By: Keri Waters, Resideo’s vice president and general manager, Water Solutions
Without context, numbers mean very little. Your garden’s pumpkin is big until you’re standing next to the 2,000-pound entry at the pumpkin festival, at which point your 40-pounder is straight-up adorable.
In the world of household water, four showers running simultaneously seems like a lot until you consider that’s still only about 10 gallons per minute (gpm), not even close to what’s considered high flow. You knew I would bring this back to water, didn’t you?
I recently saw the results of a Utah State University study measuring the accuracy of the Buoy® Whole Home Water Controller and similar devices in the category. The study showed the Controller is extremely accurate, particularly at the low-end flow rates. This low-end accuracy is essential for detecting leaks, thus helping to prevent future damage to your home or wasting unnecessary water.
Before I dig into the numbers, let’s set the stage. At maximum flow, when you’re running all the appliances in your home, how much water does that use per minute? If you’re like most people, you have no earthly idea. So, let’s go with averages.
Newer toilets use about 1.6 gallons per flush, and low-flow shower heads are 2.5 gpm. Dishwashers use about 1.5 gpm, and newer washing machines use 2.0 gpm. So, if you’re running the dishwasher and the washing machine, and someone flushes a toilet while you’re taking a shower, that's still pulling less than 8 gpm through your pipes. Keep that number in mind.
The Buoy Controller tested between 98 percent and 101 percent accuracy (+/- 3 percent) at both low flow (0.25 gpm) and moderate flow (2 gpm). The Buoy Controller’s revenue-grade meter makes it accurate across the range of residential water flow rates. Low-to-mid range flow is the majority of household water usage; typical indoor residential water usage doesn’t exceed 5-6 gpm. Remember our stage-setting before? All that action and still less than 8 gpm? High-end flow (15 gpm) for a household is rare, requiring all outdoor sprinklers in multiple zones to run simultaneously, or for you to flush two toilets while four showers, the dishwasher, and a washing machine are also running.
These numbers are important. Reliable data at low flow rates means your Buoy Controller will know when there’s a minor leak, and can alert you or shut off your water to prevent damage and waste. Learn more at Resideo.com. And hey, knowing that you don’t come close to your home’s flow capacity means you can easily water your pumpkin patch and stay within moderate flow rates. My black thumb can’t grow a cactus, but you, you seem to have potential.