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Reducing Waste by Using Less

A dripping faucet wastes water and if it's dripping hot water, it's wasting energy, too. Often requiring nothing more than a new washer, fixing leaks is one of the quickest and least expensive ways of reducing your energy and water bills.

Another way to reduce waste is to take showers or baths depending on which uses less water. Some think showers use less hot water than baths, others say baths use more. They are both right. Which is correct for you depends on how long and hot your showers are and how deep and warm your baths are.

If you want to know which would use less energy for you, compute the flow rate of your shower and your tub. Flow rate is easy to compute. Just find a watch with a second hand and locate a one-gallon container. A milk jug or ice cream carton will do. Now see how long it takes to fill the one-gallon container from the shower and from the bathtub faucet. Take the number of seconds it takes and divide that number into 60 since there are 60 seconds in a minute. If it fills in 15 seconds, its flow rate is 4 gallons per minute. At that flow rate, a 5-minute shower uses 20 gallons. Now, simply time your next shower and the next time your tub fills and voila, mystery solved.