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Originally published June 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM | Page modified June 10, 2009 at 3:01 PM

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5 water-saving plumbing fixtures

Ed the Plumber: A hot sheet of water-saving fixtures for the home.

HGTVPro.com

I believe the urgent issue right now is not building new cars that can save more gas, but updating our present homes to save more water.

Ask anyone who lives in places like Atlanta, parts of Texas, and many areas about what it feels like to reduce the amount of water used at home, and you'll realize that water shortages are happening across the country. With that in mind, I put together my list of five water-saving plumbing fixtures that really work and can be installed easily in any home:

1. Install a "PRV"(pressure-reducing valve) on your main water line. A home will work fine with water pressure in the range of 35psi. However, many homes are unknowingly using water pressure well over 70psi. Have your plumber check your water pressure and, if needed, have a PRV installed and save water as well as your pipes.

2. Install performance showerheads. Standard showerheads use about 2.5 gpm (gallons per minute), and performance showerheads use about 1.75 gpm. That's a savings of about 30 percent for all your showering water, and with the new performance pressure head design you'll probably not even realize you're saving all that water.

3. Install a "HET"(high-efficiency toilet) with the Environmental Protection Agency "water sense" label. Over 40 percent of us are still using older toilets that flush with about 3.5 gallons per flush. New high-efficiency toilets use less than 1.3 gpf by using flushing systems like "Class 6"technology. The EPA "water sense"shows that the HET was tested for maximum flushing power while saving "thousands"of gallons of water a year over older toilets.

4. Install a re-circulating hot-water system. Just like the hotels, new residential "re-circulating hot-water kits" work with your present hot-water tank to deliver hot water quickly to showers and faucets. Stopping the waste of all that cold water down the drain while waiting for the hot water to kick in will make your morning routine more efficient as well.

5. Install water-saving faucets. By dropping the gallons used per minute from about 2.2 gpm to about 1.5 gpm, new redesigned faucets are also saving about 30 percent of your faucet water without sacrificing good pressure. Some kitchen faucets also have special built-in filtered-water taps that allow you to make your own bottled water.

If you do even one of these projects, not only will you see your own water and sewer bills go down, but you'll be able to help out the environment without even leaving the comfort of your own home.

Master Contractor/Plumber Ed Del Grande is known as the author of the book "Ed Del Grande's House Call" and for hosting TV shows on Scripps Networks and HGTVPro.com. For information visit eddelgrande.com or write eddelgrande@hgtvpro.com. Always consult local contractors and codes.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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