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Department of Energy Targets Luxury Showers

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By : Jamie Mathwig    99 or more times read
Over the past decade, there has been a trend in bathroom design for bigger and more complex showering areas in homes, particularly in master bathrooms. More recently as there has been increasing numbers of home owners choosing to renovate instead of moving. But there is a fight brewing over the luxurious shower setups in the name of water and energy conservation.

In 1992, the Department of Energy created regulations that restricted the amount of water allowed per showerhead to 2.5 gallons of water per minute at a pressure of 80lbs per square inch. The regulations were not well defined and mostly unenforced for the past 18 years; however, the DOE is looking to change that trend now.

Until recently, it was not unheard of for luxury shower heads to pump out an extravagant 12 gallons a minute at 55lbs of pressure per square inch. While these large, water-wasting shower heads are obviously over the “2.5 gallon/55 lbs per square inch” rule, the showers that are comprised of multiple shower nozzles have been less well defined as breaking the regulations.

Up until now, the industry regarded the term “showerhead” in the legislation to mean each shower nozzle in a shower, whether it had one or eight nozzles. Unfortunately for those in the bathroom fixture industry, that is not what the DOE had in mind at all; what the legislation means by “showerhead” is the entire array of nozzles in the shower. So, a shower that incorporates multiple sprays of water onto a bather must in total not exceed the 2.5 gallon limit for all sprays or nozzles in the shower.

While it is true that the bathroom fixture industry is far from pleased about the recent crack down on shower water waste, the better policing of this regulation will not actually affect home owners much. Very few home owners opt for extravagant showers, as they are expensive to purchase, install and run. It is estimated that only about 3% of new homes are built with systems that use multiple shower heads and most older homes have fairly standard set ups as well.

The DOE says that the ones who will be affected by this regulatory crack down will be the plumbing manufacturing industry, not home owners. Home owners will not be able to purchase showerheads that do not meet with industry regulations, while manufacturers will have to change their product lines to fit the regulations.
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