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Water-saving devices have become reliable, affordable, and widely available. Now it’s your turn to slow the flow.

The faucet and fixture industry has consistently delivered the eco-friendly goods. Their products get more efficient and more durable almost every year, yet remain remarkably affordable. Every year, bath, kitchen, and laundry gadgets help us reduce water usage by about 5%. But as a nation, we’re still slipping—using about the same volume of fresh water every year. Why? Because the U.S. population grows at about 5% per year

The problem, says author and water expert Robert Glennon, is that the total amount of fresh water available is getting smaller. Some sources have become polluted. Groundwater that takes decades to replenish is being drained like there’s no tomorrow. Dry times lie ahead, unless we all change our habits along with our fixtures. It’s time to treat fresh water like blue gold.

It’s important to make sure all the faucets, fixtures, and showerheads in your home are on their best behavior. That means installing the most durable, water-stingy, appropriately priced models available. If you’re not sure how to recognize these parameters, here’s a quick overview.

FAUCET FUNCTION PRICE MATTERS
In modern faucets, ceramic washers have largely replaced rubber ones. These diamond-hard discs should last forever. But in our experience, that’s not always the case. We’ve seen less expensive faucets and shower handles, even ones with ceramic discs, develop leaks within a year or two of installation, possibly because other parts of the assembly are not as tough. Fortunately, many faucets—even low-cost ones—now come with limited lifetime warranties that cover all part failures for the original owner. Still, who wants to chase down warranties? The easiest solution: Spend a little more up front for a brand that cares about its reputation, and chances are you’ll get a better made, more durable product.

A modern faucet should last for many years, thanks to the ceramic disc technology that has replaced compressed rubber seals. But in less expensive “knockoff” faucets especially, parts (and finishes) can wear out prematurely, requiring repair or replacement.

 

KOHLER PURIST LAVATORY FAUCET
When equipped with an optional low-flow aerator, this two-handle widespread lavatory faucet becomes both water efficient and—thanks to precision ceramic disc engineering and super tough finish— extremely durable. www.kohler.com

DELTA TRANSITIONAL WATER EFFICIENT SHOWERHEAD
This modestly priced showerhead comes with a lifetime faucet and finish warranty. It reduces water flow to just 1.6 gpm but uses proprietary technology to keep water pressure comfortable. www.deltafaucet.com

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