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THINGS YOU NEED: An 8-ounce glass or plasticgraduated measuring cup. A pencil and some paper. A leaky faucet (optional). A clock.

Drip. . . drip. . . drip. .. goes the leaky faucet. Each drop of water is tiny, but add all the drops together and we end up with thousands of gallons of water dripping from the faucet each year. If hot water is dripping down the drain, we are wasting more than clean water. .. we are throwing away the energy used to heat the water.

Here’s an experiment that shows you how serious the problem is. If you have a leaky faucet, use it. Otherwise, adjust your kitchen sink faucet (cold water, please) to produce a steady drip. . . drip. . . drip.

Simply place the measuring cup underneath the dripping faucet, and collect 15-minutes worth of drip. You might, for example, collect 4 ounces of water in 15 minutes.

Now we have to do some arithmetic to find out how much energy was wasted. Get your pencil and paper (and your thinking cap). We’ll use the 4-ounce figure in the example below:

Step 1: Multiply the number of ounces of water by 4 — this gives you the number of ounces per hour leaking through the faucet.

4 ounces X 4 = 16 ounces per hour

Step 2: Multiply the answer from Step 1 by 24— this gives the number of ounces per day leaking through the faucet.

16 ounces per hour X 24 = 384 ounces per day