Tips to save water (and money!) around the house in 2018

Make 2018 better for the Earth and your bank account.

Alina Bradford
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
1 of 20 Alina Bradford/CNET

These tips will make your life greener in two ways. First, they save water, which is good for the environment. Second, they will save you money on your water bill. Your conscience and your wallet will be pleased.

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Get an app

It's true -- there is an app for everything, and that includes water conservation. Sarah Jacobsson Purewal has rounded up five apps that help you save water, monitor your usage and compare your usage to your neighbors'.  

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Fix drips

A faucet that drips 1 drop per second can waste up to 1,661 gallons (6,288 liters) of water in a year! The fix is probably as simple as replacing an O-ring in your faucet, which is inexpensive, and you can learn how to change one on YouTube.

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Add it up

Don't think your drips are a big deal? You can calculate how much water you're wasting using this handy waste calculator provided by the US Geological Survey

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​Get a new shower head

Low-flow shower heads save you around 5 gallons (19 liters) of water per shower, according to Energy Star. Just be sure you purchase a shower head that is rated at 2.5 gallon (9.4 liters) per minute or less.

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Some choices

There are many smart showers on the market that save money and give you extra luxuries. For example, the U by Moen Smart Shower warms up your water, then pauses the flow until you're ready to shower. This gives you time to get undressed and attend to other tasks before getting in the shower without wasting.

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Shower patrol

If you have a family member that loves to take long showers -- and you can't seem to make them stop -- have your shower head do it for you.The Hydrao First shower head, for example, changes colors to let the super clean waster know they've used too much water. A water timer like Shower Manager, can just shut off the water when a preselected time is up.

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Stop leaks

Leaks in broken pipes or joints can lose even more water than a drip, and can cause massive water damage to your home. Turn off the water to that pipe, if possible, until it's fixed.

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Leak detectors

In the future, a detector like a SmartThings Water Leak Sensor or an Lyric Water Leak and Freeze Detector can alert you to leaks as soon as they happen. Here's our list of best smart leak detectors for 2018.  

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Save gutter water for plants

Don't let your gutter water get flushed away into the sewer. Use a collection system that saves the rain so you can use it to water plants during the dry times. 

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Water collection systems

Under this garden is a 1,000-gallon cistern for storing rainwater. It's used to water the plants.

Some affordable systems are The Great American Rain Barrel, Aquabarrel and the Good Ideas 50 Gallon Rain Wizard Flat Back Rain Barrel.  Before installing, be sure to check your state's laws on water collecting

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​Use your dishwasher

Hand-washing your dishes wastes 27 gallons (102 liters) of water while dishwashers use only around 3 gallons per load (11 liters). Learn more about hand-washing versus dishwashers here.

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​Replace your dishwasher

If your dishwasher is old, though, it may not be saving as much water as it should. Units made before 1994 waste around 10 gallons (38 liters) of water per load. Here are some other signs it's time to upgrade to a new model.

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Don't overwater

Many people just set their sprinklers to water the lawn every day, even though it may not need it. If your lawn is turning yellow, gray or spotted, then you're probably over watering it.  

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Do the foot test

To save water, do the foot test. Walk across your lawn and look behind you. If the grass blades aren't popping back up after you step on them, then it's thirsty. If they do pop up, you can skip a watering. A more high-tech solution is buying a moisture detector like the AM Conservation Soil and Plant Moisture Meter or the Dr. Meter Moisture Sensor Hydrometer.

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​Water smart

When your lawn is thirsty, only water it during the coolest time of the day and don't water when it's windy. This will help to avoid moisture loss from evaporation, which means you'll need to water less.

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Get a smart sprinkler controller

You may also want to consider installing a sprinkler controller like Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller  or the Blossom 8. They can adjust your watering schedule according to the weather, insuring you don't over, or under, water your grass.

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Get a new toilet

If you have an old toilet, you're probably wasting water. New toilets use as little as 0.6 to 1.6 gallons (2.3 to 6 liters) per flush and still gets rid of, well, you know. Older toilets use 3 to 5 gallons (11 to 19 liters) per flush. Considering the average person urinates up to 3,650 times per year, newer toilets offer big savings.

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Don't keep flushing

If your toilet is slow to drain when you flush, don't keep flushing. That just wastes water and won't fix the problem. Instead, put one cup of dish washing liquid in the bowl. Let it sit for an hour, then use your plunger to push the water in the bowl through the pipes. Now, flush. Your problem should be solved.

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Buy a new washer

New Energy Star-certified washers use around 45 percent less water. Upgrading to a certified washer could save you 3,000 gallons of water per year. Here are our picks for the best washers of 2018.

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