Skip to main content

Hair Apparent: Trump Pushes ‘High-Performance’ Showerhead Agenda Forward as Sun Sets on Presidency


President Donald Trump‘s fixation on and concern about “high-performance” showerheads remains a priority, the Department of Energy revealed on Tuesday when announcing it had issued final rules on the subject.

Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette said in a statement that Trump administration had “affirmed its commitment to reducing regulatory burdens and safeguarding consumer choice,” ensuring that Americans “can choose products that are best suited to meet their individual needs and the needs of their families.”

The rulemaking concerns relatively pedestrian but straightforward policymaking that would, in most other presidencies, largely go without comment. The difference is that President Trump has railed against low-pressure sinks, showers and toilets, using multiple public appearances to take aim at water-efficient showerheads, decrying the decreased water-flow for interfering with washing his hair.

“We’re bringing back consumer choice in home appliances so that you can buy washers and dryers, showerheads and faucets. So showerheads — 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. Perfect,” Trump said to laughter and applause in July.

The Energy Department said it is taking steps to give Americans showerheads that provide “more water” and “more comfort”:

Congress has mandated a 2.5 gallon per minute limit on showerheads. DOE’s definition, now in line with the consensus standards from [American Society of Mechanical Engineers] ASME, states that each showerhead can emit up to the statutory limit. The prior definition, as interpreted by the Obama administration in 2013, stated that a device with multiple showerheads could only release 2.5 gallons per minute for the entire device. Today’s change will allow manufacturers to offer consumers new products that can provide more water and more comfort.

As Law&Crime previously explained, the administration, in rewriting its interpretation of what constitutes a “showerhead,” proposed allowing manufacturers to circumvent the maximum water use threshold of 2.5 gallon-per-minute (gpm) set by Congress in 1992.

A showerhead was previously defined as any unit designed to spray water onto a single bather, regardless of how many nozzles were included in the unit. That meant a showerhead’s water use rate was measured by turning all of the unit’s sprays and nozzles to their maximum flow settings, which had to be at or below 2.5 gpm.

In 2011, the Energy Department issued guidance stating that “it has always been the Department’s view that when Congress used the term ‘any showerhead’ it actually meant ‘any showerhead’ – and that a showerhead with multiple nozzles constitutes a single showerhead for purposes of EPCA [the Energy Policy and Conservation Act] water conservation standard.”

The final rule makes clear that, for the Trump administration, “each showerhead included in a product with multiple showerheads would separately be required to meet the 2.5 gallons per minute (‘gpm’) standard established in EPCA.”

The Energy Department noted, however, that showerheads aren’t the only household items of concern to the administration:

The department is concerned that cycle times for washers and dryers could become very long in the future—reducing the value of these critical time-saving devices. The final rule on washers and dryers allows manufacturers to offer new products that meet consumer demand for clothes washers and dryers that have shorter cycle times. The rule establishes separate product classes for residential clothes washers and clothes dryers with cycle times of less than 30 minutes (45 minutes for front-loading clothes washers).

President Trump has on a few occasions expressed his dismay over showerheads that did not allow him to wash his “beautiful hair properly.”

“You go into a new home, you turn on the faucet; no water comes out,” Trump memorably said in August. “You turn on the shower — if you’re like me, you can’t wash your beautiful hair properly. You waste 20 minutes longer. ‘Please come out.’ The water — it drips, right? You know what I’m talking — they put restrictors on. I got rid of that. I signed it out. That’s common sense.”

Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.

[image via MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images]

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow Law&Crime:

Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.