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Saving water and energy in the home

Good maintenance and clean areas around water heaters and home furnaces can add to energy savings.

More Americans than ever before are striving to be environmentally-friendly these days. Not only does conserving water and energy help reduce our imprint on the planet, it can also ease the burden on our wallets.

"Many Americans now are finding new and innovative ways to save on water and energy costs in their homes without sacrificing the type of lifestyle they're used to," says Tom Moskitis, Executive Director of the Council for Responsible Energy. "Little changes can go a long way."

Here are some easy tips to help you save water and energy at home.

* Wash Full Loads. When it comes to dishes and laundry, wait until you have a full load before running the appliance. And use cold water for laundry and air dry dishes when you can.

* Heat With Natural Gas. A gas water heater can heat water up to twice as fast as an electric one. And a natural gas water heater emits up to half the carbon emissions of an electric water heater.

* Go Tankless. For even more efficiency, install a tankless water heater, which heats water on demand. A natural gas tankless water heater, near the point of use, eliminates energy loss caused by tank heaters that have unused water cooling in the tank. This can save hundreds of gallons of water over the course of a year. Plus, such tankless heaters last almost twice as long as tank water heaters.

* Take Low-Volume Showers. Replace your high-volume shower head with an aerated shower head, which uses a mix of water and air to produce a flow that feels strong but can save up to 60 percent of water compared to an average shower -- reducing both your water and energy use.

* Avoid the "Phantom Load." Appliances such as your TV, DVD player, cell phone charger, computer and other gadgets consume energy just by being plugged in. Unplug them when not in use. If that's too cumbersome, plug them into a powerstrip that you can turn on and off with just one flick of a switch.

* Fix Leaks. From dripping faucets to drafty doors and windows, leaks can be a major source of energy and water waste. Being a responsible homeowner or tenant and attending to those annoying home improvements can significantly reduce your monthly water and energy bills.

For more tips on saving water and energy in your home, visit

When it comes to your money and the planet, little steps can make a big difference.

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