5 Simple Ways to Save H2O at Home

Although roughly 75 percent of the Earth is covered with water, the reality is that less than 1 percent of that water is fresh and readily available to humans-making conserving the planet's most precious resource more important than ever. Happily, changing water-guzzling habits doesn't require herculean sacrifices or big investments, just modest changes. Bonus: saving water saves money, too!

Fact: On average, a five-minute shower uses 25 gallons of water. That's about 175 gallons per week per person-or 2,800 gallons a month for a family of four!

Reality: Cutting that number in half is as easy as installing a low-flow showerhead, most of which look and perform just like standard models. Delta's Water-Amplifying Showerhead (model 75153) delivers a steady, satisfying stream and costs just $12.75 at

Fact: Leaving the faucet running while polishing your pearly whites (or shaving) wastes 2 to 4 gallons of clean water each and every time you brush.

Reality: If you brush twice a day, simply turning off the faucet will save up to 56 gallons of water a week! Get extra points if you install an inexpensive faucet aerator, which slows the flow even more.

Fact: Toilets use 27% of the water in the average home. Older models fare the worst, using up to 7 gallons per flush.

Reality: If your toilet predates 1992, when energy-efficient models were introduced, replace it with a new high-efficiency model that uses just 1.28 gallons a flush or consider installing a flush toilet conversion kit, such as MJSI's highly rated One2Flush Dual Flush Toilet Conversion Kits ($29.95; The simple device allows less water into the tank per flush, for an average saving of about 30 gallons of water a day per four-person household. Another option: place a 2-liter plastic bottle filled with water into the tank. The container takes up space, so the tank fills faster and uses less water.

Fact: According to the EPA, leaks in American homes account for 1 trillion gallons of wasted water per year-or the annual water use of Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami combined!

Reality: Fixing easily corrected leaks-drippy faucets, faulty sprinklers, old toilet flappers-can save homeowners more than 10% on monthly water bills. The best way to figure out if you have a leak is to check your water meter, then turn off all water sources for two hours. If the meter moves at all, you've got a leakage problem somewhere.

Fact: More than 12 gallons of water travel through a regular garden hose per minute.

Reality: Investing in an H20-conserving hose attachment, such as WaterGeeks' Water-Saving Nozzle ($3.99 each), allows gardeners to turn water on and off as they work and adjust the flow and volume of the water according to the job at hand.

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For more on saving water and energy efficiency, consider:

Low-Flush Toilets Save Money and Water
Quick Tip: Solar Hot Water Systems Save Money
Quick TIp: Save Energy at Home