Unusually High Water Bill? A Plumbing Leak Could Be The Reason

Nowadays, while it may seem obvious to attribute your increased monthly water bill to working more from home, your kids’ virtual/hybrid homeschooling, or a week-long houseguest, there could always be an apparent or underlying water leak that needs attention and repair. First, check to make sure your water rates haven’t increased. Then, a bit of detective work could save you money and frustration if an untreated plumbing leak worsens. Check out the list below to make sure all of your home’s systems are continuing to function – leak free.

Check Your Water Meter

When no one is using any water in the home, your water meter’s flow indicator (needle rotating clockwise) will stop rotating. The leak indicator (small spinning rectangle or cog) measures the very slow flow of water. If the leak indicator continues to rotate when no one is using any water, it presumably indicates a leak. Write down the meter register number of gallons used and wait 10-20 minutes. If this number has increased, you may have a hidden water leak or running toilet. 

Checking For Leaks

Shut off the valves to each of your plumbing fixtures one by one, and check the leak indicator and register number after each shutoff. If closing a valve stops the indicator from moving or slows even more, you have found a leak. Once the leak is repaired, use the indicator again to check for additional leaks.

  1. Running toilets can waste up to 200 gallons a day. Use the sound check method to hear for a sporadic or continual flushing noise, water dripping/draining or hissing noise. You can also add food coloring to the toilet tank & wait 20-30 minutes to check to see if dyed tank water is leaking into the toilet bowl.
  2. Leaky faucets & fixtures that leak about one drip per second can waste 5+ gallons a day. Simply do a visual check of your faucets, showerheads, washing machine, dishwasher and shut-off valves. Also, check the tub/shower plumbing behind the wall through your access panel. And, don’t forget to step outside and make sure your hose bibb & spigot aren’t leaking. If necessary, place a cup underneath the fixture and check back to see if any water has accumulated.
  3. While you are outside, check your irrigation system. A loose joint or line crack could allow water to leak even when the system is off. Check for pooling water or patches that are lusher than its surrounding.
  4. If you have a water softener, the system periodically backwashes with fresh water to regenerate. Your backwash valve can get stuck in the open position which causes water to be continuously wasted into the sewer system.
  5. HVAC malfunctioning – faulty furnace humidifiers, leaking water heater and boilers, disconnected ducts and incorrect thermostat connections or lack of maintenance can add to your water consumption.
  6. Compromised plumbing inside walls causing water damage. Check for visible puddles and/or wet carpet near a wall, mold and/or mildew, water spots or discoloration on walls/ceilings, peeling/bubbling paint or wallpaper, musty smells.
  7. Faulty water meter. 

If you are experiencing any issues with any of your plumbing, please give us a call or click on the correct link below.