New Water Flow Regulations Proposed in the U.S. for Showerheads, Dishwashers, & Washing Machines

Regulations on water usage have been implemented for decades due to droughts and energy efficiency (using fewer fossil fuels) in an effort to lower overall consumer costs. Higher usage drives prices up, which in turn causes non-renewable resources to diminish through time.

Since 1992, federal law has stipulated the amount of water pouring out of showerheads in one minute should be no more than 2.5 gallons. In 2013, newer shower fittings with multiple nozzles caused the Obama administration to define the restrictions and apply the 2.5-gallon rule to the entire fixture. Therefore, if a showerhead is comprised of four nozzles, no more than 2.5 gallons (total) should exit the nozzles within one minute.  

A new proposal enacted by the Trump administration would allow each nozzle to spray as much as 2.5 gallons, which could amount to five gallons of total water being spewed out per minute if two showerhead nozzles are installed. Multiply that by four or five, and showerheads could be pushing out 10 to 15 gallons per minute, costing consumers hundreds of dollars in usage bills.

The 28-year-old law was partially implemented due to the megadrought the western states have been experiencing for two decades. University of Michigan environmentalist Dean Jonathan Overpeck said, “[It is] the first observed multidecadal megadrought in recorded U.S. history.”

Additionally, the Trump administration has advanced easier dishwasher regulations that exempt fast-cleaning machines from decades-old rules. The Department of Energy created a separate product class for dishwashers with a short cycle, classifying them as the “normal” cycle, with no limit on energy or water use.

Over the past three decades, dishwasher water and energy use have declined by more than 50 percent due to federal standards and manufacturer innovations. The first energy-efficient standard for dishwashers was set in 1987 by Congress. It was updated three times since then, most recently in 2012 by the Department of Energy.

A third proposal by the U.S. Department of Energy would allow new clothes washers and dryers to waste unlimited amounts of water and energy. The current efficiency standards for washing machines were set in 2012 and save consumers roughly $365 over an appliance’s lifetime, with utility bills and purchase costs factored in.

The Department of Energy is prevented by federal law from weakening the efficiency standards. Still, the proposed new rule would dodge that regulation by creating a separate “product class” for machines using a short cycle, and renaming it their “normal” cycle, much like the proposal for dishwashers. No energy efficiency or water use standard would be implemented at first, as these developments take years. Many new washing machines come with a short cycle option.

The American Council for an Energy- Efficient Economy (ACEEE) reported that an analysis of performance, features, and price efficiency has improved since the standards were implemented. Simultaneously, product prices have decreased, meaning a better overall return on investment with these machines.

Clean water is vital for showering, laundry, and washing dishes. Ensure your water is chemical and rust-free with a consultation from the experts at Reynolds Water Conditioning.

Reynolds Water Conditioning was established in 1931 and is Michigan’s oldest water conditioning treatment company. Still owned and operated by the Reynolds family, we take pride in providing the highest quality products at a cost-effective price. If your tap water lacks the quality you deserve, contact us today at or call 800-572-9575.

Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: