It’s that time of the month when you sit down to pay the bills. Not a favorite task, but a necessary one. As a homeowner, it’s a task that you’ve probably been doing long enough that you have a pretty good estimate of what each of your utilities should be. Then, you open the water bill, and it’s double the “norm.” What could be the problem? Let’s explore some of the more common reasons you might see an increase in your water bill and what you can be on the lookout for, as a homeowner.
Often a change in the water bill can be attributed to the season and our practices. For example, in the summer, if you have a garden, you will see a rise in usage from watering the lawn and garden. The same goes for having a pool or running the sprinkler for the children to run under and play in. Additionally, the kids may have more friends over in the warmer weather, and that increased traffic will cause your water bill to rise. Consider these possibilities before worrying that the problem is something more serious.
According to the EPA, the toilet is the number one use of water inside the home. The average consumption is about 26.7% of the total daily use. An older commode will use between 3.5 and 7 gallons of water per flush and many of the newer toilets use about 60% less water than that. Add in the issue of a running or leaking toilet, and you can quickly increase that by about 200 gallons per day which will clearly cause a water bill to rise.
While leaking toilets waste a lot of water, they aren’t the only culprit. A leaky faucet is not only annoying, but it will add the dollars onto your water bill as well. A faucet that drips one time per second will waste approximately 5 gallons of water per day. If you want to figure out how much water your leaky faucet wastes, check out this drip calculator by USGS.
Old or outdated fixtures
As stated above, older toilets consume larger quantities of water per flush than the newer models. The same goes for top loading washing machines, dishwashers, and even the faucets or showerheads that are used. There have been so many efficiency updates made on the appliances and fixtures that we use daily, it’s essential to consider updating when possible to conserve your water consumption and lower your bill.
Have you had new equipment installed that increases your water use? Perhaps you have installed a sprinkler system in the yard, a refrigerator with a water dispenser, or an ice machine in your freezer? While an ice machine may not make up a big difference in your water bill, it’s important to choose high-efficiency products when replacing appliances. And when looking at your statement, don’t forget about changes that you’ve made in the maintenance of your lawn and garden.
Bad habits or over-consumption can cause a rise in the water bill. Look at the practices of the household as a whole. Do you notice these behaviors taking place?
- Running water while brushing teeth or shaving
- Taking excessively long showers
- Overwatering the lawn and garden
- Using water to defrost frozen foods
If so, consider changing one habit at a time, and you will likely see your water bill go back down. Have every person in the house pay attention to their consumption and try to lower it. You’ll probably see a change in your bill after a month or so.
If your habits aren’t the issue and you discover that you need some leaky fixtures or toilets fixed, give us a call or schedule an estimate.
Sometimes, you may fall victim to an underground leak. For example, you could have a leak in your sprinkler system. You could also have a leak in your underground pipes that lead to or from your metered connection. Finding leaks that occur underground can be a bit more difficult and may require a professional to look more closely at the issue. A professional can recommend the best solution for your problem and help you make an educated decision on which solution you choose.
The source of a high water bill may elude you, but now that you know some of the more common causes, you can be on the lookout and make adjustments accordingly. It’s always a good idea to have your plumbing checked annually by a professional who will also update you on the current money saving fixtures available to you.