Faucet aerators, energy efficient showerheads, and overall bathroom water efficiency are key items to consider when trying to be more energy efficient and save money on your power bill.

What is a faucet aerator?

A faucet aerator is a small, disc-like screen found on or within sink faucets in bathrooms and kitchens alike. Additionally, the latest energy efficient showerheads often have built-in aerators.

Using a faucet aerator will reduce the amount of water that comes out of the faucet and save you money on your water bill. It also helps shape the stream of water into a straight line and prevents water from splashing when hitting something. Water going through an aerator make the stream smoother.

Aeration technology provides several benefits:

  • Light filtration of dirt and debris
  • Softens the feel of the water
  • Wider, uniform stream of water with pleasant pressure
  • Significant reduction in water consumption
  • Splash reduction

How faucet aerators work

Faucet aerators function by incorporating air into the water stream using a small metal disc. These metal discs act as both a filtration system and a mechanism that separates the water stream into several tiny streams.

As a result, the water your faucet releases feels softer and more luxurious while using significantly less water.

The aerators in an energy efficient showerhead have a mechanism that integrates air with the water stream.

The difference is that sink faucet aerators usually require manual installation, but shower head aerators are built in.

Dispelling low water pressure myths

Low shower pressure is not very comfortable, and the thought of an energy efficient showerhead may cause some concern. Sacrificing comfort for water efficiency may look great on your energy bill, but what about your comfort? After all - showers are to be enjoyed.

Let’s dispel some myths surrounding low water pressure - especially as it pertains to water efficient shower heads.

  • Energy efficient showerheads reduce water pressure. A low-flow shower head equipped with an aerator may use less water, but this doesn’t mean sacrificing pressure.

Aerators compress the water stream while mixing air into the flow, and when combined with a narrow opening, it gives the feeling of higher water pressure. Additionally, the aerator creates multiple small streams of water, which further adds to the feeling of higher water pressure.

  • Energy efficient shower heads make little difference. Water-efficient showerheads can actually conserve up to 50 percent of your water usage, especially if you go with the latest and most energy-efficient models. Look for showerheads with a WaterSense label from the US EPA.

The importance of energy efficient showerheads for water efficiency

When you consider making your home more energy-efficient, you might not tackle your bathroom at first, but that’s where small changes can make a big difference.

Bathroom water use accounts for roughly 30 to 50 percent of your total household water expenditure, and a significant portion of that is hot water used to bathe and shower.

Homeowners could see a yearly decrease of approximately 11,000 litres of water usage - just by switching to a water-efficient shower head.

Consider also that showerheads have improved significantly in energy efficiency within the last 30 years. For comparison, models manufactured in the early 1990s had staggering flow rates of around 20 litres per minute. Now, high-efficiency models boast flow rates of less than 7.6 liters per minute. What a difference!

Look for showerheads that use 7.6 liters per minute or less and are WaterSense labelled from the US EPA.

Maintenance

To reduce the debris going to the faucet it is recommended to do an annual flush of the water heater tank. Learn how here.

Final thoughts

With energy efficient upgrades, there are plenty of large tasks throughout the home to contend with - but upgrading the water efficiency of your bathroom is easy.

Most modern shower heads and faucet aerators do not require extensive plumbing installation, are low cost, and take less than an hour to complete.

With your other upgrade needs, you may need help with a starting point. Check out the NB Power Total Home Energy Savings Program! You can check your eligibility, find out the best upgrades for your home, and easily enroll. Best of all - you might earn incentives for the work you do.

FAQ

Do faucet aerators save water?

Yes, aerators in both sink faucets and showerheads can save up to 50 percent of household water usage.

Are faucet aerators necessary?

Yes. If you’re looking for a pleasant shower experience and improved bathroom water efficiency, faucet aerators are a key first step.

What makes a showerhead water efficient?

A showerhead equipped with an aerator and low-flow technology conserves water by mixing the water stream with air that may improve the feeling of your water pressure.

Is an energy efficient showerhead going to lower my water pressure?

A common myth. No, a water-efficient shower head will not lower your water pressure. It uses less water, but the aerator technology combined with a shower head’s narrow opening makes it seem like the water pressure is the same or even greater in some cases.

The goal is to reduce the amount of water that comes out of the faucet, to reduce water consumption and in turn will save you money on your water bill. It also help shape the stream of water into a straight line and prevents water from splashing all over the place when hitting something. Water going through an aerator make the stream smoother. A faucet aerator also help maintaining the water pressure and sometime can help on improving it. To determine the flow rate of water for each aerator, look on the side and the maximum flow rate should be inscribed in either litres per minutes (l/min.) or gallons per minutes (GPM).

A faucet aerator is not exempt from maintenance. It is recommended to unscrew it and clean it by soaking it in vinegar for about 5 minutes and clean it with a brush. Perform this maintenance every 6 months or more if doing plumbing work inside the home or if any work was done on the water main in your neighborhood, since it does catch debris that got into the water with the possibility of lead particles flaking off of old lead pipes.