1. Don't pour liquid grease down the drain. Before washing pots and pans, wipe out congealed grease with a paper towel.

2. Once a week run hot water down the drain to help keep it free-flowing.

3. Tubs and showers should be fitted with a strainer that catches hair and soap chips. Clean the strainer regularly.

4. Foul odors occur from a build up of food debris inside your garbage disposer. To eliminate these odors, place ice cubes and lemon peels in the disposer and run for about 30 seconds, then rinse with cold water.

5. To prevent sewer gases from backing up into your home through your basement floor drain, periodically pour a bucket of water down the drain to keep the trap seal full.

6. To remove unsightly mineral deposits on your shower head, put one cup of vinegar in a plastic bag and place it over the shower head. Hold it in place with a twist tie and let stand overnight. In the morning, remove the bag and the mineral deposits should come off by wiping with a damp cloth.

7. Repair leaky faucets quickly to avoid further damage to the fixtures and faucets.

8. Put 12 drops of green food coloring into your toilet tank to test for silent leaks. If the dye appears in the bowl, you may need to change the ball or flapper valve. The toilet is leakfree if no dye appears within 15 minutes.

9. Do not use your toilet as a wastebasket. Do not flush items that can be placed in a trash container.

10. Septic tanks should be inspected and pumped every three to five years to help prevent costly replacement of the filter field.

11. It is extremely important to know the location of the main water shut off valve in the house. Find it now so you're prepared to shut it off fast if a pipe breaks or the water heater bursts. If located in a locked closet or shed area, make sure a key is readily available.

12. If your drainfield appears flooded with water on the surface of the ground or you have extremely green lawn in a particular area, check for dripping faucets or leaky toilets before agreeing to costly repairs. Often a minor adjustment will fix your problem.

13. Don't use excessive amounts of detergents, bleach or chemicals that may kill the natural bacteria in your septic system.

14. Use biodegradable soaps and detergents.

15. To prevent excessive watering of your lawn in the summertime, purchase an inexpensive spring-loaded timer which attaches directly to your outside faucet. This will prevent overwatering in case you forget to shut off the sprinkler.

16. Water pressure in your home above 60 pounds per square inch is harmful to your plumbing system and will cause excessive water usage. Contact your local water authority to find out what the water pressure is on your street. If it exceeds 60 pounds, consider installing a pressure reducing valve that will limit the water pressure within your home.

17. When replacing plumbing fixtures, consider the long term savings by purchasing a high efficiency water heater, or a low water consumption fixture.

18. Toilets consume more than 40% of your total water usage. Installation of a new toilet flapper and fill valve will keep your toilet running efficiently.

19. Conserve energy by checking the temperature setting on your water heater. It should not be above 120 degrees Fahrenheit or medium setting on older models.

20. Replacing an old shower head can save up to 7.5 gallons of water per minute without sacrificing full spray action at low or high water pressures.

21. Don't put up with any slowly dripping faucets. A slow drip can waste as much as 150 gallons of water each day, or 4,500 gallons per month and will add to the water bill.

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