We’ve already talked about the biggest places in your home where you’re most likely to waste water, which can drive up your water bills and potentially cause damage to your home. But even though we provided a range of solutions to many of those problems, we wanted to dedicate a specific post to actual water-saving fixtures you can install in your home to address your water conservation needs.
Like the ENERGY STAR products created by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency has developed its WaterSense standard to encourage water usage efficiency in businesses, yards, and homes. These include standard plumbing fixtures for your home: toilets, bathroom sink faucets, and shower heads.
While standard usage fixtures are still available, WaterSense-certified fixtures use much less water with improved efficiency to do the same job. Plus, many are competitively priced and are easy enough for any homeowner to install themselves. Here’s just a sampling of our favorite WaterSense-certified models. Find the water-saving devices that are right for your home!
If your toilet was installed prior to 1993, it probably uses almost 2 gallons more water per flush than anything remotely modern. In fact, new toilets – even those without WaterSense certification – use only 1.28 gallons to 1.6 gallons per flush.
Furthermore, dual-flush toilets use far less water than regular toilets because they use different means to flush away liquid and solid waste. They do require routine maintenance so if you own one, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. Look for toilets that can flush at minimum 500 grams, including these excellent products:
- The Toto Drake II CST454CEFG uses just 1.28 gallons per flush to remove 800 grams of solid waste. Instead of holes under the rim, this singleflush toilet relies on two nozzles for a powerful flushing action. It retails for about $360.00.
- The Kohler K-3988-0 Wellworth is a dual-flush toilet that features a two-tone flush lever for either 1.1 or 1.6 gallons per flush. The high-efficiency 1.1-gallon flush reduces water use by more than 30 percent over the 1.6-gallon mode. Potential water savings add up to 4,000 gallons per toilet, per year. It lists for about $310.00
- The American Standard Champion 4 Right Height uses 1.28 gallons powered by a 4″ piston that pushes water into the bowl and out through a jet 3 times faster the standard flush toilet. Retail listed for about $210.00.
Bathroom Sink Faucets
Faucets account for more than 15 percent of indoor household water use. The average family can save 700 gallons of water per year by restricting flow from a standard 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm) faucet to one that uses less than 1.5 gpm. However, that 30% or more in flow reduction doesn’t noticeably impact washing your hands or brushing your teeth.
In general, we recommend a faucet with ceramic disc valves , as this provides the added bonus of not leaking or rusting. And since faucets are also to some degree works of art and industrial design, finding the efficiency you want in the design you love at a price you can afford is always an adventure, especially when you consider these water-saving models:
- A Kohler WaterSense-certified faucet ranges between 1.2 and 1.5 gpm. Options include everything from the delicate and pricey Marrakesh design on Bol to the completely practical and affordable chrome-finished Willamette.
- The WaterSense line from Moen includes faucets that range between 1.2 and 1.5 gpm, with styles running from traditional to ultra-contemporary. Most prices are of the medium consumer grade, which means they’re available at most home improvement stores.
- Price-Pfister offer residential grade faucets capable of 1.2 and 1.5 gpm, starting with the Classic Centerset Bath Faucet as low as $57 and ending with the $600 Kenzo Widespread Trough model. Again, many are available at most home centers.
Showering accounts for nearly 17 percent of residential indoor water use. Before 1992, shower head flow rates were as high as 5.5 gpm. Flow rate standards were lowered to 2.5 gpm, but that still adds up to nearly 40 gallons per day. WaterSense showerhead flow rates can be no higher than 2 gpm. Not only does this reduce water usage by 2,900 gallons a year, but it also can save the average family more than 370 kilowatt hours of electricity annually.
Aerating showerheads mix air with the water flow to increase pressure and provide a sense of fullness while using less water. Rain-style showerheads (or rainheads) cover you with water more gently than a regular spray shower head, but do it over a wider area. The lower pressure makes them good candidates for low-flow shower heads like these:
- Kohler’s Moxie Rainhead not only gently rains water down on you, but it contains a portable speaker that pairs wirelessly over Bluetooth to your music playing device. The head is 8-inches wide with 80 nozzles, has a space for the speaker to dock right in the center, and can fit onto existing standard shower mounts. Sing in the shower with a full orchestra for only $300.00.
- Niagara’s N2915CH is a water massage shower head with 9 settings that only uses 1.5 gpm. Guaranteed for 10 years, it sells for an astonishing $8.00 on Amazon.
- The Danze D460055 gives you five settings (wide, center-jet, aeration, massage, and wide + centerjet) that minimizes water pressure loss using dual-valve technology as the showerhead settings change. With a 4 1/2 inch wide face, it delivers a steady stream of water through combinations of 71 jets using only 2.0 gpm. It currently retails for under $45.
What do you recommend in terms of water-saving fixtures that can help you lower your home water bills? Share with us in the comments!