Drought gadgets

February 6, 2008 3:15:10 PM PST
It's no secret we're in a water crisis and we're all being asked to do our part and conserve.

But did you know that some shower heads use up to seven gallons a minute? Well, low-flow shower heads claim to give you just as comfortable a shower using a fraction of the water.

But do they work? And would your family be satisfied with them?

A good shower head can make all the difference in starting your day out right. And we're testing two low-flow shower heads that promise you won't miss your old wasteful one. Both use something called the "Venturi Principle".

Boiled down, that means the water is pushed through a special accelerator and injected with air inside the shower head. This way it feels like a good, powerful spray using much less water.

Jim and Hanna Compton agreed to give two different models a try. First, Jim installed the Delta 1.6 gallon per minute low-flow.

Jim says, "This one was a little rough. It was more of a spray than a steady stream of water." His wife Hanna agrees, "It wasn't consistent."

A wide steady spray all coming hard out of just one hole. Also it's not adjustable. Jim adds, "This one stung a little bit more than our usual shower head." Hanna adds, "It wasn't a very good experience."

In the Compton's other shower, Jim installed a "Niagara Earth" shower head. This one uses even less water as it only uses 1.5 gallons per minute Hanna says, "I like this one because it had three settings, which especially in a family when you have multiple people using a shower, having multiple settings might to be nice."

Also, the water comes out of nine holes giving the shower a more consistent pressure. The Compton's say the Niagara Earth shower is a hit in their household. Jin says, "It was actually better I think than our regular head." Hanna adds, "I think we would spend that money to invest in a new one."

The bottom line is they both do work in saving water, which is most important in this drought. So, we give the 1.5 gallon per minute "Niagara Earth" a thumbs up. It just costs about $20, it works wonders.

But we have to give the Delta 1.6 gallon per minute "low-flow " a thumbs down. It works and it's less than $15 but the hard, non-adjustable spray is a big drawback. The best feature for both, you could save up to 7,300 gallons of water a year by switching to one of these or a comparable model.

It's Wednesday and that means we're trying it before you buy it, in our does it work segment.


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