Water Flow Test

Determine If Your Water Flow is Adequate for Your Household

Adequate water flow at a residential property is an important element to consider when living comfortably and while preserving a precious resource. Inadequate water flow may lead to frustration and upset or unsanitary living conditions, while excessive water flow might lead to wasted water unnecessarily.

Sink faucet flowing with water

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Water Use in Residential New Homes

The environmental impact of the residential sector is significant. More than 120 million homes in the United States and about 1.2 to 1.5 million new homes are constructed each year. On average, for all homes, 70% of household water is used indoors, and 30% is used outdoors; however, these percentages can quickly flip during summer months in arid climates. Outdoor water use, especially for irrigation, can strongly affect a municipality’s peak water use, upon which the sizing of water supply facilities is based. Table 1 presents the average indoor water consumption data for an existing American home. (1)

Table 1. Typical Indoor Household Water Use

(1) AWWA Research Foundation, 1998. Residential End Uses of Water.

Water Flow Rate vs. Water Pressure

Your flow rate refers to the amount of water coming out of your faucet in a certain amount of time, i.e., Gallons per Minute or (GPM).

Water pressure, on the other hand, is determined by gravity rather than speed. Your home water pressure is the force exerted upon the water to get it from point A to point B. This force or pressure is measured in Pounds per Square Inch or (PSI).

High pressure (PSI) does not lead to high flow rate (GPM) and vice versa. Normal water pressure and flow rate at one point might not correspond to the same at another point in the house, which might indicate the presence of obstruction or leak in the water supply system. Also, water flow at a certain point is affected by the number of water fixtures running simultaneously, i.e., running the shower, washing machine, dishwasher, and flushing the toilet at the same time.

There are laws in place to make sure your appliances don’t exceed a reasonable GPM. For example, since 1992, a maximum of 2.5 GPM is the EPA-mandated flow rate for new showerheads; this means that no more than 2.5 gallons of water should be flowing out of your shower head at any given minute; specifications for water conservation are listed on EPA website; https://www.epa.gov/watersense.

Showerhead flowing with water
Toilet water flow infographic

WaterSense Savings

By replacing old, inefficient toilets with WaterSense labeled models, the average family can reduce water used for toilets by 20 to 60 percent—that’s nearly 13,000 gallons of water savings for your home every year! They could also save more than $140 per year in water costs and $2,900 over the toilet’s lifetime.

Nationally, suppose all old, inefficient toilets in the United States were replaced with WaterSense labeled models. In that case, we could save 360 billion gallons of water per year or the amount of water that flows over Niagara Falls in about nine days.

Household leaks can waste 180 gallons per week. Toilets are often the culprit. If your toilet has a leak, most likely it is due to an old or worn-out toilet flapper (e.g., valve seal), which can cause leaks. Flappers are inexpensive rubber parts that can build up minerals or decay over time.
Whether remodeling a bathroom, starting construction of a new home or merely replacing an old, leaky toilet that wastes money and water, installing a WaterSense labeled toilet is a high-performance, water-efficient option worth considering.

WaterSense labeled toilets are available at a wide variety of price points and a broad range of styles. In many areas, utilities offer rebates and vouchers that can lower the price of a WaterSense labeled toilet.

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Take a Look at a Sample Report

Get an idea of the format and items that would be listed under a Mold & Moisture Testing Report.