The faucet is one of the most important features of your kitchen, and in most households, it's in constant use. You use faucets to wash dishes and vegetables for drinking water and cooking, and you may even use them to wash pets or your baby.
Therefore, it's essential for your kitchen faucet to be in good working condition and to have a good flow rate. But what exactly is a good flow rate for kitchen faucets? Understanding the flow rate is essential for choosing the right kitchen faucet for your needs. Read on to understand the flow rate and why it's important.
What is a Flow Rate?
The flow rate is simply the amount of water that flows out of the faucet per minute and is measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The flow rate begins with your water treatment systems, like a water heater or water softener, which need time to let chemical reactions take place for them to work efficiently.
A water heater needs time to deliver warm water, a water softener, and a filter to remove contaminants. By not understanding your flow rate or by not maintaining it to its proper functionality, you can run out of hot or clean water very quickly.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established maximum flow rates for both public and private use. The agency estimates that showers consume about 1.2 trillion gallons of water every year in the United States, and kitchen and bathroom faucets account for 19% of the average home's water usage.
Terms Used in Water Flow Rate
GPM: Gallons per Minute, The most common measurement of water flow rate.
PSI: Pounds Per Square Inch, units in which water pressure is measured
Aerator: A small, round device screwed to the tip of the spout that restricts the faucet's water flow rate.
What is the Standard Flow Rate?
The maximum flow rate for a public faucet is 2.2 GPM, and the maximum flow rate for a private faucet is 2.5 GPM. Although 2.2 GPM, many people won't need that high flow rate in practice, and if you can reduce the flow rate of your kitchen faucet, it can help you save money on your water bills.
For regular daily use, such as washing hands, washing dishes, or pouring drinking water, a flow rate of 1.5 GPM wouldn't give you less water than a faucet producing the maximum flow rate of 2.2 GPM.
Why is the Flow Rate Important?
Water flow rate is often overlooked by average water consumers. If the water is flowing at more than a trickle and less than explosive, it looks fine, but this isn't always the case. If you begin to run out of hot water at a faster rate than average, then your water flow may be at an inappropriate gauge.
How Much Water Per Minute Does a Faucet Use?
The average flow rate of faucets is between 1.0 GPM and 2.2 GPM. In the US, the maximum flow rate for the kitchen and bathroom faucets is 2.2 GPM at 60 PSI. However, in more environmentally regulated areas, the maximum flow rates are further restricted.
Many bathroom faucets have a much lower water flow rate than kitchen faucets. A bathroom faucet can run at 0.8 GPM to 1.5 GPM without a noticeable reduction in water pressure. However, a shower head and handheld require a GPM ranging from 0.8 to 2.5. This ensures that there is a consistent flow of water in both your shower head and handheld.
How to Measure Water Pressure and Flow Rate
If you suspect that your water pressure is too high or too low, there's a simple way to test it. The most accurate method is to buy a pressure gauge from your local hardware store and hook it up to a hose faucet. Check the measurement on the pressure gauge when all other faucets and water using fixtures are turned off to get a baseline reading.
If you have a kitchen faucet with an unknown flow rate, you can easily measure it with a few materials. You'll need a measuring cup, stopwatch, and a container large enough to hold a gallon of water. Place the container under the faucet's spout, then open the faucet handle and start the timer on your stopwatch. Collect the water that comes out in the measuring cup and divide it by 60 to find the flow rate in gallons per minute.
Factors Affecting Kitchen Faucet Flow Rate
The flow rate can be affected by several factors. Since the federal standards were put in place, the average flow rate of a kitchen faucet stands at 2.2 GPM. Most modern faucets come with an aerator that regulates water flow and add air to the water while also infusing the water stream with air to reduce splashing. Here are other factors that can affect the flow rate:
Age of the faucet
Over time, mineral deposits can build up in the aerator, reducing the flow. A clogged or blocked aerator can also be the result of using water with high mineral content. If your water has a high calcium or magnesium content, it can leave behind deposits that restrict flow.
