Hello and welcome to theplumbinginfo.com we are in the process of doing a massive 31 shower head report on low flow head performance. During our testing one of our manufacturers featured in the report brought to our attention some interesting information on the relationship between eco shower heads and shower valve performance. We thought we’d pass that information along to you. This article was written by Mr. Bob Chilpala a Business Development Manager from Symmons. Thank you Bob we appreciate the contribution.
“Water conservation is a growing trend in the plumbing industry and one that is not expected to slow down in the near future. Homeowners and property managers are seeking ways to reduce water consumption for the cost savings benefits but also the environmental impact. Regardless of the motivation for reducing water consumption each property manager or homeowner must take into consideration the safety impact associated with low flow plumbing fittings in the shower.
Installing a low flow showerhead impacts more than just the water flow, it impacts the performance of the shower valve. Showerhead flow rates vary ranging from 2.5 down to 1.5 gpm and the ASSE regulations state that a valve with a showerhead operating with a flow rate of 2.5gpm must control the water temperature within 3.6 degrees of the set point during a pressure disturbance. Almost all manufactures’ valves still comply with this standard at 2.0 gpm and some with 1.75 gpm. However, as the flow rate is lowered, there is an increased risk that that valve may not be able to maintain the plus or minus 3.6 degrees from set point temperature test criteria contained in ASSE 1016-2005. When flow rates are reduced through the showerhead the lower flow rate can compromise the safety functionality of the valve. The resulting lack of control of the water temperature equates to non-compliance with the aforementioned ASSE standard.
The key to a safe, low flow shower experience is knowing that the valve installed behind the wall is capable of handling the lower flow rate. For simplicity, selecting a safety type mixing valve and low flow showerhead within a single manufacturers offing is best.
SDO’s (SDO stands for Standards Development Organization. This is the organization/team that is selected randomly to test products and set standards that manufacturers stand by) are in the process of developing new standards to prepare standards for the safety of low flow showerheads and valve performance. In the future, professionals and consumers will have a better choice guide for compatibility because manufacturers will publish their packaging with the valve and showerhead flow rates.”