Environmentally-friendly options have grown to dominate just about every industry. Everywhere you look, they are available. The plumbing industry is no different. When it comes to the plumbing industry, the most common environmentally-friendly option is a low-flow option. There are low-flow toilets, sinks, and showers. In the simplest sense, they are fixtures that use less water than their traditional counterparts. They also include some innovations to make that a little less noticeable. Here’s how they work.
Low-flow showerheads are some of the most popular changes. A traditional shower head is limited to 2.5 gallons per minute. A low-flow showerhead is often half that flow rate. To make it not seem like you’re getting half as much water, low-flow heads often have more holes for spraying water. They also inject more air into the stream. So you end up with the same amount of coverage but with half as much water.
There are also low-flow toilets. A typical toilet uses 1.6 gallons per flush. A low-flow toilet can use about 1.2 or 1.3 gallons per flush. That might not seem like a very significant difference, but it can add up to several gallons per day. Oftentimes, the design of a low-flow toilet has to be a little more precise than a traditional toilet. Older toilets used three, five, or even seven gallons per flush. They didn’t need much innovative design to ensure that they flushed completely. A low-flow toilet has to be carefully designed. Early models didn’t work as expected and gave the entire category a bad name. New low-flow toilets work as well as traditional toilets and save you money.
A low-flow sink often involves a sink faucet that sprays a sphere of water. A traditional faucet releases a column of water; however, most of this water is wasted down the drain. A low-flow sink sprays a jet of water that is a higher pressure but contains less water. Since it’s higher pressure, it can clean just as well as a greater volume of water. Many homeowners who have low-flow sinks have reported washing their dishes just as well as they ever did but with less water. A typical kitchen faucet uses about 1.8 gallons per minute. A low-flow kitchen faucet uses about .5 gallons per minute.
If you want these benefits without making a drastic change, you can often have a plumber install a low-flow aerator. This injects air into your fixture without requiring you get an entirely new fixture. Ask a professional about one.