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Why have your big water heater chuffing uselessly away all day when you’re out? And why should you waste large amounts of running water waiting for the hot water to work its way through the pipes?

Alternatives are point-of-use and tankless water heaters. Tankless models instantaneously heat water as it’s used, so you don’t waste energy keeping water hot when you don’t need it. Small under-the-sink tank heaters keep a quickly renewed supply of hot water where it’s needed.

Here are some additional tips on how to conserve water in your home:

• Wash clothes only when there is a full load.

• When using an automatic dishwasher, use it only when there is a full load or wash the dishes by hand.

• Place a brick or a plastic jug in the tanks of flush toilets to reduce the amount of water the toilet uses. Commercial volume reducers are also available. Note: the plastic jug has the advantages of not deteriorating in the toilet tank and not breaking the tank if accidentally dropped. When planning to remodel a bathroom, request a water-saving toilet. These appliances use only half as much water.

• The use of faucet aerators and spray taps reduce water. These items put millions of air bubbles into the water, reducing the amount of water lost while suds form.

• Flow control devices can be installed on shower heads so water can be turned off when not needed. A normal flow from a shower is between five and 15 gallons per minute. The use of a flow control device can cut water use by 50 to 70 percent. If using an old-fashioned shower head, replace it.

• Flush toilets less often and do not use the toilet for disposing of trash or waste paper.

• Test the toilet for leaking by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank. If the colored water appears in the bowl without flushing, the toilet needs to be fixed. A leaky toilet wastes 3,000 to 5,000 gallons a month.

• Fix leaking faucets. Leaking faucets waste up to 5,000 gallons a month.

• Do not let faucets run for washing or rinsing. Fill a bowl with water for this purpose or rinse at once by using hose spray.

• Do not water lawns or cars.

• Brush teeth before shaving to use cold water in the supply line while waiting for hot water for shaving.

• Keep a bottle of drinking water in the refrigerator to avoid letting water run to get a cold drink,

• Do not prewash dishes for automatic dishwashers unless necessary.

• Do not use the garbage disposal.

• Collect water from roof gutter for lawn and plant waterings.

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Katrina Noel Childress

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