COMMON PROBLEMSIN CHARLOTTEWATER QUALITYWhat is the Average Water Flow Rate in a House?

May 19, 2022

The water flow rate in your home is something you probably never think of until you notice it’s a problem. Water pressure and flow rate can affect a lot of things in your home and daily life. What is the average water flow rate in a house and what should it be?

What’s the Average Water Flow Rate in a Household?

The household water flow rate for most houses is 6-12 gallons per minute (GPM). Most households in the U.S. use 100-120 gallons of water a day.

This average can vary a lot. It depends on many factors such as number of people in the residence, appliances, outdoor uses, cooking, laundry, time spent in the house and other variables.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency mandates any water-using appliances and fixtures do not go over a regulated GPM. Older homes or older fixtures may still surpass the EPA’s GPM limit.

The average GPM for a house may likely be more in a larger home, or due to more people, or more people spending more time – and doing more things – in the house generally.

As an example, a residence with six bathrooms will certainly have extra plumbing fixtures. The same idea applies with a home with more appliances – such as washing machines, refrigerators or water heaters.

A person may use an average up to 80-100 gallons a day. This average varies even more than the average household estimate.

How to Know Your Water Flow Rate

Use a Bucket

You can get a good estimate of your home’s water flow rate on your own. Use a faucet or spigot and a container, such as a bucket. Know the size of the bucket and mark a line where you want to fill it to.

Have a stopwatch or timer ready. Run the water into the large container and time how long it takes to reach your mark, such as right at a gallon. Get the time. You can try the test a few times with a few different fixtures around the house. See what the average time is to get the same amount, again, one gallon makes for a little easier math. You can figure the gallons per minute or GPM you’re getting. The household water flow rate for most houses is 6-12 GPM.

What GPM Do I Need?

Calculating and knowing the GPM instead of gallons per day is a more efficient method to figure out your water flow needs. Start by taking into consideration how many appliances you’ll have running at the same time on most days. Will you ever run the dishwasher at the same time as the shower? Will multiple people be bathing at the same time?

If all of your taps and home appliances were running at the same time, how much would your GPM be? Unless you’re planning to add kitchens, bathrooms or major appliances, your household shouldn’t need to top the total possible GPM. The average GPM usages of some common fixtures and appliances are:

  • Bathroom: 2.2-5 GPM
  • Tub: 4-8 GPM
  • Shower: 2.5-5 GPM
  • Dishwasher: 2-3 GPM
  • Faucet: 2.5-3 GPM
  • Washing machine: 4-5 GPM

Getting the Best Water Flow Rate

You can do several things to raise the water flow rate in your house, though not all of them might be easy or cost effective.

For homes, the limiting factor on water circulation is usually not the water pressure as it enters the house. More often, the plumbing or filters in your home limits the GPM.

If you have a whole-house filter that filters out pollutants like iron and sediment, for example, the GPM might be lower. You may be able to replace the filter with one which gives a higher water flow.

Changing your home’s plumbing, on the other hand, can be a lot more involved and costly. For example, if your residence is older and uses city water, the water line from the road to your residence may be too small. You may need a major upgrade or replacement and this work is going to be a large project.

Replacing the plumbing within your home is a bit easier, yet still on the expensive side versus replacing a filter. You may discover replacing fixtures with more effective ones could make a difference. However, new fixtures must adhere to the EPA mandates. 

Managing Water Flow Restrictions

Think of an example in a home with four faucets, two showers, two toilets, a dishwasher and a washing machine. If each device is on at once and each uses the minimum level of GPM, you’d be running water at about 25 GPM.

However, your water rate doesn’t need to reach 25 GPM. There will be extremely few scenarios when you’d run every fixture and appliance at the same time. Generally, with this example, a household water flow rate at 12 GPM would function very well.

You could ask, what happens if I have four or five people in my home? Then you could have multiple showers, taps, bathrooms, laundry and kitchen appliances running at the same time. While this is true, other water-using appliances, such as a water heater, tend to restrict how much water flows at once.

If you have a large water heater, multiple units or a tankless water heater, you may have the water capacity and pressure for having everything in your house using water simultaneously. You should then have a larger capacity for hot water for every fixture or appliance.

This is just one of some normal constraints that can alter how people use their water. A lack of hot water is one of them. Choosing mineral or filtered water over unfiltered tap water is one more consideration. If you don’t like the taste of the water from your faucet, it can change your usage over time.


South End Water Filtration specializes in HALO Water Filter products including the HALO H2 Zero Whole Home Water Filter. HALO systems solve hard water problems, give your family clear, great-tasting water and are totally maintenance free. We’re just a click away to help and answer any questions. South End Plumbing and South End Water Filtration will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-486-1988 or contact us online to schedule a visit.