Bathroom Faucets

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    Look for this EPA WaterSense logo for fixtures that meet WaterSense criteria.
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    Install WaterSense® labeled bathroom sink faucets and accessories, which can reduce a sink's water use by 30 percent without sacrificing performance. All bathroom sink faucet manufacturers are required by law to mark their products with the maximum flow rate.

    WaterSense Mandatory Checklist Requirement 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.

    See the Compliance Tab for related codes and standards requirements, and criteria to meet national programs such as DOE’s Zero Energy Ready Home programENERGY STAR Single-Family New 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 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 Mandatory Checklist Requirement 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). 

     

    Third party verifiers 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 verifier 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 verifier 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 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).

    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® Home Specification

    The EPA WaterSense Home Specification states that:

    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.

    All bathroom sink faucets shall be WaterSense labeled bathroom sink faucets or faucet accessories (e.g., aerators).

    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.

    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
    Brochure providing information for homeowners, builders, verifiers, and facilities including an overview of program criteria, the certification process, and EPA-approved home certification organizations for water-efficient homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense...
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Document of requirements including checklist that establishes the criteria for water-efficient homes under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program, Version 2.0.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Website providing a description of the WaterSense labeled homes program and a checklist of mandatory requirements for homes to be labeled under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) WaterSense program, Version 2.0.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    List providing information on all Home Certification Organizations (HCO) and their specific WaterSense Approved Certification Methods (WACMs). HCO specific factsheets: CHEERS, Green Builder Coalition, Home Innovation Research Labs, Home Innovation Research Labs - WRI, RESNET
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides a directory of individuals that have successfully completed all requirements of at least one WaterSense Approved Certification Method (WACM) through a Home Certification Organization (HCO).
    Author(s)
    EPA
    Organization(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Publication Date
    Description
    Resource that provides a directory of individuals that have sucessfully completed all requirements of at least one WaterSense labeled professional certification program.
    Author(s)
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    Organization(s)
    EPA
    Publication Date
    Description
    Website providing lists of WaterSense-qualified products for home plumbing and irrigation equipment that meet the requirements of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) WaterSense program.
    *For non-dated media, such as websites, the date listed is the date accessed.
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    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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