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The best ways to save money on your water bill

Posted January 16, 2019 4:45 p.m. EST
Updated January 16, 2019 5:49 p.m. EST

The biggest energy expense in a home is its heating and cooling, but the second biggest is water. Heating water for laundry, washing dishes and bathing can rack up high bills, but there are simple things you can do to decrease those numbers.

In the bathroom

Try a shorter shower, and stop letting the water run while shaving or brushing your teeth. Experts say 20 percent of water used in the average household comes out of the shower. A standard shower head releases 2.5 gallons of water a minute, but a low-flow Watersense-approved head can save 2,900 gallons of water a year.

In the kitchen

After scraping food from dishes, there's no need to rinse them before putting them in the dishwasher. When you do so, you're essentially cleaning them twice. You can also adjust the dishwasher's sensors to run a lighter wash.

For best results in energy savings, always run your dishwasher fully loaded, and consider replacing your old dishwasher.

Newer, energy-efficient models use as little as four gallons per load.

In the laundry room

Ninety percent of your washer's energy goes to heating the water -- but using warm water instead of hot for your laundry can cut a load's energy use in half. Using cool water will save even more.

Worried about washing in cold water? Consumer Reports' tests show your clothes will still get clean. Because energy-efficient washers operate at cooler temperatures, detergents have been reformulated to do a fine job in cool water.

Check all faucets

Little leaks from faucets, shower heads or toilets can add up. One drip per second wastes almost 1,700 gallons of water a year.

To find out whether your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring into the tank. If there's color in the bowl after 10 minutes, you've got a leak, and it's time to fix it or replace the toilet.