All Our Shower Heads In My House Have Been Hacked

The first thing I do when I buy a shower head is make sure that the design has a flow restrictor ring (put in to comply with US law) that can be removed.  First thing I do after I buy a shower head is remove the ring.

If they want me to use less water, then raise the price beyond the ridiculously low prices we have now, prices that clearly do not match supply with demand.  It is not we consumers in Arizona that are draining Lake Powell, it is politicians who price water below any kind of reasonable supply/demand clearing price to gain some incremental love at the ballot box  (also, politicians prefer command and control legislation of the shower head variety to allowing the price mechanism to work automatically).  More here.


  1. Kyle Bennett:

    Ssshhhh! They'll start requiring that they be integral, then what will we do? I can just see it now, "Pre-Ban Used Shower Head" on eBay, starting bid $199.99.

  2. Peter:

    I have a very nice shower tower and each and every one of the 6 shower heads complies with the 2.5 gallon per minute US law.

  3. Not Sure:

    Kramer: Hey. Super's in my bathroom changing my shower head. Have they changed your shower head?

    Jerry: No, he's doing mine next. They're low flow you know.

    Kramer: Low flow? Well I don't like the sound of that.

  4. Dr. T:

    You're so mean! Think of all those little old ladies in tiny dingy apartments living on fixed incomes who will have to pay ten times as much for the two gallons of water they each use per day.

    That's the standard argument I've heard for the absurdly low pricing of municipal water. It makes much more sense to charge a high price and give subsidies to the few who need them. (And, it makes more sense for destitute persons to move to other areas of the country where the costs of living are lower.)

  5. Captain Obviousness:

    That's all well and good, but what can I do about the low flow toilet in my apartment that needs to be flushed 3 to 7 times (or supplemented by dumping water from a bucket I keep handy) after I, um, make a very large deposit in said worthless toilet? Low-flow toilets only meet the needs of women, children and Frenchmen.

  6. CT_Yankee:

    My city handed out "free" low flow kits, followed up by a questionair. I said the toilet tank water dam was quickly removed because it no longer flushed right, and I mentioned the shower head only made a mist until I drilled out the middle of this rubber washer that seemed to be in the way. Never heard back.

    My new shower head had the plastic insert fall out when I installed it (careless of me), however the hand held shower wand actually had the restrictor fall back in again. Turns out it is also a one way valve. You lift the knob on the tub spout to redirect water to the wand. Without the valve the water seeps out of the hose when you turn off the water, back into the spout, which then drips for a long time. You could let it drip, lift the knob and let it flow out, or put the valve/restrictor back. Moral of the story, if the restrictor does fall out, keep an eye on where it rolls.

  7. Michael:

    "They’ll start requiring that they be integral" Plumbing fixtures are brass and integral restrictors can easily be drilled out.

    Many people don't know of the restrictors. I had a guy that wanted me to replace all his 1/2" pipe with 3/4" pipe so he could get a better shower.

  8. Fred Z:

    The whole concept of wasting water, as enunciated by greens and politicos mystifies me. Water doesn't go anywhere. We either evaporate it or, more likely, put it back into a river.

    The only thing we can waste is money, the money it takes to process and pipe the water. It's still my money, isn't it? for a while longer?

  9. Michael:

    I though this was funny.

    So the hunt is on for a technological fix. For years, auto makers have used turbochargers, which force more air into the engine, to boost power without burning more fuel.

  10. Mesa Econoguy:

    I was just taking a bath in our pool, and refilling it twice daily after the evaporation and chemical effect in AZ summers.

    That’s more efficient, right?

  11. John Moore:

    A few comments..

    I live in PV where I get my water from a parasitic private water company. For my medium sized pool and small lawn, I pay $150-200/month. This is partly because of the Bruce Babbitt created water conservation policy: water rates are based on per-capita usage. Paradise Valley has lots of resorts, so the per-capita (per resident) usage is very high. Hence the state mandates high rates. The EPA is another reason - we pay to remove nanoscopic quantities of asbestos and TCE from out water. And, of course, the water company is a regulated public utility, so they can charge monopoly prices.

