What does GPM mean and why is it important to your daily shower? Believe it or not, it’s the law! Your shower head is covered by federal and possibly local regulations.
What is GPM?
GPM means Gallons Per Minute. Also known as “flow rate”, GPM is a measure of how many gallons of water flow out of your shower head each minute.
Since 1992, a maximum of 2.5 GPM is the federally mandated flow rate for new shower heads. This means no more than 2.5 gallons of water should flow out each minute.
The GPM flow rate for shower heads has decreased over time. If your current shower head was made in the 1980’s or 1990’s, its flow rate could be 3.5 GPM or more!
Why is shower head GPM or flow rate important?
Federal, state, and local governments regulate shower head GPM flow rates, because the potential for water and energy savings are significant. A standard 2.5 GPM shower headuses 2.5 gallons of water each minute. That’s 25 gallons for a 10-minute shower.
VS. A low-flow 2.0 GPM shower headuses 2.0 gallons of water each minute. That’s only 20 gallons for a 10-minute shower.
If everyone in the U.S. installed 2.0 GPM shower heads, the EPA estimates annual savings of:
- 260 billion gallons of water
- $2.2 billion in water utility bills
- $2.6 billion in energy costs for heating water
That’s a lot of billions!
How do local governments regulate shower heads?
To conserve resources and save money, some state and local governments mandate even lower GPM flow rates than the federal regulation.
- New York City adopted a 2.0 GPM standard in 2010
- California and Colorado adopted a 2.0 GPM standard in 2016
- California will move to a 1.8 GPM standard in July 2018
And many communities offer incentives and rebates to residents who voluntarily install low-flow shower heads.
December 27, 2017