Every household runs on a budget. And when you suddenly receive a water bill that is substantially larger than expected, it alters the rest of your budget. But that larger water bill should also be the reason for another warning bell to ring. Something about your home’s water usage has changed. And in most cases, that change could be a water leak. If that is the case, the added cost of more water could be just the beginning of your financial woes. Water damage, leak detection, and repairs to your home can quickly jump to thousands of dollars that you were not planning to spend. But knowing the common causes of a sudden increase in your water bill can help you locate the problem and correct it quickly and affordably.
The Dreaded Running Toilet
Toilets account for almost one-third of all water used inside the average American home. This means that a leaking toilet is going to waste a significant amount of water and also be costly. On average, it is estimated that a running or leaking toilet can waste 6,000 gallons of water in just a single month.
You can check for leaks both in a visual and auditory manner. Walk up to a toilet and listen for the sound of water flowing or a slight hissing sound. If you hear these noises, then your toilet flapper is allowing water to flow from the tank to the bowl. Visually, you will want to look for the apparent leaks at the pipe connections and seals.
Another test requires the use of food coloring or a dye tablet. Take the lid off the toilet tank and put a dye tablet or a few drops of food coloring into the water. Then wait for about 20 minutes before looking at the water in the toilet bowl. If there is a flapper leak, the water in the bowl will be the same color as the water in the tank. In most cases, a flapper replacement will solve the issue and save you a considerable amount of water and money.
Dripping faucets and showers are not only annoying but also very wasteful. A faucet that drips once a second will waste about 15 gallons of water each day. And in round numbers, that is a little over 500 gallons each month. And that is just one faucet dripping. Fortunately, this is an easy leak to spot and to repair.
A worn-out rubber washer most often causes faucet leaks. This tiny part usually costs less than a dollar and can be replaced in just minutes. Turn the water off to the offending faucet. Then unscrew the handle, remove the worn-out washer and replace it with a new one. Then reinstall the handle and slowly turn the water to the faucet back on. This is a simple fix thanks to the shut-off valves that are installed under almost every sink in your home.
If you have an underground watering system in your yard, you could be overlooking a significant water leak. And the leaks outdoors are certainly more tricky to locate. If you see an area in the grass that is always taller and greener than the rest, chances are there is a leak. In planting areas, a constant moist area is a good indication of a water leak. You might not see water gushing from the area because the leak is in a lateral line and only leaks when that zone is operating. It is a good idea to watch your system run from time to time to inspect for these easily missed lateral line leaks.
Other Changes In Water Consumption
You might actually be using more water in your home if you have guests, or when the weather is warmer. If you have inspected your plumbing and located no leaks, the increase in usage can explain a higher water bill. But it is a good idea to call the leak detection specialists at Flow Plumbing if you suspect the issue is more due to a leak than normal usage.
Also, think about any new equipment or items that you have added to your home. Getting a new pressure washer, spa, or fridge with a water dispenser could be increasing your home’s water consumption. And finally, think about some habits that could be wasting water. Did you forget to turn off a hose when watering the garden? Have you been taking longer showers or more frequent showers since you joined the gym? Or are you washing more dishes by hand? All of these could explain your higher water bill. But it is always wise to call the pros at Flow Plumbing to check for a leak when your water bill increase is not easy to explain.