and faucet stocks by 2029, current regulations are expected to save 38 billion gallons of water, 20.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 1,322 gigawatt hours of electricity each year.

How Can I Receive More Information?

If you would like more information on enjoying the best bathroom, kitchen, and interior remodeling experience in Orange County, call Dan at (949) 380-0177 or at dan@dadsconstruction.com for a free in home consultation.  DAD’s serves all of South Orange County California.  This includes Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills, Ladera Ranch, Irvine, San Clemente, Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Santa Margarita, Coto de Caza, Dove Canyon, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Hills, Newport Beach, and Aliso Viejo.

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Daniel A. Derkum is the owner of DAD’s Construction.  DAD’s is a leading South Orange County, California design-and-build remodeling and renovation Contractor.  See https://www.dadsconstruction.com.  © DAD’s Home Services & Construction, Inc.  All Rights Reserved.