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How to Lower Your Household Water Flow

Whole Living, April 2011

Cost: Low (less than $100)

Commitment: Low

Green Impact: 3 out of 5

Installing brand-new efficient faucets and toilets is great, but these wallet-friendly upgrades that don't require a plumber are a good alternative.

1. Retrofit your faucet by screwing on a $3 aerator. It uses pressure to reduce the water flow, saving you up to 500 gallons a year.

2. In the shower, low flow doesn't have to mean a weak trickle. The average U.S. household could save 2,300 gallons a year with EPA WaterSense-labeled showerheads (from about $15, homedepot.com), which limit flow to at least 2 gallons per minute. As you save water, you'll also save the electricity required to heat it.

3. Old toilets are the biggest water guzzlers in American homes. Upgrading to a WaterSense-labeled toilet will give you the best bang for your buck. (A $250 model can save a family of four 16,000 gallons a year.) Or place a filled water bottle in the tank to conserve 4,000 gallons per year.