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Laminar Flow Fixtures

Make low water flows feel "wetter" because of the pattern of the flow.

Laminar flow fixtures deliver a steady stream of water that doesn't splash like aerated flow.

The use of water-saving devices has increased dramatically since the 1992 Energy Policy Act mandated the use of low-flow plumbing fixtures. However, the trend has not gone undetected. Some people don't like the feel of aerated water or complain that it splashes too much. A new product is available that makes a low water flow feel more like higher flow. In the last few years, laminar flow fixtures have become more popular in residential applications. Plumbing manufacturers have started to equip faucets with laminar devices to create a distinctive look.

Controls for laminar flow fixtures deliver a precise volume of water at faucets, showerheads, and hose outlets, typically 1.5 to 2.2 gallons per minute (gpm). Fixtures equipped with laminar flow controls deliver a constant rate, unlike conventional water-saving fixtures that deliver varying flow rates in response to varying line pressure,. According to the manufacturer, the laminar flow pattern gives the feeling that water is flowing at a higher rate than it actually is. Under the same flow rate/pressure conditions, aerated streams actually tend to feel “lighter” because they mix air and water, laminar streams are heavier (water only) and feel stronger.

Laminar flow controls work differently than faucet aerators. Aerators add air to the water stream to make the flow feel stronger. Laminar flow controls, on the other hand, work by producing dozens of parallel streams of water. When the faucet is open, water flows in a clear, solid-looking stream, and does not splash. Objects are wetted quickly and evenly with less mess, according to the manufacturer.


Energy Efficiency

Benefits of laminar flow devices include water and energy savings and the potential for a more pleasing water flow at the faucet. According to the manufacturer, water savings range from 27 to 90 percent over pre-1992 fixtures.

Environmental Performance

Laminar flow faucets exceed the requirements of the 1992 Energy Policy Act standards for faucet and showerhead fixtures.


Easy

Laminar flow fixtures are made to fit many types of faucets. Installation can be accomplished by the homeowner, usually without requiring any tools.


Flow control kits available cost about $40 and $65, respectively. Individual sink flow or hose outlet controls from $3.50 to $12.00.


Not Applicable


Laminar flow faucets exceed the requirements of the 1992 Energy Policy Act standards for faucet fixtures.

ASME A112.18.1-2003 sets the maximum flow rate at 2.2 gpm for sink and lavatory faucets.


Not Applicable


Laminar devices are simply screwed into place on fixtures in the same manner as conventional faucet aerators, showerheads, or hose fittings.


Typically 1 year for material and workmanship defects, provided that the original purchaser is seeking replacement or repair. However, it will vary by manufacturer.


Benefits of laminar flow devices include water and energy savings and the potential for a more pleasing water flow at the faucet. According to the manufacturer, water savings range from 27 to 90 percent over pre-1992 fixtures.

Disclaimer: The information on the system, product or material presented herein is provided for informational purposes only. The technical descriptions, details, requirements, and limitations expressed do not constitute an endorsement, approval, or acceptance of the subject matter by the NAHB Research Center. There are no warranties, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy or completeness of this information. Full reproduction, without modification, is permissible.