    But more on point, a huge amount of southern Arizona water goes to growing crops in the desert. If the farmers paid anywhere close to market price, they would vanish, and there would be plenty of water for the cities. It's been a long time since I checked, but when I did, farmers were paying around $1/acre-foot, with subsidized electricity for pumping. I pay about $400/acre foot!

    Finally, on the billion dollar houses... the Brits, and maybe Canadians, use "million" and "billion" to mean something different thant 10^6 or 10^9.

  12. palm beach sugar daddy ken doll:

    government 101. first they declare a crisis where none exists - thank you so much, esteemed members of congress, for our low-flow, tiny-throated toilets that require multiple flushes and clog up at the drop of a....hat - then they legislate an unsatisfactory solution that pleases no one: maxi-clog toilets; dribble showerheads; unarmed military personnel....

    you could make a case that this world is another planet's hell, and our legislators are the demons assigned to torment us.

  13. Tim:

    You didn't hear it from me, but it was supposed that you could import for personal use and non-licensed installation, toilets from other countries; where they supply a luxurious 13.5 Litres per flush, eh?. These are available for sale at any home centre.

  14. David Zetland:

    Very funny post and comments. For those of you who want a serious discussion of this topic (how to price -- NOT ration -- water), check this out:

  15. ben:

    Fred Z has it right. The greens complain endlessles about sustainability. Water is certainly a renewable resource, perhaps the clasic example of it, and yet the state's treatment of it is no less ridiculous. Another example, I suspect, of the sham that is environmentalism. Whether an activity is sustainable or nor matters nought: greens want to regulate it either way and in equally silly ways.

  16. Red:

    Shower flow depends on both restriction and delivery pressure. When I was on well water, I drilled out the restrictor, and still only got 2.0 GPM, measured with a pail and a watch.

    Also, all low-flow toilets are not created equal. I currently have one that does not require 2-3 flushes. The plumbing is designed such that the water creates a jet suction action. Even though there is not enough water in the bowl to submerge large deposits, pull the lever and the deposits, loose towels, and a couple of stray cats will all disappear violently.

    On the other hand, 'low flow' units with an 1835 plumbing design fitted with a smaller tank won't cut it.

  17. happyjuggler0:

    David Friedman, Milton's anarcho-capitalist son, has a showerhead incident here that, while different, I was reminded of when reading this post.

  18. scotaku:

    Here in my small corner of MA, water is handled with a deft bureaucratic hand: We were asked to use less water in an effort to save the planet, and as a community we complied. Water use is down some 10% and nobody seems to be suffering.

    Except for the water company, who recently stated that they were going to have to increase their rates as the demand for water was lower, they'd not met their budgetary goals.

    So, use less yay. Pay more for using less not yay. My suggestion for the water dept. was not printed by the local paper.


  19. Rob:

    In Flagstaff the city charges $1.90 per thousand gallons for reclaimed water. (at least for homeowners).
    I was wondering what the rate was for potable water in PHX?

  20. Randall Scott:

    The price mechanism can do wonders.
    For building more lanes & roads, we should pay $0.50/gallon [on gas] more.

    When I lived in Tucson, there was a crazy council idea about not letting new rental units have individual washer/dryers (community complex facilities instead). Their reasoning was that people do loads at the full water level with only partial of capacity. One of my initial thoughts, besides freedom, was to just charge more for water.

    Hey, I was just viewing the Club for Growth, among the many classical-liberal, pro-capitalism, pro-liberty sites that I explore. For the list of blogs, I saw yours. Right on! It's good for your sound comments to get exposure.

  21. Randall Scott:

    Oh, another thing, that I forgot to type.

    AZ & NV should get most of the Colorado River, south of Lake Powell. For CA, only the Coachella & Imperial Valleys.

    Coastal CA (where I live) should not import any water outside of their watersheds. Water consumption should come from desalination plants (combined w/new nuke power plants). Prices would be 2-3 times as current.

    Also, let the delta smelt die. The Central Valley's fruit basket should be able to thrive, from water that flows to the Pacific.

