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How to Choose the Perfect Showerhead, Part One

mccarley cabinets bathroom renovation showerhead

(Photo credit: Pexels)

At some point throughout history, showers went from just being a necessary part of good hygiene practice to being an experience people use to relax and unwind from life’s daily chaos. One of the most exciting aspects of having your bathroom renovated is getting a new, updated showerhead with today’s latest technology. Like all other reno decisions, choosing the right showerhead for your home and lifestyle is a crucial step in the renovation process.

Under Pressure

Choosing the right showerhead begins with understanding how much water pressure flows through your shower. Water pressure in most showerheads fluctuates between 40 and 60 pounds per square inch(psi). In the mid 1990’s, the Environmental Protection Agency begin limiting the amount of water produced in showers to 2.5 gallons per minute(gpm). This means any homes or shower units built after the mid 90’s were built according to the EPA’s new limitations, which makes choosing a new shower head in homes built after that time a bit easier than if you are renovating a bath in an older home.

mccarley bathroom renovation showerheads

(Photo credit: Kohler)

All Things Considered

Let’s look at a few considerations you should take in mind. Another change for baths that came about in the mid 90’s was the implementation of automatic temperature compensation valves, or ATC valves. ATC valves help keep your shower water temperature constant to prevent scalding or shower shock, even when someone turns on water in another part of the home or flushes the toilet. One tell-tale sign that your shower may not have an ATC valve is if it operates with separate hot and cold handles. If you want a low-flow showerhead, insuring that your shower has an ATC valve is a must. It’s important to note that older ATC valves may be designed to support a higher flow of water, which can still lead to shower shock or scalding with a low-flow showerhead. This problem can often be solved, however, by having a thermostatic mixing valve installed on the outlet. Other factors to consider in the shower head selection process include:

  • Type and size of household. Are you single with no children or have a family of four with pets? In a home with multiple people, choosing a showerhead with multiple spray options often works best.

  • Type of hardware. If you plan to keep your shower’s existing hardware, you should choose a showerhead that matches it.

  • The importance of water pressure versus water volume. In most cases, water pressure is more important than volume.

  • Sensory experience. Do you want a steam generator or lights in your showerhead? With today’s technologies, your shower is more than a place to get clean. It’s an experience.

In the second half of our choosing the perfect showerhead series, we’ll take a look at the different types of showerheads and how to know which type is the right one for your household. Stay tuned!

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