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9 Ways to Save Water at Home

Typical homeowners use more water than they actually need. If you're trying to save money in today's tough economy, it makes financial sense to look at the way your house uses water and find ways to conserve.

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Where to Start Saving

We use an average of 100 gallons of water every day — 400 gallons, if we're talking about two parents and kids in a house. According to EPA reports, "40 of 50 states expect water shortages in some portion of their states under average conditions in the next 10 years". So if you're wondering where to begin and what you should be looking at, check out these different ways you can reduce water use in your home.

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Invest in WaterSense Certified Products

The Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense program partners with water utilities, product manufacturers and retailers to encourage water conservation and development of water-efficient products. Any product that uses water — faucets, toilets, showerheads, appliances — can have the WaterSense label, which shows the product meets EPA criteria for efficiency and performance.

Concerned about the effectiveness of low-flow products? Things have changed.

"The low-flow flushing and showerheads have a pretty bad rap, in part because, well, I always think of that Seinfeld episode," says Roto-Rooter spokesman Paul Abrams, referencing a plot where Jerry and Kramer aren't pleased by the low-flow showerheads that the apartment building has installed, "and as was the case with a lot of first generation innovations, they were pretty awful. But that's not the case anymore. These low-flow showerheads are fantastic. It comes down to, I think, better engineering. And if you look at the potential savings in water and energy, it's a no-brainer."

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Retrofit Your Plumbing: Dual Flush for a Fraction of the Price

If you're serious about water conservation, a professional plumber can recommend ways you can make water flow in your home more efficient. National plumbing chain Roto-Rooter, for instance, recently unveiled a green program aimed at encouraging homeowners to retrofit their existing showers, sinks and toilets to make them more efficient in how they use water.

"We decided if we really wanted to be green, we needed to come up with a plan for all levels of society," Paul says. "People might not have a lot of money to buy a new toilet — saying, 'Hey, come into my house, and I'll buy and have you install three $250 toilets, that adds up pretty fast. But having your existing toilets, sinks and showers more efficient by retrofitting them, that's a little more manageable and can serve a much bigger slice of the population."

Paul says the price of doing that will vary depending where you live and what appliances you have, but he says the company is confident that customers will recoup their costs within a year. For instance, they can install a HydroRight dual-flush converter, which should save the average family up to 8,050 gallons of water a year, or approximately $58.

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Go Tankless With Your Water Heater

Tankless water heaters are two to three times more expensive than a conventional water heater, but there are federal, state and local tax breaks and rebates to help offset the costs. Plus, you can cut your water bill by 20 percent to 60 percent.

How does it work? Unlike a traditional tank that heats a supply of water 24/7, a tankless heater only heats when you turn on the hot water faucet. Cold water zips through the tankless unit, and a gas burner quickly heats it to the preset temperature.

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