Energy & Environment

Biden administration reverses Trump rule allowing more powerful shower heads

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The Energy Department on Tuesday announced a rollback of a Trump-era rule that had loosened restrictions on water flow in showerheads.

The new rule restores 2013 regulations on how much water can be carried through showerheads. Under the earlier rule, the entire shower was considered under rules restricting flow to 2.5 gallons per minute. The Trump revision changed the definition of “showerhead” to every nozzle in a single product, meaning a single shower fixture could carry two or three times the previous limit in some cases.

The restoration is not projected to have major impacts on the showerhead market. The earlier revision came not as a result of the industry lobbying but rather frequent complaints from Trump himself that current showerheads did not carry enough water.

“You take a shower, the water doesn’t come out. You want to wash your hands, the water doesn’t come out. So what do you do? You just stand there longer or you take a shower longer? Because my hair — I don’t know about you, but it has to be perfect,” the former president said in 2020.

The Obama-era rule was an update of 1994 regulations, meant as an update to reflect the manufacturing of shower fixtures with multiple nozzles.

The Energy Department had signaled a return to the 2013 rule as early as July, when it announced a proposal to restore the status quo. At the time, the department said it was not aware of any showerheads introduced to the market under the looser rules.

The Trump-era rule change attracted more support from conservative and pro-free market groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which said in a statement Wednesday that “[c]onsumers should be able to decide for themselves what kind of showers they buy and use, and do so free from regulatory constraints.”

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