There are countless ways to save water at home, and many of them you may have already tried. Taking shorter showers, turning off the water when you brush your teeth and not filling the sink up all the way when you do dishes are great water-saving habits to get into.
But changes in your daily routine are not the only ways to save water. One highly effective way to reduce your water use is by installing a low-flow faucet aerator. These small, inexpensive devices are deceivingly hard-working.
The average faucet flows at about 2.2 gallons per minute, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If you wash your hands for 20 seconds you will use close to three-quarters of a gallon.
A low-flow aerator will slow down the flow to 1.5 gallons per minute or less. Instead of three-quarters of a gallon of water, you'd just use a half-gallon. At first, this might not seem like an extreme difference but the average American family will save about 700 gallons of water per year by installing an aerator - that's about 40 showers' worth.
Water pressure is important when washing up, and this quality isn't sacrificed when you install a low-flow faucet aerator. It's called an "aerator" because it adds air to the water stream so you won't notice a much of a difference, if any at all.
In addition to saving water, low-flow faucet aerators also cut down on your electricity spend. Every time you run hot water, your water heater needs to kick on. Since you're using less water with the aerator, there's less water that needs to be warmed up. The EPA estimates that the energy savings is about equal to the amount of electricity needed to run a hair dryer for 10 minutes every day for a year.
When picking out your aerator, it's important that you choose a good one. There are a lot of models out there, some more effective than others. You may already have one, but if it's outdated, it may not be as effective as you think. Look for an aerator with the WaterSense label on it. This is a distinction earned by meeting EPA criteria, including a flow of 1.5 gallons of water per minute or less as well as a quality water stream.