How to Select and Install an Efficient Shower Nozzle

You ever catch yourself standing in the shower with the hot water massaging your back wondering how much the hydro message is costing you? Ever stop at the bathroom door and listen to the shower water running and wonder how much longer you will let your daughter stay in there before you yell through the door? Have you stopped by the display of shower nozzles at your favorite big box hardware store and dreamed about having one of those models that has a head the size of a sunflower?

When it comes to taking a shower you really only need three things, water, warm water, and enough water to get the soap out of your hair before your father starts yelling though the door.

Let’s look again at the selection YETI ONE GALLON of shower nozzles available for purchase. Those that are water efficient will have an Energy Star symbol or will have a listing that rates the nozzle in gallons per minute. A nozzle that dispenses more than 1.6 gallons per minute is giving you more spray than you need and more spray than is considered efficient. 1.6 gallons will get the soap out of your hair.

A shower nozzle, like the sunflower-look-a-like, usually won’t even bother listing the gallons per minute on the package. They don’t want you to know that the nozzle is closer to a fire hose than to Energy Star. Let’s change that shower nozzle and save some energy.

1. First, let’s test your present nozzle. Grab a plastic gallon container ( milk jug ) and cut the opening in the top a little bigger. Turn your shower on full force, stick the container under the spray, and time how long it takes to fill the container. If the jug fills up in 30 seconds, than the shower is dispensing 2 gallons per minute. You want the jug to fill in about 37 seconds.

2. Go to your favorite neighborhood variety or hardware store and select a new nozzle that actually has the gallons per minute printed right on the container. Remember the number 1.6. Also pick up some thread tape. It’s white and comes on a small spool.

3. Back at the bathroom, hold the pipe coming out of the wall with one tool while you use another to loosen the old shower nozzle. In many cases, just a strong pair of hands will do the trick. Be careful not to loosen the pipe in the wall.

4. Now that you have removed the old nozzle, take the small spindle of thread tape and wrap the exposed threads on the pipe with about two layers of the tape. Save the spool of thread tape because there is plenty left over for your next plumbing job. Wrap the tape clockwise, in the same direction that the new nozzle will turn to tighten the connection.

5. Before installing the new nozzle, look in the end that attaches to the pipe and notice the reduction washer. It is a washer with a small hole in the center that regulates the flow of water. The smaller the hole, the fewer gallons per minute. Screw on the new nozzle being careful not to over tighten.

6. Turn on the shower valve and check to see that the connection is not leaking. Tighten as needed. Grab your gallon jug and your watch and check the nozzle to see if the gallons per minute is right on.