Even though we all still need to brush our teeth, flush the toilet and take showers, California is in the throes of an historic drought that makes every drop of water precious. You can do your part to conserve our water supplies – not to mention save money — with some simple changes in your home, starting with changing your bath and kitchen fixtures to low flow water saving ones.
Low flow faucets and showerheads can cut water usage by as much as 40% with little noticeable difference to the person who is washing up. High-efficiency toilets perform well and can significantly reduce your water use. If you’re thinking about buying a new toilet or showerhead, check out the high-efficiency products listed in the Green Product Directory, a free, public resource for California homeowners.
Choosing the Right Low Flow Faucets
Here are some tips on what you need to know when shopping for a new low-flow kitchen or bathroom faucet:
- Standard kitchen, bathroom and laundry room faucets manufactured after 1992 are designed to allow a flow of no more than 2.5 gallons of water per minute (gpm). These days you can find faucets that use as little as 1.5 gpm.
- If you have a water-wasting faucet that you don’t want to replace, you can install a flow reducer that you can find in the plumbing department of your local home improvement store. The easiest and least expensive option is an aerator that screws into the faucet’s tip. An aerator adds air to the water stream to make the flow feel stronger.
- Other flow control devices to consider are laminar flow controls, which create multiple small-diameter parallel streams of water that are not aerated, and flow control valves that are installed under the sink at the junction of the angle-stop and faucet.
Saving More Money
Additional tips for saving water and money:
- Many water providers and local governments give property owners incentives to install water-saving toilets, faucets and shower heads because these fixtures reduce demand for water supplies and reduce the volume of waste-water that needs treatment.
- Want to know how much water a shower head or faucet really uses? Grab a watch and a bucket or container that holds at least one gallon and is marked with volume measurements. Turn the taps until they are fully open, hold the container under the stream of water, and time how long it takes to obtain one gallon of water. Then divide 1 gallon by the time (in minutes). For example, if it takes 30 seconds to obtain 1 gallon, then the flow rate is 2 gpm (1 gallon / 0.5 minutes). If it takes 18 seconds to obtain 1 gallon, then the flow rate is 3.3 gpm (1 gallon / 0.3 minutes).
- If you add a flow reducer to a faucet tip, remember to do simple periodic maintenance to keep it from becoming clogged. Just unscrew the flow reducer, rinse it clean of debris, and screw it back on.
To learn even more, browse the Green Product Directory for expert advice and unbiased recommendations on green home products that meet rigorous criteria for energy and water savings, recycled content, and health and indoor air quality. The Directory was developed by the nonprofit Build It Green with funding from Alameda County’s StopWaste.
Green products are beautiful, durable, and they lower your utility bills and maintenance costs. Whether you’re planning a top-to-bottom remodel or just replacing a shower head, start your research today at the Green Product Directory at GreenPointRated.com/Products.
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