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Steps to prevent water usage from draining your finances

Don’t be a drip.

Sound advice when it comes to your personality. And even better advice when it comes to how you let water pour through your house.

Tony Benson, spokesman for Rochester Public Utilities, said the company as a variety of rebates designed to help customers save water and save cash. "Purchasing water-efficient equipment and making changes in your daily habits can save water and save you money on your utility bill," he said.

Rebates range from high-efficiency toilets — $50 rebate — to rotating sprinkler nozzles — $3 per nozzle. And consumers can combine water rebates with other rebates, such as a $25 water rebate and a $50 electric rebate for a new clothes washer that is both water-efficient and Energy Star-compliant.

One of RPU’s most popular deals is for rain barrels. Consumers who purchase barrels or the materials to build a barrel can get a $10 rebate. "Instead of water just going into the grass and the storm sewers, it is diverted to the barrel," Benson said. "The water can be used to water gardens or flower beds."

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And that is water saved both on your bill and in the environment. Benson said how much water consumers save will depend on how much they’ve been wasting. And while conservation equipment can help, it’s really just a drop in the bucket.

To really save water, consumers need to change their habits at the tap and fix dripping leaks in their homes to stop the wave of waste. "There are easy ways for people to cut back on their water use and not even know they did it," he said.

Here are some of Benson’s favorite ways to save:

1. Water-saving shower heads are nice, but to save even more while getting clean, speed

up the time you're in the shower. A long, hot shower can waste five to 10 gallons of water every minute.

2. Don’t treat your toilet like a trash can. Everything you flush can be several gallons of water.

3. Put some sort of volume taker in your toilet tank. Plastic bottles filled with sand will lower the amount of water needed to fill your tank after each flush.

4. When it comes to the toilet, if you’re afraid you might have a leak, put some food coloring in the tank. If it seeps into the bowl (without you having flushed), you know you’ve got water pouring down the drain.

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5. Don’t just leave the water running. Whether it is when you brush your teeth or are washing dishes by hand, a steady stream from the faucet is water — and money — down the drain. Just turn on the tap when rinsing, and you’ll save gallons.

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