Residential faucets considered here include bathroom faucets and replacement aerators. A faucet controls and directs the flow of water.
In the 1980s and early 90s, multiple states adopted standards setting maximum water use levels for showerheads, faucets, toilets, and urinals. Based on these standards, Congress adopted national standards on these products in the Energy Policy Act of 1992. Under the law, if the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) revises these standards, DOE is obligated to review ASME's action and consider revising the federal standards. If ASME does not revise the standards within five years, states are free to set more stringent standards themselves.
In December 2010, with no ASME revisions on the books, DOE officially waived federal preemption of the 2.2 gallon-per-minute (gpm) national faucet standard enacted by Congress in 1992. This waiver of federal preemption allowed states to set standards provided that they are more stringent than the national standard.
In 2015, the California Energy Commission adopted new kitchen and lavatory faucet standards. The maximum flow rate for kitchen faucets and aerators is 1.8 gallons per minute (gpm) with optional temporary flow of 2.2 gpm at 60 pounds per square inch (psi). The maximum flow rate for is 1.5 gpm for lavatory faucets and 0.5 gpm for public lavatory faucets at 60 psi. The standards went into effect January 1, 2016. Colorado adopted lavatory faucet standards at the WaterSense level (1.5 gpm) that went into effect on September 1, 2016.
About 17 million faucets are shipped annually.