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Efficient Faucets

I need a new kitchen faucet because the old one leaks cold water. There seem to be many designs available. What types are most efficient at saving water and which are most durable?�Russ K.

Repairing or replacing a leaking kitchen faucet is important, even if the water coming out feels cold. The dripping water may actually be coming from the hot water side, but it feels cold because it has time to lose its heat before reaching the faucet. A small, slow drip can increase both your energy and water bills.

Several design factors can affect a kitchen faucet�s overall energy and water-use efficiency. The maximum flow rate from the faucet is most important. Many, particularly children, often flip it on full just to rinse their hands.

A faucet�s style and shape can also affect its convenience. A more convenient-to-use faucet allows you to turn the water on and off instead of letting it run between brief tasks.

Convenience and flexibility
A tall spout faucet, some as high as 1 foot, provides plenty of clearance to fill large pots or to get your hands under it to clean foods. If a faucet has a short or nearly horizontal spout, large pots must be filled in several steps from a smaller pot. This is wasteful because it is easier to leave the faucet running while transferring water from the small to the large pot.

Pull-down faucets, with a sprayer built into the outlet end, are convenient and efficient. Some have about a 6-foot-long nylon hose to allow for plenty of reach and flexibility, making it easier to wash foods and utensils using less water. If you wash dishes by hand, the soapy dishes can be stacked in a rack and all rinsed at once.

Look for a sprayer with an adjustable volume control. Moen�s new Eco-Performance models provide three water-flow settings for various tasks. The most efficient model uses 37 percent less water.

One of the newest efficiency and convenience features in kitchen faucets is hands-free operation. This can be a significant energy and water saver. If you have the water set at the temperature you desire, you do not have to constantly move the handle to turn it on and off. A lot of water and energy is wasted just setting the temperature. All of these models can still be operated manually like a standard faucet.

Faucet finder
Where to get efficient faucets

The following companies offer efficient kitchen faucets. Their Web sites have detailed information on features and models:

American Standard, (800) 442-1902

Delta Faucet, (800) 345-3358

Kohler, (800) 456-4537

Moen, (800) 289-6636

Price Pfister, (800) 732-8238

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