Toilet and Faucet Leaks
The most common cause for a high water bill is running water from your toilet. A continuously running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons a day or more. Some leaks are easy to find, such as a dripping faucet or running toilet. You can usually hear a running toilet, but not always. See the toilet assessment below for help in determining if this is the cause of your high water bill. Routinely check your plumbing and home for leaky faucets, toilets, and outside taps and irrigation lines.
- Do-It-Yourself Toilet Assessment
First, check for the most common leak: a deteriorated or defected flush valve (flapper) ball at the bottom of the toilet tank. If it does not make a tight seal, water will leak into the toilet bowl. To check for this, take the lid off of the tank behind the bowl, flush the toilet, then wait for it to fully refill. Next, put a few drops of dye or a colored dye tablet in the tank. Wait at least 20 minutes and longer if you suspect it is a small leak. If there is any color in the toilet, there is a leak.
The second most common type of leak has to do with an improperly adjusted or broken fill (ballcock) valve. To check for this, take the lid off of the toilet tank, flush, and see if water is draining into the overflow tubes when the tank is full.
Outdoor and Underground Leaks
Leaks can also occur in harder to find places, such as under your house or in the service line between your water meter and your home. Check outdoor spigots and crawl spaces, and look for wet spots in your yard, which may indicate a leak.
During the summer, irrigation systems are a common source of high water use. Automated irrigation systems should be checked regularly to be sure they are functioning properly and have no leaks or broken sprinkler heads. If a sprinkler valve sticks on, it could waste an extremely large quantity of water.
Customers with water softeners have higher water bills due to the regeneration or backwash cycles their systems go through. Systems are preset to regenerate or backwash on a regular basis. Water is used to clean the filter media and discharge the wastewater into the ground next to the system. There are times when these systems will get stuck in a cycle which will cause higher water use.
Changes in Water Use
Did you have house guests, water your lawn longer than usual, or do anything else out of the ordinary in the last month? If so, this may account for an increase in your water bill.