Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets are Among the Easiest Places to Save Water

There are two basic rules to follow:

  1. Shut off faucets whenever possible; and
  2. Make sure your faucets don't drip or leak.

Faucet water use accounts for 15-18% of the overall water consumption inside the typical household of four persons.  An average American household of 3 uses between 18.1 and 26.7 gallons (68.5 and 101.1 L) per day for all faucets (bathroom, kitchen, and utility sink).  This amounts to between 6,600 and 9,750 gallons (25 and 36.9 m3) per household per year for faucet use.  The main difference between a house that uses 9,750 gallons (36.9 m3) and 6,600 (25 m3) gallons per year is the flow rate of installed faucet aerators.  Reduce the faucet flow rate; save water.

savings from aerator

Reduce Flows, Save Water and Energy

The aerator (the screw-on tip of the faucet nozzle) restricts the maximum flow rate of water from the faucet. New kitchen faucets are usually equipped with a 2.2 gpm (8.3 Lpm) aerator.  Bathroom faucets can have aerators that restrict flow to 1.5, 1.2, 1.0, or 0.5 gallons per minute (5.7, 4.5, 3.8 or 1.9 Lpm).  Basic bathroom faucet aerators start at about $1 each and prices go up depending on the features you select.  Because hot water is frequently drawn from faucets, reducing flows also reduces hot water use which means energy savings.

WaterSense Labeled Aerators

WaterSense LogoOne of the best ways to reduce water use in the bathroom is to install faucet aerators that have earned the WaterSense label, thus ensuring their water efficiency and performance. WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucets and accessoriesthat use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute can reduce a sink's water flow by 30 percent or more from the standard flow of 2.2 gallons per minute without sacrificing performance.

Low Flow Bathroom Aerators = Water and Energy Savings

A basic bathroom faucet aerator is inexpensive and one of the most cost-effective water efficiency measures. It is always a good idea to bring your old aerator (and any associated washers) to the store with you when you purchase a new one to ensure that the new aerator will fit on your faucet fixture.

The water, wastewater, and energy saving benefits you get from installing new faucet aerators is primarily determined by your current aerators. But since faucet aerators are cheap and the water savings are well documented, it’s a safe bet that you will pay for your aerator investment in less than two years.

How to Fix a Leaky Faucet

Take Care in the Kitchen

Reducing the faucet flow rate in the kitchen below 2.2 gpm (8.3 Lpm) is easily accomplished by replacing the aerator, but the water savings may be somewhat limited.  Many faucet uses in the kitchen are not discretionary.  For example, filling a pot with water to make pasta.  Regardless of the faucet flow rate, the volume of water needed to fill the pot is the same.  Reducing the flow rate of the kitchen faucet saves water and energy, but also results in longer wait times to fill fixed volumes and can also reduce effectiveness for hand-washing to dishes.

Consider the Utility Sink

If your home has a utility sink in the laundry room or garage, you may have an excellent opportunity for easy water and energy savings by simply replacing the aerator.  Like the kitchen sink, it’s important to consider the frequent uses of water in the sink when selecting an aerator.  If you use the utility sink frequently to fill up buckets or tubs with water, it may make sense to use a higher flow aerator.  If the utility sink is mostly used for hand washing or cleaning, a lower flow rate will probably be just fine.  The lower the faucet flow rate the greater the water and energy savings.