The Diameter of Your Faucet Pipes
If your kitchen sink pipes have a small diameter, that will limit the amount of water that can flow through them. This is why some homes with smaller pipes may have faucets with lower flow rates.
The Pressure of Your Water Supply
The pressure of the water coming into your home can also affect the flow rate. If the pressure is too low, the flow rate will be impacted.
There are a few things that can cause low water pressure, including:
- A closed shut-off valve
- A leak in the main water line
- Corroded pipes
If you're not sure what's causing your low water pressure, you can contact a plumber for help.
The place where you live can also dictate the flow rate of your kitchen faucet. In general, homes that are located in rural areas have lower water pressure than those in urban areas. This is because there is typically more demand for water in densely populated areas.
As a result, homes in rural areas often have lower flow rates to compensate for the lower water pressure.
The amount of water that is being used in your home can also affect the flow rate of your kitchen faucet. If multiple people are using multiple water-using appliances at the same time, it can put a strain on the system and cause the flow rate to decrease.
This is why you may notice that your kitchen faucet has a lower flow rate when multiple people are using water in your home at the same time.
The aerator on your kitchen faucet can also affect the flow rate. An aerator is a small screen that attaches to the end of your faucet and breaks up the water into smaller droplets.
This helps to conserve water and can also help to reduce splashing. However, it can also decrease the flow rate of your water. If you notice that your kitchen faucet has a lower flow rate than usual, you may want to check the aerator to see if it needs to be cleaned or replaced.
How to Have High Pressure Kitchen Faucet?
If you've measured your flow rate and feel it's still low, there are a few things you can do to try to increase it. If the aerator is restricting the flow, you can try removing it and seeing if that makes a difference.
If you live in a low water pressure area, the aerator designed to restrict water flow might be reducing the water flow too much. But buying a new aerator, you should also check the old one is not blocked. If you remove the aerator from the faucet, you may see that it's filled with mineral deposits. This is very common in hard water areas.
To clean the aerator, you can try boiling it in vinegar for half an hour. This will dissolve and dislodge the minerals from the aerator screen. You can also try to unblock it by pushing a pin through each individual hole in the aerator to allow the water to pass through freely.
If these don't help, check for leaks in your plumbing system because if you're losing water this way, then it will reduce the water flow in your kitchen faucet. These tips will be true in whatever kind of faucet you have, whether it's a pull out kitchen faucet, a touchless kitchen faucet, or a commercial kitchen faucet.
How to Reduce a Faucet's Flow Rate
Certainly, you can reduce the flow rate of your kitchen faucet. If the flow rate is too high for what you need and you end up wasting excess water, there are a few ways you can reduce the flow rate.
Most modern faucets have a small, round device screwed to the tip of the spout, the aerator. You can buy flow restrictors to add to your kitchen faucet. The aerator's job is to mix air with water to make the water stream smoother, in addition to limiting the water flow to an acceptable level. This saves water by stopping the full, solid flow of water.
If your water flow is too high and you want to reduce it to help save money on your water bills, you can install a new aerator to restrict the flow. This is a quick and easy way to save water without having to replace your kitchen faucet. Buying the best kitchen faucet with a sprayer can also help you reduce the water flow in some ways.
FAQs on the Correct Flow Rate for Kitchen Faucets
What GPM are kitchen faucets?
The flow rate for most kitchen faucets is 2.2 GPM. However, in some areas, the GPM is restricted to 1.8.
What is a good flow rate for kitchen faucets?
The standard flow rate for kitchen faucets is 2.2 GPM. However, many people don't need such a high flow rate in practice, so you can reduce the flow rate of your kitchen faucet to help you save water.
Final Thought on the Kitchen Faucet Flow Rate
As mentioned before, a kitchen faucet is very important in any home. You need to make sure that you have the right flow rate for your kitchen faucet. When it comes to the flow rate for kitchen faucets, the best thing that you can do is to consult with a professional.
They will be able to help you determine the best flow rate for your kitchen faucet based on your specific needs. By doing this, you can be sure that you're getting the most out of your kitchen faucet and that you're not wasting any water.