Eleven gallons of water are used each day in the average home just from turning on the faucets. (Green 3D Home) While many environmental experts advocate shutting off the water in situations such as when you brush your teeth, there are other ways to reduce water usage when the faucet is turned on.
Replace Old Faucets
New faucets are designed to reduce the amount of water flow by as much as half. If you have a leaky faucet, a new model will save even more water. It is estimated that even a slow leak with a drip of once per minute can lead to an extra 54.75 gallons of water loss each year. That number goes up with a faster leak.
New faucets are designed to be more eco-friendly, and many carry the Watersense mark of approval, which signifies they meet standards from the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. Federal regulations require all new faucets to be more efficient than in the past, with no more than 2.2 gallons per minute. Older faucets may have flow rates as high as seven gallons per minute. Watersense faucets are required to keep water flow under 1.5 gallons per minute. By replacing old faucets in your kitchen and bathroom with Watersense products, you could save up to 500 gallons of water annually. (Eco Options)
You will find a large range of products in this category for your home. They offer numerous options, such as one- and two-handle models, or those with brushed nickel, brass, copper or numerous other finishes. Look for faucets that say “Low Flow” or have the Watersense seal of approval.
Replace the Aerators
If your faucets work perfectly and you do not want to spend the money to replace them, then the second option to save water is to replace the aerator inside the faucet. The aerator is located right at the end of the faucet and can usually be screwed on and off. They help to prevent splashing and can also improve water flow in a home with low water pressure. (Faucet aerator)
Modern aerators are designed to reduce the flow of water to help conserve use. You will find four main types of aerators:
- Full flow – does not impact the amount of water flowing out of the faucet
- Standard – allows 2.2 gallons of water per minute
- Water-saving – allows 1.5 gallons of water per minute
- Maximum saving – allows just 1.0 gallons of water per minute
You can remove the existing aerator to find out which size you need for replacement. There are generally two sizes: standard and junior, but you can find adaptors if you have an odd-sized aerator. Your basic stationary aerator is a low-cost item that can easily be purchased and installed on your faucets by hand. If the current aerator has been corroded, you may need assistance to remove it. Once it has been removed, you just screw on the new aerator.
Modern aerators come with special features, such as swivel style or diverter-style. You can also choose the type of water flow that comes out of your faucet if you do not want the standard flow. Some aerators allow the water to spray out like with a showerhead or you can select the laminar flow, which provides high flow. (Guide to Faucet Aerators)
One of the benefits of replacing the aerator over the faucet is that it is a DIY project even if you have limited home repair skills. It is also a low-cost option, because basic aerators only cost a few dollars.
Replacing your faucets or the aerators is one of the easiest ways to reduce water usage in your home. This not only helps protect the environment but helps you save money on water costs. I know that home improvement is not always a fun way to spend the weekend, but take a moment and evaluate how you are affecting the Earth. Leaving a clean, healthy atmosphere for our children’s children must be our goal for the future. So get up and involve your children in replacing your faucets. They will learn valuable techniques for maintaining a home and how to help do their part in protecting our Earth. The power is now!
Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA
President and CEO