By Ashley M. Heher, AP Retail Writer
CHICAGO (AP) — The average American household uses almost 100 gallons of water each day, indoors alone. Multiply that by 365, and you could fill a swimming pool. That doesn't count typical outdoor tasks like lawn care and car washing.
For residents of 16 states experiencing some drought conditions and more than a dozen others contending with an unusually dry summer, conserving water is increasingly essential for the environment. It also can provide significant savings on the water bills most homeowners pay.
Here are several simple steps to cut your household's water use by a third — more if you make a few well-chosen investments.
LOWERING YOUR FLOW. Toilets typically guzzle the most water in a home, especially toilets made before 1992, when new codes mandated more efficient models.
Start by putting a brick or large rock in the tank so it takes less water to fill. Stop flushing down bugs, tissues and other random items.
Use a trash basket instead.
Then consider switching out the old commode to cut the water you use per flush by half or more. Models using 1.6 gallons per flush cost $98 and up, plus installation.SHUTTING THE SPIGOT. A gallon of water can flow through a bathroom faucet every 30 seconds.
Start by shutting it off while you brush your pearly whites for the two minutes twice daily that dentists recommend. That can save just under eight gallons of water a day — per person. Similarly, when washing dishes or pots by hand, fill one with warm soapy water and turn off the faucet while you scrub.
Then consider a dishwasher (from $259, plus installation), which can cut water use by three-quarters for a typical meal's dishes.