Shower Flow Restrictors
Shower flow restrictors are simple orifices intended to lower the flow rate of the showerhead and thereby reduce total consumption. Restrictors can either be an integral (but removable) part of a new showerhead or they can be “after-market” inserts that are installed at a point between the shower arm and the showerhead itself.
Integral restrictors are used by the showerhead manufacturer to reduce the flow and meet the 2.5-gpm (9.5 Lpm) Federal maximum allowable flow rate. Because they usually are easily removed (for cleaning), it gives the user or installer the opportunity to increase the flow rate to a level that exceeds 2.5-gpm (9.5 Lpm). This undesirable characteristic permits the user to defeat the purpose of the Federal maximum. Furthermore, some showerhead manufacturers facilitate the circumvention of the Federal law by including information in or on their packaging that instructs the customer on how to remove the restrictor.
After-market flow restrictors are readily available that accomplish the task of reducing the showerhead flow to some more-efficient rate. In the past, such devices were distributed widely by water and energy utilities. In many cases, though, the effect of the restrictor was to render the shower experience unsatisfactory (lower pressure and force). So, with the introduction of very efficient showerheads (2.0 gpm - 7.6 Lpm and lower) at competitive pricing by a variety of companies, it has proven more feasible for the utilities to simply give their customers the complete showerhead, rather than only a restrictor.