Do all showerheads have a water-efficiency rating?

Yes, all new showerheads for sale in New Zealand for household use are required to be rated for water efficiency.  Both the flow rate and water-efficiency star rating need to be displayed wherever they are available for sale, so ask the retailer if you can’t see it.   

How do I measure the flow rate of the shower I have now?

Use a bucket to collect all the water from your shower in exactly 6 seconds. Measure how many litres of water are in the bucket.  Multiply litres by 10 to get the flow rate of your shower in litres per minute.

Where can I actually feel the output of a water efficient showerhead - I won’t buy one if it doesn’t feel good? 

 A 3 star showerhead in another location may be on a different water pressure system from your home so feel slightly different, but you could

  • Ask friends and neighbours
  • Ask your plumber
  • Book a Home Energy Saver visit if you live in Upper Hutt or Wellington city (the assessor brings a 3 star showerhead in case you need one)
  • Visit a working display at Plumbing World on Keneperu Drive, Porirua
  • Visit a working display available most days at Home Ideas Centre in Petone

Who else recommends water saver showerheads?

Consumer NZ tested a number of water efficient showers for comfort and recommended three of them.

I’m on tank water supply and want to buy a showerhead better than 3 stars but can’t seem to find one in New Zealand?

In a water rating anomaly, even the most efficient showers have only 3 stars in NZ because of the available testing.  However, when you read the flow rate you will find showerheads with flow rates as low as 5 or 6 L/min.  Click here to see an example but look around for others by reading the flow rate of 3 star showers rather than looking for 4 stars.

I’d love to save power and water but won’t be doing up my bathroom any time soon.  Any suggestions?

You may be able to change just the showerhead depending on your existing plumbing and household water pressure.  Alternatively, you could try inserting a flow restrictor into your showerhead (a flow restrictor usually costs less than $20),   after measuring your current flow rate.

How can I encourage my family to take shorter showers?

After talking with people at local events, we now suspect that a lot of hot water in winter is wasted as steam is used to warm up bathrooms. In winter, shorter shower times happen in smaller bathrooms with a heater.  You might consider installing a steam stopper or shower dome over a standalone shower - we are hearing this reduces power bills immediately, and eases family congestion!

Why is rinsing hair mentioned as a plus?

Busy women tell us they prefer a showerhead with better pressure for hair washing so they can get through showering quicker. Less time in the shower means less water, less energy, and less bathroom congestion for busy families.  Retailers use technical terms like “penetration of the water jets vs coverage” to discuss the same issue.

We have instant gas heating and my flatmate spends unbelievably long in the shower which costs a fortune.  Is there a timer available that turns the hot water off?

Gas hot water heating without cylinder water storage may have a “run bath” setting.  This allows a maximum volume of hot water run at any one time to be pre-programmed.  It doesn’t matter if the hot water is running out of the bath tap or the showerhead, once that volume has been reached the hot water will turn off.  Also, some systems have control panels inside the house that have a manual off switch. Discuss this water efficiency campaign with your flatmate first though!

My partner and I prefer different types of shower heads and thought a twin installation might be good.  Will it cost us a lot more in ongoing hot water/ power bills?

It doesn’t need to.  Install a 2 way diverter then choose two different showerheads that are both 3 star rated.

Does a bath use less than a shower?

A bath can be a better option than a long shower, especially if you need warmth on tired muscles. If you are showering for longer than 10-15 minutes then enjoying a half filled bath may save you water and energy.

Are young people learning about water efficiency in homes at school?

Yes, Aquarius Water Saver and Turning on the Tap are two free teaching resources available to local schools.  Read about them here.