  22. Not Sure:

    At all of the apartment complexes I've ever lived in (this is in SoCal), there were community laundry rooms. The washing machines were so simple a chimpanzee could use them- a dial selector for hot or cold wash, and a slot to put the quarters in. One t-shirt or 25 beach towels- you used the same amount of water. But then, knowing that the machines are going to be used by lots of different people, they probably have to be dumbed-down like that.

    OTOH- the washing machine I have in my basement has a dial selector for five different capacity levels. I somehow suspect that by using this control appropriately for the load I put in the machine, I will save water over the one-size-fits-all models.

  23. DrTorch:

    I don't understand the issue. I checked our use vs the numbers found here:

    I take long showers. We bathe, do laundry and dishes regularly. And yet our total use is well below (about 1/3 less) the cited indoor use.

    Recently, my wife has pursued ways of saving water b/c of her personal concern. She has been successful in finding these ways, that do nothing to add discomfort.

    That's for a family of 4.

    The big difference is this:
    We have a family of 5 (one infant) in our basement apt. As far as we know, they don't conserve at all.

    So in short, we have 9 people whose indoor+outdoor use is 2/3 of the cited average indoor use.

    It can't be that hard to conserve.

  24. smurfy:

    I work for a water utility that is currently transitioning to volumetric billing due to state law. One of the problems with volumetric billing is that, as scotaku points out, the utility's costs are largely fixed. The only cost that really varies with usage is the electricity required to push it around. Of course that changes as you move into areas with significant source development costs. My point is that if you have a meaningful volumetric billing component, you would run into the problem local governments that are funded on sales and property taxes are having.

    the thing I find interesting about the move to meters is the level of leak detection information that comes out of modern metering/radio systems. Of course this adds costs to the consumer as they now have to pay to fix their leaks but to a data geek (or a technocrat)the level of information is intoxicating.

    Another thing I find interesting are all the letters to the editor I see that basically say, "raise the volumetric rate component to a meaningful level to put the screws on those egregious big water users." The biggest, meanest water users: the public schools (we don't have much industry and no ag).

    My local water authority has an ad campaign: 60% percent of water used in this region is used for landscape irrigation. Maybe I should drill out my shower head so we can get that number down.

  25. palm beach sugar daddy ken doll:

    OTOH, living in nevada under actual serious drought conditions - the drought's now up to 10 years, plus or minus; and lake mead's dropped some 300-400 feet in that time - the notion of arizonans complaining about water rates/restrictions is ironic, at the very least. i lived in phoenix/mesa for 3 years or so. y'all still do the "irrigate the lawns" thing? (for non-arizonans, this is where phoenicians will flood their lawns - usually laid out in a shallow 'bowl' type setup - to a depth of 3-6", and let the water slowly sink in to the parched roots. in phoenix. in august. when it's [literally] 110 degrees plus, and doesn't get below 100 even at 3 AM.) some - those suffering from droughts, say - might find this STUNNING waste of water to be a tad profligate.

    or the miles and miles of cotton fields on the far western outskirts of phx. same thing: flood to 3-6", in august, only now we're talking about this happening on **thousands and thousands** of acres.

    admittedly, i last lived in AZ 15 years ago, so this might have changed. has it? if not, why not? the entire west is drying up badly due to the drought - some suggest this is the start of the return of normality: the last 100 years have actually been the **wettest** century in the last 10,000 years - so why is phoenix allowed to waste water like drunken sailors? (ok ok, i admit: bad analogy. but it's still a good question.)

  26. rm:

    new nuke plants will get old... and judging from San Onofre, built in America's heyday of money and engineering talent, we built even that opposite to the original engineering plans. Fukishima?

    Just save water by using it wisely! Why raise prices on a renewable resource?

  27. Mike Wils:

    Does anyone know if the Super Power High Pressure Shower Head has a flow restrictor ring that can be removed?

  28. Volume Products:

    A Volume's shower head filter is an example of a shower that can solve the problems so quickly and easily. It is currently going for only $ 49.95.The filter removes up to 95% of the chlorine contained in tap water, 98% or those heavy metals that are water soluble, for example lead, reduces lime scale, mold, fungi, shower head clogging and chemical absorption via the skin. It also removes micro-organisms and reduces hydrogen sulphide.

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