Bathroom and Kitchen Faucets

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    Look for this EPA WaterSense logo for fixtures that meet WaterSense criteria.
    Scope

    Install WaterSense® labeled bathroom sink faucets and accessories, which can reduce a sink's water use by 30 percent without sacrificing performance, and install kitchen sink faucets that are rated at a maximum of 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm). All bathroom sink faucet and kitchen faucet manufacturers are required by law to mark their products with the maximum flow rate. Although WaterSense does not currently label kitchen faucets, any kitchen faucet or faucet accessory marked as a 2.2 gpm fixture meets the requirements of this specification.

    WaterSense checklist #3.5.1 Bathroom Sink Faucets – All bathroom sink faucets shall be WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucets or faucet accessories (e.g., aerators). The faucet must have a flow rate that does not exceed 1.5 gallons per minute (gpm) (5.7 liters per minute [lpm]) at a pressure of 60 psi (414 kPa) at the inlet when water is flowing. A flow test does not exceed 0.25gal. The flow rate shall be no less than 0.8 gpm (3.0 lpm) at a pressure of 20 psi (138 kPa) at the inlet when water is flowing.

    WaterSense checklist #3.5.2 Kitchen Sink Faucets – All kitchen sink faucets shall comply with federal standards for a maximum flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm) (8.3 lpm). A flow test does not exceed 0.4 gal.

    See the Compliance Tab for related codes and standards requirements, and criteria to meet national programs such as DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home program, ENERGY STAR Certified Homes, and Indoor airPLUS.

    Description
    Infographic: Replacing faucets and aerators with WaterSense models can save 700 gallons per year - equal to 40 showers worth of water.
    Figure 1. Replacing faucets and aerators with WaterSense models can save 700 gallons per year - equal to 40 showers worth of water (Source: Courtesy of U.S. EPA WaterSense). 

     

    In order for a new home to earn the WaterSense® label, all bathroom sink faucets or faucet accessories must be WaterSense labeled. A lavatory faucet accessory is a device that can be added to or removed from a bathroom sink faucet (typically, it screws onto the tip of the faucet spout). Faucet accessories frequently serve as the flow control mechanism that determines if a faucet meets the minimum and maximum flow rate requirements of the WaterSense specification. Faucet accessories control flow rate either through flow restriction (narrowing the opening through which the water is discharged from the faucet) or flow regulation (adapting the width of the opening through which the water is discharged from the faucet based upon fluctuations in water pressure to maintain a constant flow rate). Faucet accessories include:

    • Aerators: Add air into the water stream to increase the sensation of flow (this is the most common type of faucet accessory).
    • Laminar flow devices: Force the water through small openings to produce dozens of parallel water streams, creating a more uniform flow and potentially reducing splash.
    • Other types of flow restrictors: Control flow through means other than aerating the water stream or creating laminar flow.
    • Other types of flow regulators: Control flow through means other than aerating the water stream or creating laminar flow, but also compensate for changes in water pressure.

    WaterSense 3.5.1 Bathroom Sink Faucets 

    To earn the WaterSense label, a bathroom sink faucet or faucet accessory must have a maximum flow rate of 1.5 gpm (5.7 lpm) when tested at 60 psi and a minimum flow rate of 0.8 gpm (3.0 lpm) when tested at 20 psi. WaterSense included the minimum flow rate requirement to ensure a high level of performance in locations with very low water pressure.

    Testing the flow rate of a bathroom sink faucet.
    Figure 2. Testing the flow rate of a bathroom sink faucet (Source: Courtesy of PNNL). 

     

    WaterSense 3.5.2 Kitchen Sink Faucets

    Since there is not a WaterSense label available for kitchen sink faucets, this specification relies on the current national standard for kitchen sink faucets—a maximum flow rate of 2.2 gpm (8.3 lpm) when tested at 60 psi (414 kPa). There are many kitchen sink faucets available with maximum flow rates significantly less than 2.2 gpm (8.3 lpm). When installing these lower flow models, contractors must be mindful of the difference in use and user expectations between bathroom sink and kitchen faucets. The major drawback of reduced maximum flow rates for all faucets is increased wait times for hot water and the filling of pots or containers. Kitchen sinks are more commonly used for filling containers, and increased wait times might not be tolerated in the kitchen.

    Third party inspectors will obtain a list of the make and model numbers for all bathroom sink faucets and faucet accessories installed in the home and verify that they have earned the WaterSense® label. The inspector will also check the maximum flow rate from all bathroom sink faucets and kitchen sink faucets to ensure that the aerators have not been tampered with or removed. To conduct the test, the inspector will use a small bucket under or attach a flow-measuring bag to the faucet spout, turn on the water completely while starting a stopwatch and, after 10 seconds, turn off the water and check the volume of water collected. The volume of water should be 0.25 gallons or less for bathroom sinks and 0.4 gallons or less for kitchen sink faucets.

