When we pay our monthly bills, we get used to a routine. A certain amount goes to electricity, another amount goes to gas, and another portion goes to water. Generally, how much you pay for each stays within the same range monthly, with normal fluctuations due to extended use. However, when we get a high water bill completely out of the blue, it is definitely cause for concern. At Plumbing Plus, our Poway plumbers want to help you determine possible causes for the unusual increase as well as solutions to help your bill return to a normal price.
You Probably Have a Leak!
Plumbing leaks are likely culprits for unusually high water bills. Because much of your plumbing remains hidden within your walls, under your cabinets, or beneath your home’s foundation, it tends to be out of sight and out of mind until a problem occurs. Unfortunately, this means that a leak can remain undetected for a while, causing hundreds, or even thousands, of gallons of water waste and making your water bill skyrocket. Therefore, it’s important to routinely check your plumbing fixtures for leaks.
Have you ever gone to the restroom, flushed the toilet, and heard it continue to run long after use? This could be the cause of your abnormally high water bill. Depending on volume flow down the drain, a running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons of water a day. Fortunately, you can typically hear when you have a running toilet.
Another way to determine whether your toilet is leaking is to check your tank. If you notice that the water level is higher than normal, you have a leak.
Most often a leaking toilet is caused by a faulty flapper within the tank. Replacing the part should solve the issue.
Have you ever been annoyed due to a slow drip, drip, drip from your sink or bathtub faucet? Aside from the sound annoying you, this could also be the reason your water bill increased. Many times, we will write off a small drip, thinking it’s not a huge problem that needs to be fixed immediately. However, even the smallest drip issue can contribute to a large amount of water waste, and a large water bill surge.
Common causes for leaking faucets include:
- The taps weren’t turned off all the way
- A washer has worn out
Replacing a washer is an easy fix, but if the taps are off and the dripping persists, it’s time to call a plumber for more in-depth leak detection.
Slab or Foundation Leaks
Sometimes, the leak occurs within your underground plumbing, which means that they are more difficult to detect. If none of your fixtures have obvious leaks, but you still see a spike in your water bill, it could be that you have a slab or foundation leak. Additionally, if random wet spots in your lawn have begun to appear, chances are there’s a problem with your underground piping.
At Plumbing Plus, we will perform thorough leak detection to determine if a simple repair can be done, such as repiping or epoxy restoration, or if you need a more invasive replacement.
Other Causes for High Water Bills
While a leak is certainly one of the first things we think of when we see a high water bill, there are other possibilities.
If you live in an older home, you might have some of the original plumbing fixtures that haven’t yet been upgraded. While they do carry a novelty value, these antiquated toilets, faucets, and showerheads aren’t as efficient as newer models. To help you save money on your water bill, we recommend that you upgrade to modern fixtures, such as low-flow water-saving toilets and showerheads.
Sometimes, water bills are priced according to the reading your water meter gives out. However, these meters can break and give inaccurate readings. One way to test it is to turn off all appliances and draw at least 10 gallons of water from one faucet. Go back to check your meter; if it reads anything above 10 gallons, there is a problem and we recommend consulting the water department to replace it.
Water Wasting Habits
Should you have no leaks, old fixtures, or a broken meter, it could be that you need to improve your habits to not waste as much water.
Common habits that lead to water waste include:
- Overwatering lawns
- Lengthy showers
- Using water to aid in thawing frozen food
- Keeping water running while brushing your teeth or shaving
- Doing smaller loads of laundry instead of full-loads
- Washing dishes by hand
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