Have you ever had a dripping faucet? You know the kind we’re talking about; the ones that go drip-drip-drip all through the night and all you can think of is how much money is going right down the drain? It’s annoying, frustrating, and expensive.

Now imagine that amount of water multiplied by 100, happening all over your house, several times a day in the form of flushing toilets, outdated appliances, and water sprinklers that are run too much. It’s enough to make your skin crawl, huh?

Fortunately, saving water doesn’t have to be complicated. With a few minor adjustments to your lifestyle or an upfront financial investment, you can end up saving thousands of dollars over the years that would’ve otherwise been flushed away. Here are a few ideas to get started.

Invest in Energy-Efficient Appliances

This one will cost some money, but if you’re set on conserving water (a must if you live in dryer climates like Arizona), then it may be worth it and then some. Or, if you’re in the market for new appliances anyway, why not just replace the ones you have with ones that are energy-efficient? They might be a little extra, but they’ll pay for themselves rather quickly.

When shopping, look for the “Energy Star” logo. These appliances have economy settings that you let you adjust the amount of water that is used every time it’s operated. You won’t want to mess with the settings too much in order to let your system actually work the way it’s designed, but the ability to dial it down for a smaller load is irreplaceable.

If you’re not in the market for new appliance, make it a goal to only use them when you have a full load. Thousands of gallons of water is wasted every day because of half-filled dishwashers and washing machines, so make each cycle count by waiting til you have a full load. Pre-rinse the dishes in the sink and let them soak to compound the water-saving effect even more.

Change Your Toilet

New federal laws mandate that all new toilets manufactured in the United States must use no more than 1.6 gallons per flush. That may still seem like a lot, until you consider that older toilets can use up to 7 gallons per flush! Multiply that by the average per-person flush rate of five flushes per day, and you’ve got a 31% of your average water usage confined to the commode.

What’s a family of four to do? Simple: Install new, high-efficiency toilets throughout your house. There are several to choose from, such as Ultra-High Efficiency Toilets, dual flush toilets, and WaterSense toilets – all of them will help turn your consumption down and the savings up. The difference is real, too. Whereas that same family of four would use close to 26,000 gallons of water every year in toilet flushes, water-efficient toilets can take that down to 11,000 gallons. You’ll notice the difference in your water bill too.

Don’t Leave Water Running

Call it apathy or habit, but we humans have a tough time turning the faucet off when we’re performing mundane tasks like washing dishes or brushing our teeth. Oftentimes, we’ll turn the faucet on to get the toothbrush wet, then leave it running for the entire two minutes that we’re brushing our teeth. That’s a TON of water wasted.

Instead, make a commitment to only use the amount you need. Fill up a glass and use that to rinse out your mouth, or put some water in the sink and wash your dishes in that instead of running the water continuously. Implementing small changes like that can have big effects in your water bill, especially if you can make them family-wide.

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