    These criteria apply to all kitchen sink faucets including bar sinks. These criteria do not apply to pot-filling faucets, utility sink faucets, and laundry sinks.

    All faucets and attachable accessories are required by the ASME/CSA performance standard to be marked with their maximum flow rate. Checking the faucet marking will indicate if a bathroom sink faucet meets the WaterSense maximum flow rate, but not the minimum flow rate. To determine if the product meets all aspects of the WaterSense specification, look for the WaterSense label on the product packaging and documentation (the specification requires these materials to bear the WaterSense label).

    As with bathroom sink faucets, kitchen faucet manufacturers are required by law to mark their products with the maximum flow rate. Any faucet or faucet accessory marked as a 2.2 gpm fixture meets the requirements of this specification.

    The WaterSense website also provides a listing of labeled faucets and accessories here

    Testing the flow rate of a kitchen sink faucet.
    Figure 3. Testing the flow rate of a kitchen sink faucet (Source: Courtesy of PNNL). 

     

    Ensuring Success

    Bathroom sink and kitchen sink faucets account for approximately 15.7 percent of indoor residential water use in the United States, or about 1.1 trillion gallons of water used each year across the country. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 originally set the maximum flow rate for both lavatory and kitchen faucets at 2.5 gpm at 80 psi static pressure. In 1994, ASME A112.18.1M-1994–Plumbing Supply Fittings set the maximum flow rate for lavatory (bathroom) faucets at 2.2 gpm at 60 psi. In response to industry requests for conformity with a single standard, in 1998, the U.S. Energy Department adopted the 2.2 gpm at 60 psi maximum flow rate standard for all faucets (both kitchen and bathroom). Other than this maximum flow rate standard, there currently are no universally accepted performance tests or specifications (i.e., rinsing or wetting performance standards) for faucets.

    Residential water use graph.
    Figure 1. Residential water use (Source: Courtesy of U.S. EPA WaterSense).

     

    Climate

    No climate specific information applies.

    Right and Wrong Images
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    Right - EPA WaterSense-certified faucets help reduce hot water usage.
    Right - EPA WaterSense-certified faucets help reduce hot water usage.
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    Right – EPA WaterSense rated toilets reduce water usage.
    Right – EPA WaterSense rated toilets reduce water usage.
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    Right – EPA WaterSense-rated faucets reduce water usage compared to standard bathroom faucets.
    Right – EPA WaterSense-rated faucets reduce water usage compared to standard bathroom faucets.
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    Right – EPA WaterSense-rated showerheads, faucets, and toilets contribute to both water and energy savings.
    Right – EPA WaterSense-rated showerheads, faucets, and toilets contribute to both water and energy savings.
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    Compliance

    The Compliance tab contains both program and code information. Code language is excerpted and summarized below. For exact code language, refer to the applicable code, which may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

     

    DOE Zero Energy Ready Home (Revision 07)

    Exhibit 1 Mandatory Requirements.
    Exhibit 1, Item 1) Certified under the ENERGY STAR Qualified Homes Program or the ENERGY STAR Multifamily New Construction Program.
    Exhibit 1, Item 4) Water heaters and fixtures shall meet efficiency criteria.

     

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WaterSense® New Home Specification

    The EPA WaterSense New Home Specification states that:

    3.5.1 Bathroom Sink Faucets – All bathroom sink faucets shall be WaterSense-labeled bathroom sink faucets or faucet accessories (e.g., aerators).  See the EPA WaterSense product search website for a list of labeled faucets and accessories.

    3.5.2 Kitchen Sink Faucets – All kitchen sink faucets shall comply with federal standards for a maximum flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm) (8.3 lpm).

     

    Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Resource Manual for Building WaterSense Labeled Homes Version 1.2

    The EPA Resource Manual for Building WaterSense Labeled Homes Version 1.2 states that:

    All bathroom sink faucets shall be WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucets or faucet accessories (e.g., aerators). All kitchen sink faucets shall comply with federal standards for maximum flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm) (8.3 lpm).

    Existing Homes

    Guidance for the measures described in this guide is applicable to both new and existing homes.

    For more information, see the U.S. Department of Energy’s Standard Work Specifications regarding Water Use Reduction.

    More Info.

    Access to some references may require purchase from the publisher. While we continually update our database, links may have changed since posting. Please contact our webmaster if you find broken links.

    References and Resources*
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    PDF detailing the inspection and verification guidance for WaterSense labeled new homes including indoor and outdoor efficiency requirements, and homeowner and building management education.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides a directory of products that meet WaterSense program requirements.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides a directory of products that meet WaterSense program requirements.
    *For non-dated media, such as websites, the date listed is the date accessed.
    Building Science Measures
    Building Science-to-Sales Translator

    Low Flow Fixtures =

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    Technical Description

    Water-conserving fixtures reduce water usage and the amount of energy needed to heat that water. Faucets and showerheads are designed to save water but provide the same experience as typical fixtures. The WaterSense label (from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) takes the guesswork out of choosing the right fixture.


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