Tuesday, July 14, 2009
How do flow restrictor shower heads work?
That's easy- While they obviously block the free flow of water there is little difference between the active mechanism of internal and external flow restrictors. (one fits inside the pipe and head where as the other is screwed on between the pipe and the shower head.)
External flow restrictors are usually more effective than the internal ones and are just as simple to install. The only difference is that you will see the external type from the outside since it does not rest inside the shower head and water pipe.
Flow restrictors contain precision-machined holes and filters or screens to restrict flow and reduce pressure. Flow restrictors vary in terms of both specifications and features. Specifications include orifice diameter, maximum pressure, maximum liquid flow rate, and flow tolerance.
Here are the general specs to take note of when choosing a flow restrictor for your house or building:
(Note that your size and pressure specs will be the most applicable when choosing a flow restrictor for your shower head or a shower head that includes one.)
Orifice Diameter: The size of the hole in the orifice.
Maximum Pressure: This is the maximum rated pressure through the orifice.
Maximum Liquid Flow Rate: The maximum flow of liquid through the orifice.
Flow Tolerance: Flow tolerance is expressed as a percentage.
Media Temperature: The maximum fluid temperature through the orifice.
How Do Change The Ones In My House?
What you are going to be most concerned with when installing your flow restrictor is the pressure rating, flow tolerance, and diameter/threading of the fixture you are working with. It's easiest to just take along your shower head or a correctly threaded/sized fixture and do a comparison at the store.
As far as the pressure goes you can test your water pressure with a standard pressure gauge available in the above link or your local hardware store. These typically screw onto any threaded exterior faucet and cost around 10 dollars.
If necessary you can also adjust your household water pressure to properly accommodate your new water saving features or alternately just to bring your shower back up to a tolerable pressure level. don't raise it above 80 psi though as you will end up wasting all the water you saved elsewhere.
Shower fixtures tend to oxidize or otherwise corrode so it is probably a good idea to enlist a can of wd40 or even just some common soap from your bathroom as you perform the installation.
As far as the actual procedure- a crescent wrench, and perhaps a pair of vise grips should suffice along with a small bit of common sense. Unscrew, change, rescrew- kapisch?
Where Can I Get Flow Restrictor Shower Parts and Fixtures?
All over the freakin place honestly- however I would recommend you check out this website:
as they offer a whole host of energy efficiency kits, water efficiency kits, plumbing fixtures, weatherization materials/kits and low energy lighting options. You really have to see the site to believe it! Everything there is reasonably priced and geared towards optimizing your houses energy and water efficiency.
I hope you have found this article helpful and have a good time making your home more efficient!
P.S. The logo below will take you right to their flow restrictor shower kit- and they stock aerators, atomizing shower heads and more as well...