Kitchen and bathroom sink faucets account for 19 percent of total water usage of an average home, according to Conserve H2O. Fortunately, new kitchen faucet sink designs curb water consumption by using no more than 2.5 gallons per minute, per federal plumbing standards.
You can save up to 40 percent of the water normally used by replacing outdated fauet aerators with newer ones — one of the most cost-effective water conservation efforts you can make. If you’re deciding on a new sink to install or want to conserve water, you’ll find a handy guide on Angie’s List on how to find the perfect kitchen sink or how to replace faucet aerators.
The design of your sink can also impact how much water you use. Here are five sink designs that potentially waste water:
Farmhouse Kitchen Sink
The farmhouse sink, also known as the apron sink, was originally designed to be large enough to meet all water needs for families that had to haul water from wells, ponds and streams. Its large basin was designed to be big enough to accommodate washing dishes, cleaning clothes and even bathing babies. Many farmhouse kitchen sinks are a yard wide, and some are as wide as two normal sinks. While all of this space allows versatility in functionality, it promotes more water wastage, especially if you fill up the sink to anywhere near capacity.
Undermount Sink Bowl
Another sink design that may result in wasted water is the undermount sink. Undermount sinks are installed below the counter, so their weight is not supported by the counter but by a strong adhesive instead. This can add aesthetic appeal by letting the sink blend in with your counter’s surface; it also assists cleanup by making it easier to scrape things into the sink without obstructive edges. However, improper installation and sealing can cause leakage, which can worsen if the adhesive erodes. Furthermore, the lack of an edge makes it easy for water to spill out. Read up on the pros and cons of undermount sinks here.
One-Compartment Single Bowl
Another water waster is the one-compartment or single sink bowl. Single sinks are usually larger than double sinks. This allows you to place more items in the sink and better soak them, which is useful for cleaning pots and pans, enabling you to do a more thorough cleaning job. However, this feature also encourages you to use more water. Single sinks tend to use a lot of water, even if you’re only washing one item, due to their large area.
Flush-mounted sinks, also called tile-edge sinks, are another potential water waster. Flush-mount sinks fit into the cutout on top of a tiled counter. Flush-mount sinks have silicone sealant where they fit into the cutout and then additional sealant is added between the sink and a tiled backer board. Unfortunately, thermal expansion and vibration tend to crack and separate sealed gaps, letting water spill on the countertop and leak down the backer board and onto the plywood.
Vessel sinks, modeled after the traditional wash basin, are small and portable, making them useful for carrying water around and giving them versatility of use. However, their portable nature and shallow depth make them prone to splashing. Vessel sinks are also unstable, which makes them easy to knock over.