A recent incident involving water pressure caused me to do a little research about government intervention in the bathroom. What I found makes me wonder just how far the government might be willing to go to control my bathroom habits.
Twenty years ago, we built a new house, and the master bath is equipped with his and her sinks with identical fixtures. After a few years, my sink faucet was not functioning correctly, and the manufacturer replaced it free of charge. Problem solved, or was it?
It didn’t take long to figure out that the new faucet put out water at considerably lower pressure and flow rate than either of the originals. It didn’t seem to be a big problem, so I basically ignored it, except that every time my wife turned on the water in her sink, I did get a little envious.
Not long after that, I bought a new electric razor, one that supposedly can be cleaned under a faucet rather than having to disassemble it frequently. The problem was, I couldn’t sufficiently clean the razor because the faucet pressure was not adequate to do it properly. I still was tediously disassembling the razor on a regular basis. I decided to check into why the new faucet was different.
I found that the government had passed regulations requiring that all new faucets manufactured after a certain date could only put out water at a rate not exceeding 2.5 gallons per minute. I’m sure that this was done as just another part of the government’s often misguided efforts to protect the environment. The regulation was probably written by a fresh out of college bureaucrat out to change the world, and approved by other bureaucrats who have not a clue as to what they are approving, or what the end result might be.
Of course, misguided government programs are nothing new. Remember when we were supposedly running out of natural gas and Jimmy Carter’s administration forced the removal of pilot lights from gas stoves and furnaces? The whole idea proved to be totally false, so much so that today we have a glut of natural gas, prices are ridiculously low, and some shale field drillers are burning off excess gas or releasing it into the atmosphere for lack of storage space or pipeline capacity. But we still don’t have pilot lights.
When we built the new house, I almost took a trip to Canada to by toilets, since the Canadian government had not yet succumbed to the temptation to monitor our bathrooms. Here, new regulations limiting the amount of water per flush had recently been implemented, and most of the required new toilets were not working properly. Again, the government’s misguided efforts had backfired, and instead of the new toilet saving water, the multiple flushes that they required actually used more water than the ones that preceded them.
My daughter recently remodeled her house, and as I walked by the dumpster in her driveway, I spotted a faucet identical to mine that she had discarded. I knew that it had to be over 30 years old, so I took it home and installed it in place of the new one on my sink. It put outs pressure like I had not seen in 20 years. I get enough pressure to clean my razor properly, and I’m getting better shaves than at any time since I bought it.
It does occasionally cross my mind as I’m standing gazing in awe at the copious amounts of water swirling down the drain in my sink, that I might have to worry about a SWAT team from the FBI or the FPP (Federal Plumbing Police) suddenly breaking down my door screaming “Back away from the sink”.
Until then, I have one more reason to consider a trip to the bathroom to be enjoyable- I can just stand and stare in wide-eyed admiration at the stream of water pouring from a faucet built without government intervention.
Don Stratton is a retired inspector for the Lima Police Department. He writes a guest column for The Lima News, often focusing on police matters.