Reduce Waste by Lowering Flow Rates

Using less hot water may be easier than you think. Water conserving showerheads and faucet aerators can cut hot water use in half. To see if this will work for you, first determine what your faucet and shower flow rates are now.

Standard showerheads typically deliver 4-5 gallons per minute. Low-flow showerheads that use no more than 2.5 gallons per minute can be substituted. But be sure to get good quality products that do not simply restrict the flow, resulting in unsatisfactory performance. Ones that provide just a mist are not usually acceptable. Low-flow showerheads cost as little as $10 and should pay back that initial investment quickly in reduced energy bills.

Bathroom faucets usually have flow rates of 2 to 4 gallons per minute. Aerators cost just a few dollars, are easily installed, and can lower that rate to one-half to 1 gallon per minute. Just don't install them on faucets where your primary objective is filling something because it will take two to four times as long to fill with the lower flow rates.

One nice feature that really extends the value of these energy saving devices is an on-off valve. It allows you to turn off and on the water without changing the mix between hot and cold water. In a shower, this feature allows you to lather up and scrub with the water shut off, then press the button and the water comes back on at the same temperature mix for rinsing off.