Showerheads

THE PRODUCT:

A showerhead is a plumbing fixture that directs water onto a bather.

THE STANDARD:

Congress established national showerhead standards as part of the Energy Policy Act in 1992, and they took effect in 1994. The standards set a maximum flow rate of 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute).

Congress instructed DOE to update the standards when the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) amended their standards. In December 2010, with no ASME revisions on the books, DOE officially waived federal preemption of the national showerhead standards. This waiver of federal preemption allows states to set standards provided they are more stringent than the national standard.

Showerheads that use no more than 2.0 gpm can earn the WaterSense label. WaterSense is an EPA partnership program (similar to EnergyStar) which identifies products that save water and energy, save money, and meet a minimum threshold of performance.

In 2010, New York City set showerhead standards at 2.0 gpm, effective July 2012, followed by Colorado in June 2014 and Vermont in May 2018. In California, following the Governor's 2015 emergency declaration (drought-related), the California Energy Commission (CEC) set a 2-tier showerhead standard. Tier 1, effective July 1, 2016, set a maximum flow rate of 2.0 gpm. Tier 2, effective July 1, 2018, set a maximum flow rate of 1.8 gpm. The CEC also set minimum performance requirements to ensure consumer safety and satisfaction. 

In 2019, Hawaii and Washington state, adopted showerhead standards at 1.8 gpm, and New York state adopted showerhead standards at 2.0 gpm.

KEY FACTS:

According to EPA's WaterSense, if every household in the US switched to a 2.0 gpm WaterSense labeled showerhead, "we could save more than $2.9 billion in water utility bills and more than 260 billion gallons of water annually. In addition, we could avoid about $2.5 billion in energy costs for heating water." They note that showering accounts for about 17% of indoor residential water use.

ASAP estimates that 73 % of showerhead models on the market already meet WaterSense standards.

Timeline

Federal Date States
2022 NY Standard Effective
2021 WA Standard Effective
2021 HI Standard Effective
2020 VT Standard Effective
2019 NY Standard Adopted
2019 WA Standard Adopted
2019 HI Standard Adopted
2018 VT Standard Adopted
2016 CO Standard Effective
2016 CA Standard Effective
2015 CA Standard Adopted
2014 CO Standard Adopted
1st Federal Standard Effective 1994
EPACT Initial Federal Legislation Enacted 1992
1st Federal Standard Adopted (Congress) 1992

Timeline reflects state standards from 2001 to present; federal standards from inception to present.