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Oxijet insert lowers water consumption without low pressure

By Damir Beciri
13 February 2013

oxijet-insert-aerated-water-savingsAs you could notice in our articles about architecture, lower water consumption is a big deal. While most of the mentioned solutions rely on re-use and low-flow fixtures, a group of researchers at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) developed Oxijet – a shower nozzle insert that can save up to 50 percent of water while providing the sensation of full pressure.

Oxijet insert can be fitted into most standardized shower heads, and it uses flow energy to draw air into the water stream. The technology works by jetting the water through four tiny nozzles, and sucking air into the stem of the showerhead. The air increases the volume and pressure of the water by creating tiny air bubbles within the stream.

“Traditional flow restrictors reduce flow and pressure, whereas Oxijet uses the flow energy to draw air into the water stream, making the water droplets hollow”, said Dr Jie Wu, a fluids specialist at CSIRO who led the team. “You get the illusion of increased water volume while you’re having a shower.”

The concept of using an aerated showerhead to save water is not new, but this approach allows you to keep your showerhead by adding a small aerator insert. Before looking forward to additional savings you might achieve after installing the Oxijet insert, I must disappoint people who already have their low-flow fixtures. Since the technology requires pressure to suck the air, it won’t work if the pressure isn’t sufficient. The pressure needed for Oxijet to operate is between 300 kPa and 1,000 kPa.

It is made from DR Brass, which is machined, and then chrome plated. The baffles are made from silicon rubber, thus enabling the insert to work on temperatures of up to 80°C (176°F). Another small nuisance of the aerated systems in general is the additional noise they create. Oxijet is no different although the baffles reduce the noise of the air entering the stream, because the noise of air exiting your showerhead is not preventable.

So, who actually needs this insert? If you haven’t switched to low-flow solutions yet or you want to enjoy full pressure showers again, you could use the Oxijet insert while keeping your showerhead. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, household water use is decreasing but prices are going up. Along lower the water consumption, the technology also lowers the costs of water heating. It could introduce huge savings in public use and hotels.

“With over 200 rooms we go through over 10 million liters [2.6 million gallons] of water per year, so any saving we can make is very important. We’ve found our customers prefer Oxijet over other ‘low flow’ shower heads, because it gives the illusion of full water pressure”, said Walter Immoos, General Manager of Novotel Northbeach.

New Zealand company Felton commercialized the product and performed rigorous tests according to Australian standards and they concluded it’s the equivalent of saving up to 50 percent of the water. Felton Oxijet insert is accredited by the Australian Watermark and Water Efficiency and Labelling Standards.

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