Causes of a High Water Bill: What to Check if Your Water Bill is High
It’s completely normal for water bills to vary between billing periods. You might wash more dishes around the holidays or do more laundry after a family vacation. As long as can identify a cause, there likely isn’t a problem. If you can’t find a cause for your high water bill, there could be a serious problem. A water leak can lead to expensive to water damage or mold growth.
Causes of a High Water Bill
1. Leaky or Running Toilet
If your toilet is constantly running, you could waste as much as 200 gallons of water per day. That could double or even triple most normal families water use, leading to a very high water bill.
If you aren’t sure you have a leak, use a few drops of food dye to the tank. If you see color in your toilet bowl, you know you have a leak.
2. Leaky Faucets
Another cause of a high water bill is a leaky faucet. Depending on the severity of the leak, a faucet may waste as much as 20 gallons of water per day. Check each faucet individually for signs of visible leaks.
Place an empty cup underneath and checking every few hours. Don’t forget to check for leaks in cabinets below the sink and at outside spigots as well.
3. Leaky Pipes or Plumbing Fittings
Plumbing leaks can be much harder to detect. Inspect all visible pipes and plumbing fittings for damage or leaks. For in-wall plumbing, check walls and ceilings for signs of water damage, including deterioration, discoloration, or mold growth.
Check shutoff valves for rust or corrosion. Don’t forget to check the area around your hot water tank too. The intake and drain valves tend to be the most common places for leaks.
4. Water Softeners or Purification Systems
Water softeners and purification systems tend to use more water and produce more wastewater than plumbing systems without them. If you have an abnormally high water bill, check that these systems are working correctly.
Normal Reasons for a High Water Bill
There a plenty of normal reasons for using more water. Think about your water usage for everyday reasons that can lead to a higher than normal water bill. The most common reasons are:
- Watering Your Lawn or Garden – You use an average of 5 to 7 gallons per square foot of lawn
- Filling Your Swimming Pool – Whether you’re filling up or just topping off, you’re are bound to use more water
- Kids Growing Up – Teens and adolescents use more water than they did as a baby
- Getting a Pet – Washing pets will use more water
- Guests Staying With You – Each additional person can use between 60 and 100 extra gallons a day
- Holiday Events and Preparation – More dishes and laundry will use more water
If you continue to have a high water bill, but cannot locate a normal reason or signs of a leak contact a professional to inspect your plumbing system.
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