A Better Shower
Ecocamel Jetstorm handheld wand conserves resources while providing a powerful, yet soft, spray of water
Taking a shower in an RV can be a less-than-invigorating experience. Most of the showerheads supplied by RV builders struggle to provide a stream of water strong enough to wash the soap off our bodies, without letting the water run for what seems like an eternity. Throw in the limited amount of hot water in most RVs, and showering can be a real challenge, especially while washing long hair. Ecocamel’s Jetstorm shower wand can liven things up and conserve water at the same time.
The Jetstorm was developed in Australia after thousands of hours of testing, and it uses a pretty simple principle to make it function as advertised: It forces air into the water stream. Air enters the handle through small holes and turbulence is created as the air and water mix. The spinning process increases the pressure inside the wand. And water flow is restricted to a maximum of 2.1 gallons per minute, a specification that, as you’ll see later, is more significant when hooked up to city water.
Admittedly, my first impression of a “water-saving” showerhead was met with a little skepticism. I’ve seen these devices come and go over the years and only a few pass muster. This one works really well, but you can’t get hung up on flow rate or the amount of water that passes through the showerhead. Let me explain.
Before I installed the wand in an RV shower, I swapped the showerhead in my house for the Jetstorm fixed-head version. The house shower was originally fitted with a high-end German-made showerhead that provided a good stream of water. The difference was dramatic, with the Jetstorm head outperforming the original by leaps and bounds. What used to require “full throttle” on the flow valve was reduced to less than a quarter turn.
We then tested the wand in real-world RV conditions, without hookups, comparing the flow rate of the standard showerhead with the Jetstorm. After adjusting the hot and cold valves for personal comfort, the numbers revealed that the Jetstorm actually used more water: The generic showerhead flowed at 98 ounces per minute and the Jetstorm used 144 ounces per minute, via the demand water pump. But the stream of water from the stock showerhead was anemic when compared to the Jetstorm. It took less than half the time to take a good shower — and the difference was even greater when washing long hair. From a practical standpoint, even though the flow rate was technically higher with the Jetstorm wand, it’s safe to assume that the new showerhead, in fact, will ultimately save water. Of course, all bets are off if the improved spray of water lures users into lingering in the shower. Using a quality single-lever mixing valve — rather than the cheesy two-handle plastic one that comes in most RVs — will impact water consumption because flow can be adjusted (reduced) more effectively without wasting water to control temperature. The Jetstorm spray is so efficient it’s not necessary to run at near or full pressure, which was required during the test due to the rudimentary two-handle mixer valve.
The stream of water was not only stronger and wider, but the feeling on our bodies was soothing with just enough force to wake up our pores; unlike some water-saving showerheads, there was no stinging. Ecocamel claims the experience is better because the water droplets are lighter and softer so they burst on our skin easily and the water soaks in rather than splashing on the shower stall walls. Not being a scientist in the field, I’ll acquiesce to its technical description, supported by the reduced overspray on the glass shower enclosure.
Installation is a no-brainer; simply unscrew the old showerhead and hook up the new one. Each hand-held wand comes with a nice stainless-steel hose that, unlike the cumbersome plastic counterparts typically supplied by the coachbuilder, is flexible and easy to handle. The fixed-head version can be used in showers that are so equipped.
Build quality is very good and the faceplate has rubber nodules that can be wiped clean to prevent lime scale buildup. We used the showerhead at home every day for months and normal scale buildup due to horrendously hard water was not evident. Our only concern when it came to using the showerhead in the RV was the lack of a shut-off valve to further conserve water. After a conversation with the company rep, a shut-off valve ($4.95), which works very smoothly, is now offered.
The Jetstorm wand or fixed-head model sells for $39.95 and can be purchased from the company’s online store. The showerhead swap was an eye-opening experience, literally.
Ecocamel | 800-419-7000 | www.ecocamel-showerheads.com