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Kitchen Faucet Flow Rate 101: What’s Your Ideal Choice?

Kitchen Faucet Flow Rate
Written by Jenny Molin
Last Update: November 16, 2022

Since you use the water from your kitchen faucet for many things, it must remain in impeccable condition all year round. This includes having a decent faucet flow rate.

Let’s dive deeply into everything you need to know about the flow rate of your kitchen faucet.

Kitchen Faucet Flow Rates for the United States

The highest kitchen faucet flow rate (and bathroom) in the United States is 2.2 GPM (gallons per minute) at 60 pounds per inch. In some areas of the country, more rigid limits are implemented. California’s limit is 2.0 GPM, but they are looking into reducing it soon to 1.8 GPM.

Even though 2.2 GPM is the topmost flow rate, you don’t need to have it that high to do the tasks you need to do. Besides, reducing your flow rate can save you money on your monthly water bill. So, what would be considered a standard flow rate?

A 1.5 GPM flow rate would perfectly suffice for things like washing your hands, doing the dishes, and getting drinking water. You won’t notice a big difference in the kitchen faucet flow rate reduction.

Some even find 1.0 GPM adequate for a flow rate, and you will see a massive difference in your water bill.

Testing the flow rate

If you’re curious, testing your kitchen faucet flow rate is a simple thing to do. You will need three items to do this – a stopwatch, something that will hold a gallon of water (at least), and a measuring cup.

  • Position the container underneath the kitchen faucet
  • Turn on the faucet at full force (for maximum flow rate)
  • Start the stopwatch at the same time you turn on the water (this will give you the most precise results)
  • If your kitchen faucet has two handles (hot and cold), turn them both fully on
  • Time ten seconds on the stopwatch (exactly)
  • Turn off the faucet
  • Measure the amount of water by gallons and then multiply it by the number six (this will give you the GPM of your faucet)

What Is an Aerator and How Does It Work?

What is an aerator and how does it work

An aerator (or flow regulator) is attached to the end of the faucet tap or installed inside the spout. They mix air with the water, splicing one stream into many smaller streams (like a strainer). It efficiently puts air into the water stream, minimizing the water coming out of the faucet.

The great thing about that is that it doesn’t restrict the pressure, so you get a high-powered flow without wasting much water.

Factors that affect the flow rate

Many factors affect the kitchen faucet flow rate. Many newer faucets have aerators that inhibit the flow rate to 2.2 GPM while also putting air into the stream because it minimizes splashing.

Your pipes also play a part. It will depend on how wide your pipes are—the more significant the diameter, the higher the flow rate.

A reduction in flow rate can occur if you have a mineral deposit blockage or partial obstruction to your aerator. This will cause a smaller amount of flow that will come out.

Your location of residence can determine the water pressure you experience since some areas experience lower pressure than others. Pressure can also be affected by how many people around your area are using water.

The flow rate can be decreased in the morning because people are having showers and getting ready for work and school.

Increasing the flow rate

If you’ve already calculated your faucet’s flow rate and think it’s deficient, you can do several things to help increase it. If the reason for the low flow is your aerator, you can always replace it.

But before you buy a new one, check that it doesn’t have a blockage. This happens a lot in areas that experience hard water.

Try cleaning your aerator by placing it in vinegar and boiling it for thirty minutes. This method will disintegrate any minerals in the aerator’s screen.

You can also try dislodging an obstruction using a push pin to poke each aerator hole. This will help the water flow through better.

If these don’t work, inspect your plumbing for leaks because losing water will cause a decreased flow to your faucet.

Reducing or adjusting your flow rate

If the flow rate is too extreme, you can buy another aerator to reduce your flow rate. You should calculate your water flow to see if it’s too high or low. You might be someone who doesn’t require a high flow rate when you use your faucet.

If that’s the case, reducing the flow rate can save you a lot of money on your bills, and since you’re not using as much water, it’s environmentally sound as well.

Flow rate facts

  • Flow rate is calculated by GPM (gallons per minute)
  • The bigger your plumbing pipes, the quicker the flow rate
  • If your flow is low, check if there is a blockage or leak in the pipes
  • By conserving water, you can save money on your water bill

The kitchen is often the nerve center of a home. People prep, cook, and clean; all these activities require water. This is when a reasonable flow rate is needed.

If the rate is too low, filling items with water will take a long time. If the speed is too high, it can cost a lot of money each month.

If your flow rate isn’t up to snuff, you can quickly lose the use of clean or hot water. So, understanding how your kitchen faucet flow rate works will keep your home working efficiently.

About the author

Jenny Molin

Interior Design Artist

Hello, I’m Jenny. I’ve been an interior design artist by profession since my B.S. in Interior Design. I’m a minimalist and prefer to save space when choosing fixtures, sinks and fittings. My style tends to make the most out of the least amount of space. The idea behind every interior design project is unique and it reflects personal style, taste and tradition. I’ve learned more when working than I ever did while I was studying in college. I worked in more than 12 hundred households all across the US and got positive feedback. I’ve been working with FaucetsReviewed as one of the founding members and regularly contributing to the site via testing and reviewing various interior fittings and fixtures.

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