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Water: A Common Budget Leak

By Cary Anderson

Americans use water like the stuff is free, but unfortunately itís not. Some sizable chunk of the average personís water bill contains a lot of wasted water. Follow these tips to save dozens or even hundreds of gallons of water per month and put a few dollars back in your pocket:

  • Use a dishwasher. You actually use more water washing dishes by hand.
  • Only run your dishwasher when itís full.
  • Donít run the tap waiting for water to become hot, just put in the microwave for a few seconds instead.
  • Donít run the tap waiting for water to become cold, just use ice or put it in the refrigerator.
  • Switch to a low-flow shower-head that dispenses around 2.5 gallons per minute, about half that of outdated shower-heads. You can cut your water bill drastically by doing this.
  • Take shorter showers. Be efficient about your time in the shower to get in and out as quickly as possible.
  • Donít turn water on full blast. Just try doing typical tasks by only using a small stream of water. You might surprise yourself at how easy it is without slowing you down.
  • Run water only when you need it while brushing your teeth.
  • Make sure your faucets arenít leaking. Even a little drip can waste hundreds of gallons a year.
  • Keep your toilet well-maintained. Replacing your flapper can save hundreds a year on lost water.
  • A trick to get your toilet to use less water is to put a sealed bottled of water in the tank. The bottle will displace water and cause your toilet to use less (a liter bottle will cut your toiletís capacity by a liter).
  • Shop for a low-flow toilet.
  • Wash only full loads of clothes.
  • Wear outer garments more than once in between washes.
  • Capture greywater. You can use unused drinking water, water dispensed while waiting for your shower to heat up, etc to water your plants or wash your car.
  • Capture rainwater. The rainwater that comes out of your gutter spouts can be used to water plants and wash vehicles.

As you can see, using less water usually only takes a little creativity and due diligence. By following these practices, you can cut your water bill in half, or more!

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