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The Typical Home Water Flow Rate: What You Need To Know About It

The Typical Home Water Flow Rate: What You Need To Know About It

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that household showers consume 1.3 trillion gallons of water annually, where 19% of the average home accounts for bathroom and kitchen faucets.

It is important to be mindful of how your water supply operates and functions in your home. Knowing your home’s water flow rate is important if you want to be environmentally friendly or even if you simply want to know if your house’s water flow rate is enough for your needs.

When people think of water, the word “flow” often gets thrown around as we are all familiar with flowing water in terms of bodies of water. However, this loss of translation can lead to inconveniences. In plumbing jargon, the term “water flow” has a technical definition.

When looking for a new water system or upgrading one, one of the most overlooked specifications by people is the “water flow rate”. This specification has a direct effect on almost every essential utility in your home – showers, sinks, and baths. 

Understanding Water Flow Rate

Flow rate is defined as the volume of water that passes through a provided surface per unit of time. In your home, the water flow rate determines the amount of water that’s coming out of your shower or faucet at a given time. 

Simply put, the water flow rate is the speed at which liquid or water flows through an enclosed space, or in this case, a pipe. In determining water flow rate, pipe diameter, friction, and water velocity are variables. 

Usually, most people confuse water flow rate with water pressure. Water pressure is different from the former since it is rather calculated by gravity instead of speed. Simply put, water pressure refers to the force exerted upon the water. 

There are a number of ways to increase the water flow rate in your home; however, it may not be affordable nor applicable to every home. In the case of residential homes, it is rarely the pressure as it enters your home; instead, the pipes and filters may be what limits your GPM.

The Importance of Knowing The Water Flow Rate 

For individuals who wish to install a specific water filtration system in their homes, knowing and understanding the water flow rate is crucial in determining the proper and suitable filtration system for their house. 

For a water filtration system or a water treatment system to work, it requires the cooperation of time and water to effectively work. Normally, a chemical reaction needs to occur in water softeners, for example, so it can effectively remove water hardness. Water filters, consequently need more time to remove impurities.

With those in mind, these water systems rely on “flow rate” to function properly since the system has to determine how fast, based on the flow rate, water can be properly processed. Consequently, if you ignore the water flow rate, your access to processed water can be hassled.

Everyone doesn’t want to endure the inconvenience of experiencing water flow and temperature changes while showering whenever someone in the house is using another faucet. This stresses the importance of measuring your water flow rate to have it match your household needs.

Flow Rates in Households

Measured by how much volume of water could pass through your home’s bathroom and kitchen, your home’s water flow rate is determined in terms of GPM or gallons-per-minute. While it can be affected by a few factors, one of the key determinants is the size of your household.

For small households, the average residential water flow rate is between 6-12 GPM, which translates to homes using 100-120 gallons of water daily. This figure may vary depending on the location, appliances and utilities used, and the number of people in your home. 

In some cases, the average GPM in every household varies depending on the size of the homes. For instance, if a house has five bathrooms, it would mean that more water is used and needed to cater to the toilets and the showers. 

Also, the number of people that live inside the house is accounted for. Each person, on average, uses about 80-100 gallons of water daily. If you use this figure and multiply it by the headcount of your home, you can have a rough estimate as to how much water is used.

Moreover, when calculating the gallons of water your house needs every day, you should also consider the number of appliances you’re using on most days. This includes dishwashers, washing machines, sprinklers, showers, etc.

Regulations on Water Flow Rates

In 1992, the Environmental Protection Agency implemented a mandate that certain water-based appliances should not exceed a given GPM. With this, some homes are held at a certain threshold regarding the water flowing out their appliances of faucets. 

A maximum of 2.5 GPM has been mandated by the EPA for showers. Simply put, for homes that have purchased or installed showerhead post-1992, showerhead should have 2.5 GPM coming any given minute. 

What To Look Out For

Luckily, if you’re having a hard time trying to grasp the concept of calculating your water flow rate, you can always rely on certifications. If you’re out looking for a water filtration system, you can look for its IAPMO or NSF seal.

IAPMO is a testing organization that adheres to NSF standards. These certifications indicate their respective system performance results, which means that you can use this to compare with your household flow rates.

For instance, if a filtration system is IAPMO certified to ANSI Standard 44 or by NSF standards, it means that the water filtration system has undergone testing in a laboratory and has met industry standards.

Since certifications are required to adhere to an efficiency rate of at least 85% or above, you can rest assured that these products are certified as great investments. By making sure that you only avail quality services and adapting standardized methods for your water supply, you can get the best and safest experience out of your water.


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