If you are like most homeowners, you probably take for granted that healthy, potable water will be available every time you turn on a faucet or showerhead in your home. However, the plumbing systems in our home are made up of an intricate array of pipes, pumps, fittings, and the final plumbing fixtures that deliver the water into our kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms. While choosing between PVC and galvanized steel piping is most likely left to the expertise of home builders and contractors, homeowners can and should take the necessary time to consider which plumbing option offers the best advantages for their bathrooms and kitchens. In this short article, we are going to look at some of the most essential considerations when choosing the best plumbing fixtures for your home. 

What exactly are Plumbing Fixtures? 

Plumbing fixtures are defined as any device or mechanism that is connected to a plumbing system, and either delivers or drains water in a building. While drainage systems are relatively straightforward, in recent years many companies and brands have been innovating with novel faucets, showerheads, and toilets. In prior decades, the major differences in these essential household plumbing fixtures were aesthetic. Today, however, homeowners can opt for showerheads, faucets, and toilets that offer improved performance, as well as important energy and water savings. 

The Sustainability Aspect of Different Types of Plumbing Fixtures 

It wasn’t until 1992 that the United States government began to regulate the water flow rate for different household plumbing fixtures. Before the passing of the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 1992, it was common for toilets to use upwards of 8 to 10 gallons of water per flush while showerheads and faucets might have used between 4 and 6 gallons of water per minute. Recent studies have found that within the next fifty years, almost half of the most important 204 freshwater basins in the United States may not be able to meet the monthly water demand for the households they serve. 

old school plumbing fixture
it was common for toilets to use upwards of 8 to 10 gallons of water per flush

Understanding this risk, federal policy today enacts standards for the flow rates of new plumbing fixtures. Even more importantly, the Environmental Protection Agency´s (EPA) WaterSense Program offers a rigorous certification program that helps homeowners identify the most water efficient plumbing fixtures on the market. For example, faucets that receive the WaterSense certification will only use a maximum of 1.5 gallons per minute. This can reduce water flow from sinks by 30 percent or more from standardized flow rates of other faucets without sacrificing performance. Similarly, WaterSense certified showerheads must demonstrate that they use no more than 2.0 gallons per minute of water. Improved spray technologies such as aerators allow these innovative plumbing fixtures to offer improved performance while also saving an incredible amount of water. 

Reduced water usage also directly translates into energy savings. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, “water heaters account for nearly 17 percent of a home's energy use, consuming more energy than all other household appliances combined.” By reducing the amount of water used for showering, washing the dishes, and washing our hands, homeowners can also expect to see a significant reduction in their monthly energy bills. For homeowners with older, less water-efficient plumbing fixtures in their kitchens and bathrooms, the energy savings from upgrading to more efficient options will likely pay for themselves over years of use.  

Moen vs. Kohler Faucets 

new sink with granite counter
Example of a Kohler Faucet

Another important consideration when it comes to choosing the best plumbing fixtures for your home is the brand manufacturer. Moen and Kohler are two of the best known companies that manufacture and market a wide variety of plumbing fixtures for the home. Both of the brands offer WaterSense certified showerheads and faucets in a variety of styles and presentations. 

In the Moen vs. Kohler debate, it is important to recognize that both companies offer products with similar performance and efficiency measures. In general, however, consumers seem to find that Kohler offers more durable plumbing fixtures for the kitchen and bathroom. Their new line of faucets come with functional touchless sensors while their showerheads have unique spray options that allow for an optimal bathing experience. 

Moen, on the other hand, offers extremely stylish and elegant plumbing fixtures that offer a unique aesthetic to any bathroom or kitchen. They have an absolute huge variety of showerheads to choose from and their bathroom faucets are elegantly functional. In conclusion, both Moen and Kohler offer high-performance plumbing fixtures that can help every homeowner improve the water and energy efficiency of their homes without sacrificing style and performance.