Is the staid and conservative world of faucets ripe for a revolution? Is the American public ready to change their dishwashing and tooth brushing habits? Probably not, but there are a couple of products that have the potential to offer water savings.
Hands Free Faucet Controllers
An easy way to reduce faucet use is to shut off the water while you are washing dishes or brushing your teeth. The problem is, it is difficult to shut off the faucet while your hands are full! There are two different products that offer a solution here.
Foot Pedal Faucet Controller
A foot pedal faucet controller is simply an on/off switch for your faucet located on the floor. These devices have been around for a number of years and are available from several major manufacturers. While these devices are most commonly used in large scale food service operations, there is no reason they could not be used successfully in the kitchen or bathroom. However, it may be difficult to install a foot pedal controller without disrupting cabinet and sink configurations. If you want one of these devices you may need to wait until your remodel and then work it in with the overall plan.
Hands Free “Leaning” Faucet Controller
A product that has considerably more potential in the residential market is the leaning style of hands free faucet controller, as shown in Figure 1. The black bar underneath the sink counter in Figure 1 is the on/off control for the faucet. The temperature and flow rate of the faucet are still adjusted with the handle, but depressing the bar by leaning against it starts the flow of water. When you move away, a spring pushes the bar out and stops the water flow. The bar also has a locking feature that enables the user to keep the faucet flowing.
Figure 1: Hands free faucet controller bar
These devices are easy to install and only require that three holes be drilled in the counter below the sink. The leaning faucet controller is appropriate for kitchen or bathroom use and comes in a beige color as well.
Manufacturers are constantly researching new faucet and sink designs, products, and technologies.
Currently there are several research projects that are evaluating the effectiveness of low-flow faucet aerators and electronic faucets, as well as customer satisfaction with these products. Sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency three water providers (Seattle Public Utilities, East Bay Municipal Water Utility District and City of Tampa Water Department), these studies measure water use in single family homes before and after the installation of high efficiency fixtures including faucet aerators, showerheads, toilets and clothes washers.
In the 2003 study conducted in Tampa, bathroom and kitchen aerators, as well as hands-free faucet fixtures such as electronic faucets were installed. This resulted in a decrease in faucet use of 3.2 gallons per capita per day, or 1,168 gallons per capita per year. While these savings are substantially less than those found for toilet and clothes washer retrofits, faucet retrofits represent a relatively inexpensive option for significant savings.
For information on faucet research you can visit the following web site: