The importance of shower heads.
“What rating shower head do you have?” is a question that understandably most people can’t answer. But in terms of ways of reducing your water and energy consumption, it’s one of the simplest and cheapest improvement that can be made to your household.
In order to help households reduce water wastage and improve efficiency, the Australian Government has a rating system for shower heads, known as WELS. The WELS system ranks shower heads based on their flow rate i.e how much water will pass through the shower in one minute.
New shower heads typically have a minimum 3 Star WELS rating, equal to a flow rate of between 7-9L/min. Where as older non-rated shower heads have flow rates of up to 25L/min. So ensuring you have a WELS rated shower head can have a significant impact on both your water and electricity.
|An example of an low rated WELS shower head (20-25L/min)
Now let’s compare the two using our Dynamic 275L system. Having a WELS 3 Star shower head will give you about 30-40 minutes of showering time while the older style shower heads will only amount to about 10-20 minutes. So having the system use less hot water, for the same length of showers, will mean that the system is going to heat less frequently. This means considerable savings to your hot water electricity bill especially over the course of a hot water system’s lifespan of 10-15 years.
Obviously this also applies to your water bill. Or if your household is a large consumer of hot water (large number of showers, dishwashers, teenagers etc.), switching to a WELS 3 Star shower head can effectively increase the tank capacity to approximately 250% in terms of showering time. So making this small improvement can make the difference between having a happy or unhappy household.
In terms of the cost for making the change to a more efficient shower, a quick google search brought up WELS 3 Star Rating shower heads for less than $20. Alternative water efficiency boosters are inline flow controllers and flow control/regulating discs which can be easily installed for even less. If you’re unsure about installing them yourself, click here for a quick video from Bunnings to give you an idea how easy it actually is.
|Examples of inline flow control discs and flow control/regulating discs with a WELS 3 Star rating (red) and WELS 5 Star rated flow control/regulating discs (blue) (Images source).
One thing to keep in mind is just because your shower head looks new, doesn’t necessarily mean that it has a decent WELS rating. The star rating and flow rate can be found on the water rating label (see below).
|An example of the water rating label found on any new showers, dishwasher, washing machines etc. within Australia (Image source).
If you can’t find the water rating label, there is another easy method to determine the flow rate (L/min). All you will need is a bucket or large container (that you know the capacity of) and a timer. Then simply measure the time it takes to fill the bucket. Finally simply calculate the flow rate by dividing the capacity of the bucket by the time it takes to fill (ensure your converting seconds to minutes and mL to L if need be). That is:
Flow Rate = Bucket capacity (L) / time tacked to fill (minutes)
To sum things up, with the increasing cost of electricity and water the this simple change can have massive implications over time. The cost and time for upgrading will easily pay itself off in a short period.