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Professor Faucet

Professor Faucet Answers Some Frequently

Asked Questions About Water

Professor Faucet is a spokesperson for the National Rural Water Association. He has dedicated his life’s work to answering all kinds of questions about the water we drink. He knows how important it is to have clean, quality water in our homes.

Q. Professor Faucet, how do I know the water in my house is safe to drink?

A. Public drinking water is tested against State and Federal drinking water standards. If your water fails a test, your water company will let you know.


Q. What does it mean when my water looks white or milky? Is it safe to drink?

A. When there is air in the lines, your water will appear white or milky. This may be caused by our crews opening the lines to make a repair or to add a new installation. Ordinarily this will clear itself in a few days just by regular use of the water. It is perfectly safe to drink.

Q. Professor Faucet, our water usage is measured in cubic feet. How many gallons are in a cubic foot?

A. There are approximately 7˝ gallons in a cubic foot of water. (For example: 700 cubic feet = 5,250 gallons)

Q. Professor Faucet, one of my faucets drips. Will that increase my water bill?


A. Yes, little leaks add up in a hurry. A faucet drip or invisible toilet leak that totals only two tablespoons a minute comes to fifteen gallons a day. That’s 105 gallons a week and 5,460 wasted gallons a year.

Q. Which uses more water--the shower or the tub?

A. It all depends. A partially filled tub uses much less than a long shower, while a short shower is much more efficient than a brimful tub. If you shower in a bathtub, check yourself by plugging the tub to see how high the water comes when you are finished. Do you use more or less than that amount when you take a bath?

Q. Professor Faucet, every once in a while my water tastes and smells like chlorine. What can I do about it?

A. Chlorine, used by water suppliers to kill harmful germs in drinking water, is a particularly volatile (easy to smell) chemical. What that means to you is that it is easy to get rid of the “medicinal” taste and smell of chlorine in drinking water. You can boil water for about 5 minutes; after you are done, store the water in the refrigerator in a closed glass container. Cold water always tastes better. This should not be a frequent problem with the "District" since they rarely have to chlorinate.

Q. Can I test my toilet for invisible leaks?

A. Yes. You can test it by dropping about 10 drops of food coloring into the tank. Do not flush for 15 minutes. If the colored water shows up in the bowl, the tank is leaking.

Q. I have heard that an aerator will help cut my water usage. What is an aerator?

A. An aerator is a simple device that mixes air with water from your faucet. The air cuts the flow so you use less water. It also keeps the water from splashing so much in the sink.

Q. Is a spray tap the same thing as an aerator?

A. Spray taps work very much like aerators, except that they spray water like a miniature shower. You can swivel them from side to side to direct the spray wherever you want it in the sink. These are great on the kitchen faucet.

Q. Is there a way to cut my water flow in the shower, too?

A. The easiest way to cut back on water usage in the shower is to turn the water on half way instead of full blast, but if you have kids or teenagers that may not be realistic. Water-saving showerheads cut the average flow from about 4.5 gallons per minute to as little as 1.25 gallons per minute. Any showerhead manufactured in the United States is now required by law to release no more than 3.2 gallons per minute. On the average, they will cost about $10.00.

An even less expensive method of slowing water flow is with a shower restrictor. A shower restrictor is a round piece of metal or plastic with a small hole in the center that fits between your showerhead and the faucet pipe. The small hole slows down the flow of water.

If you have questions you would like Professor Faucet to answer please e-mail them to He will try to respond to as many as possible.

This Page Last Modified on May 9, 2017