Can I Install Low Flow Shower Head with Instant Hotwater

One problem that many people have when wanting to install a low flow showerhead is working out if their hot water system will work with it. Some instant hot water systems don’t work if there is not a high enough water flow. This really goes against the current trend of conserving water, and leaves a gap in knowledge about the compatibility of instant hot water systems and low flow shower heads.

When determining if you can install a low flow (9 liter per minute, 8 L/min, 7.5 L/min, or lower) you need to work out what the lowest water flow is that your hot water system requires to work.

Rinnai R1200 Service ManualTo use us as an example, we have a Rinnai R1200 High Capacity Continuous Flow Hot Water System. It is not a storage system, so there is no tank of hot water, but rather it heats the water on demand.

The first step in finding out if a low flow shower head is compatible was to check your hot water system manual. If you are lucky, or well organised, you should have the manual in your house. Unfortunately for us, we got no manuals at all when we purchased this house, so we had to rely on Google to help us find the manual.

After much searching, we finally found the service manual for our hot water system. Somewhere in the manual you will need to find the minimum operating water flow. In our case the rating for the Rinnai R1200 is 2.4 L/min, which is well under the rating of 7.5 litres / minute of a new three star, low flow shower head.

Remember that although your shower head will be putting through 7.5L / min, not all of that is hot water. You will need to take into account your hot and cold water flow balance when working out the compatibility of a new showerhead with your system.

Cut Your Shower Water Use with a Trickle Valve

With a standard 3-Star, low flow shower head you are using 9L per minute in the shower, so for a 5-minute shower you would use 45L of water. It adds up pretty quick, even with a low-flow shower head.

Water in South Australia is expensive. If your household uses less than 328 litres per day, you be paying $2.32 / kL (source). As your daily use increases, so does your cost per litre, with it jumping up to $3.32 / kL for up to 1424 litres per day. According to SA water a normal family of 5, with a small garden, will use around 550L per day of water.

Bearing that in mind, a 5-minute shower will cost about 12 cents, plus the cost of heating the hot water. With five people showering most days, the water cost alone is about $18 per month (assuming you can keep it at 5-minutes per shower).

Flexispray Shower Trickle ValveI don’t know about you, but no matter how quick I am in the shower there always seems to be times that the water is running needlessly.

Adding an trickle valve to your shower head ($11.00 from Bunnings) can potentially cut your shower water usage down by half, if used efficiently by all family members. With the numbers that we have been talking about, the valve could pay for itself in less than two months, making it definitely a worthwhile investment to look into.

Is a 7.5L / Minute Shower Head Worth It?

Flexispray WELS 3 Star 7.5L per MinuteIf you are looking for an easy way to potentially save an extra 5000 litres of water per year, it’s worth looking at replacing your 9 liter per minute shower heads with a new 7.5L per minute shower head (source). It’s also possible that you could be eligible for some government rebates for installing water efficient shower heads.

Although 7.5 litres per minute does not sound like enough for a decent shower, according to this article by Choice there are some decent shower heads out there.

When we went to a local bathroom shop to test out shower heads we were actually pleasantly surprised by the amount of pressure coming out of them. I had thought that with only 7.5L of water coming out of the head it would feel like a trickle, rather than a decent flow. The few that we were able to test at the plumbing store really seemed to hold their own in the pressure and features department.

The Choice article that I referenced to above tested seven different showerheads, by six different manufactures. They tested them based on the following criteria:

  • The feel of the spray
  • How effectively it was at wetting the body and hair
  • How effective it was at removing shampoo and soap
  • The coverage of the water over the body
  • How easy it was to adjust the temperature and spray settings
  • Total overall satisfaction

Flexispray WELS 3 Star 7.5 Litres Per Minute Splash 5 Function Hand Shower KitThe top three according to the Choice testers were:

  1. Flexispray WELS 3 Star 7.5L/min Splash 5
  2. Methven Kiri Satinjet FLX150H
  3. Hansgrohe Puroset Raindance S 100

The Flexispray WELS 3 Star 7.5 Litres Per Minute showerhead is available from Bunnings as a separate head, on an arm, with a hose, or on a bar with a hose. We decided to with the Flexispray WELS 3 Star 7.5 Litres Per Minute Splash 5 Function Hand Shower Kit. It ranked highly on the Choice article, looked pretty good, included five different function, and had the flexibility that came with a hose. Another bonus of the Flexispray shower kit was that it only costs $69.00.

I’ll be installing the new showerhead in the few days, and if we have any serious problems with it I’ll let you know …

Get Your Own Toilet Seat Stickers

I don’t think this is something I would buy, but it’s good for a bit of a laugh …

Toilet Seat Inside StickersConsidering that we are trying to work on getting the kids to close the toilet lid, having humour on the inside of the toilet lid is probably not the best idea …

If you want your own toilet seat lid stickers Groupon has a deal for them right now of $9.00 for one sticker up to $24.00 for four stickers. You can check it out here …