Every time you turn on the faucet to get a drink, wash dishes or cook, you may not realize exactly how much water comes out of your faucet. There is a way to measure water use and that is by determining the gallons per minute, or how many gallons of water the faucet dispenses in one minute. Taking note of this measurement helps homeowners conserve and save water resources.
A typical kitchen faucet uses about 3 gallons of water per minute. This water flow rate varies among brands and it even changes from home to home. Not all homes have the exact same water pressure, so in one home a certain faucet will produce more or less water each minute, depending on how high the water pressure is. This flow rate means that washing dishes for 10 minutes and leaving the water on the whole time uses 30 gallons of water.
Low Flow Faucets
A low flow faucet uses less water, and typically produces up to 2.5 gallons per minute. Some low flow rate faucets have a flow rate as low as 1.5 gallons per minute. Again, this measurement depends on your home's water pressure. The faucet has an adapter or cartridge designed to restrict water flow rates. Additional factors affect water flow rates, like the size of your supply hoses and any additional flow reducing parts on the faucet like low flow aerators.
Measuring Flow Rates
To measure the flow rate of your faucet, turn it all the way on and hold a gallon sized jug or bucket underneath it. Set a stop watch to one minute and start the countdown, or simply click the stop watch on and wait until it hits a minute. Measure the amount of water in the gallon jug or bucket after a minute. This is the gallon per minute flow rate. Or, wait 30 seconds, measure the amount of water in the container and multiply it by 2 for a gallon per minute reading.
Installing Low Flow Aerators
If you do not wish to install a low flow faucet, simply install an aerator designed to reduce flow rates. Different aerators offer varying degrees of water flow rate reduction. With a low flow aerator on a low flow faucet, usage can drop between 1 to 2 gallons per minute.Find one that reduces your water flow enough to bring your faucet into a reasonable range. If it currently produces 3 gallons per minute, buy an aerator that reduces flow by at least 1 gallon per minute or more. These items cost around $1 as of the date of this publication and are available at most hardware outlets.