Low flow, high style

The latest showerheads are eco-friendly and elegant
Erika Ehmsen

Kermit the Frog was wrong: It’s easy being green. And stylish too. Installing a low-flow showerhead ― one that uses a maximum of 2.5 gallons per minute ― reduces water consumption by at least 50 percent over a nonconserving showerhead.

When you consider that the shower accounts for up to 30 percent of household water use, this simple switch translates to big savings in water and energy bills. And today’s fixtures are as striking as they are efficient.

All of the fixtures can be swapped in for a wall-mounted showerhead.

What you can do yourself ― and when to call a plumber

Altering the height of a showerhead requires opening up the wall and changing the pipes, and a new shower arm could affect the rough-in plumbing ― best to call a plumber in these situations. But if you like the height of your existing wall-mounted fixture and your current shower arm, you should be able to change out the showerhead yourself.

1. To remove your existing showerhead, make sure the shower is off, and dry off the showerhead and arm. Then, holding the arm steady with slip-joint pliers (wrap electrical or duct tape over its jaws so you don’t scratch the arm), use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the old showerhead.

2. Clean the threads of the arm pipe with rubbing alcohol, then wind one layer of nonstick finish tape (aka plumber’s tape) around the threads in a clockwise direction.

3. Position the new showerhead over the tape-wrapped threads, then screw it on by turning clockwise just until you feel resistance. Turn on the water and test for leaks, tightening if necessary.