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Why is my water bill so high?

Man looking at high water bills

Water bills usually increase due to increased usage. Sometimes when you see a high water bill, the cause may be a water leak in your home. Here are some common home water leaks and the amount of water it can waste:

  • Dripping Faucets: A single dripping faucet can waste around 4-5 gallons of water per day, which adds up to approximately1,500-2,000 gallons per year.
  • Leaking Toilets: A leaking toilet can waste a significant amount of water. A slow leak in the toilet tank can waste around 50 gallons  of water per day, while a more severe leak can result in the wastage of up to 200 gallons or more daily.
  • Leaking Showerheads: A leaking or poorly adjusted showerhead can waste around 2-5 gallons of water per minute. If left unaddressed, this can amount to hundreds or even thousands of liters per day.
  • Broken or Leaking Pipes: Pipe leaks can vary in severity, but even a small crack or pinhole leak can waste several liters of water per minute, resulting in substantial wastage over time. The exact amount will depend on the size of the leak and the duration.
  • Irrigation System Leaks: Outdoor irrigation systems, such as sprinklers, can waste a considerable amount of water if there are leaks or misaligned heads. The exact amount of water wasted will depend on the size and number of leaks and the duration of irrigation.

The increase in your water bill could be due to rates being increased.  Municipal Utility Districts (MUD) sometimes raise their rates for water, sewer and trash to help the community maintain services such as fire departments and other services.  Check with your city or local municipality to see why.

Check your home for water leaks in relation to a high water bill

Checking your home for water leaks is an important step in water conservation and preventing potential damage. Here are some steps you can follow to check for water leaks:

  1. Monitor your water meter: Start by ensuring that no water is being used inside or outside your home. Locate your water meter, usually found near the curb outside your house or in the basement. Take note of the current reading or mark the position of the needle or digits. Wait for at least 1-2 hours without using any water and then check the meter again. If the reading has changed, it indicates a possible leak.

  2. Examine your water bill: Compare your water usage from month to month. If you notice a significant increase in your water bill without any apparent reason, it could be an indication of a leak.

  3. Listen for sounds: Turn off all appliances and water fixtures in your home. Listen carefully for the sound of running water, dripping, or hissing noises. Pay attention to areas near toilets, faucets, and pipes. If you hear any unusual sounds, it may be a sign of a leak.

  4. Visual inspection: Inspect all visible pipes, faucets, and fixtures in your home. Look for any signs of dripping, pooling water, or moisture. Check for water stains or damage on walls, ceilings, and floors. Don’t forget to inspect the areas under sinks, around toilets, and in basements or crawl spaces.

  5. Dye test: To check for toilet leaks, add a few drops of food coloring or a leak detection dye tablet into the toilet tank. Wait for about 15-20 minutes without flushing. If the color appears in the toilet bowl, it indicates a leak from the flapper valve or other components in the tank.

  6. Outdoor inspection: Check your outdoor faucets, sprinkler systems, and hoses. Look for any signs of leaks, pooling water, or excessive moisture in the surrounding areas.

  7. Professional assistance: If you suspect a leak but cannot locate its source or if you need help with complex plumbing systems, consider contacting a licensed plumber who can conduct a more thorough inspection using specialized tools and techniques.

Regularly checking your home for water leaks can help detect and address issues promptly, conserving water and preventing potential damage.

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