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Dear Ed: Like most families, we want to cut down on our home’s water usage. To be honest, other than taking shorter showers I’m not sure where to start. What are your recommendations for easy ways average families can save water?

— Joe, Ohio

Dear Joe: Most homeowners overlook this added benefit when it comes to saving water. In most cases if you lower your town water use, your town sewer costs can also be lowered. If you have a well and septic tank, using less water can lead to lower maintenance costs as well. So, updating to water-saving plumbing fixtures is one of the best investments you can make for your home.

Most older plumbing fixtures were not designed to be high-efficiency plumbing fixtures. So, the easy trick to saving water is to remove older water-wasting fixtures and install new high-efficiency plumbing fixtures. This way, you really don’t have to change your lifestyle. The new fixtures do the water saving work for you.

Look for toilets that use less than 1.3 gallons per flush, showerheads that use 1.75 gallons per minute (gpm) or less and bathroom faucets that use 1.5 gpm.

The good news is you don’t have to upgrade all your fixtures at once. Start with the toilet first, then let your water-saving upgrade projects flow from there.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is author of the book “Ed Del Grande’s House Call,” the host of TV and Internet shows, and a LEED green associate. Visit eddelgrande.com or write eadelg@cs.com.

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