A Long Journey Begins With A ( Low Flow ) Shower

They say a long journey begins with a few small steps. Yesterday, I unofficially initiated my long-term, precise energy retrofit of the Poole Ancestral Homestead by simply installing a water saving, low flow shower head.

The new shower head is a 1.5 gallon-per-minute, all brass, chrome finished, Victorian-styled shower head made by Danze, which I obtained from my friends at Energy Circle.

It replaces an older, still functional but somewhat less decorative, 2.5 gpm shower head that I’d gotten some time ago in a water efficiency kit from the water company.

Installation began with a diverter, since we have a need here for a hand-held shower for an elderly person. The hand-held I’d chosen was a less expensive Delta, also Victorian style, with a 2.5 gpm flow. That was fine, because over time, the hand-held doesn’t get quite as much use as the fixed one, so it was important to me that the fixed shower head be more efficient.

Next, I replaced the shower caddy, because there was no way it was going to fit back on after the installation was completed (I gave myself a big pat on the back for thinking of this at this stage in the project :) ) Then, I installed the hose for the hand-held, and the new shower head.

Here’s how it looks with everything in place. The two heads side-by-side are somewhat imposing, aren’t they? But so be it (I actually rather like some heft to installed fixtures, anyway).

When I “test fired” the Danze shower head, I found that, true to advertising, it didn’t seem like a low flow fixture. It felt just like the more generous showers of the past.

My only (rather minor) complaint is that the Danze seems to amplify changes in water temperature. In this bath, there are hot and cold valves controlling the water, and when I ever so slightly turned the hot water up, it felt like I got a much more dramatic rise in temperature than with the older shower head. I can’t explain why this is the case, but it just means being more careful when adjusting the hot water. (I’m not sure if a smart shower control value would work in this case, but it might be worth investigating).

Otherwise, the Danze water saving shower head is clearly a winner. And it will conserve a lot of water over the long run.

About John Poole

My interests include historic homes, architectural preservation and restoration, improving the energy performance of old houses, and traditional timber frames.
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4 Responses to A Long Journey Begins With A ( Low Flow ) Shower

  1. Pingback: Low-Flow Aerators All Around | Birmingham Point – A Preservationist's Technical Notebook

  2. I love this — I unofficially initiated the long-term energy retrofit of the Poole Ancestral Homestead by . . .

    ranting — I know from my own recent investigations (you know getting ready to update a 1930s-1960s bath) – shower manufacturers have it seems all but abandoned 3 handle tub/shower set ups (that have ANY style) in favor of custom (and pricy) trim configurations — so if might take some legwork to find anti-scald/thermostatic valve that would integrate with your set up — and as soon as I write that – I’ll say I am sure that a good plumbing supply house may have your ticket — universal, baby, maybe?

    You go and love it when this happens — “I gave myself a big pat on the back for thinking of this at this stage in the project ” << pat away! happy day john.

    • John Poole says:

      Thanks much, jb! There actually are several such “smart valves” I’ve come across that fit between the shower head and arm. Haven’t tried any yet, but will at some point. Right now, we still do things the old fashioned way…allow the water to flow through the bath spigot until it feels like the right temperature on your hand, then turn the diverter. Problem with the low-flow shower-head is that, perhaps because of the small streams, temperatures seem different (either too hot or too cold) when the water begins coming out the showerhead. Like everything else, it’s a matter of establishing a rythm with it, I suppose.

      Good luck with your own bathroom remodel! Can’t wait to see/hear more about it…

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