High water bill? One of these reasons might be why
Though there could be many reasons for a higher-than-expected water bill, here are some of the most common:
Leaks: Toilets, faucets, humidifiers, pipes and joints, and water-cooled equipment
- Toilets are the most frequent culprits when it comes to high water bills; a moderate leak can go through approximately 12,000 gallons of water in a month. And a toilet leaks are often silent, so they can do undetected for long periods of time. For this reason, toilets should be checked regularly to make sure they are operating properly. Here are some tips to keep in mind when checking for toilet leaks:
- The best way to check for a toilet leak is visually (keeping a flashlight and food coloring on hand can be helpful).
- If the toilet won’t stop running unless you shake the handle, there is a leak.
- Check the toilet tank to make certain that the water line is below the edge of the overflow tube. If water is pouring into the overflow tube, there is a leak (probably due to a fill valve issue).
- Put a few drops of food coloring into the toilet tank and let it set for 30 to 45 minutes. Do not flush within this period of time. If colored water seeps into the toilet bowl, there is a leak (likely due to a defective or worn-out flapper).
- Faucet leaks are fairly easy to spot; if water is dripping, there is a leak. In addition to checking bathroom and kitchen sinks, be sure to check faucets in bathtubs, showers, stationary tubs, and those with hose connections.
- Humidifiers operate in much the same way as toilets, but usually have a tube which running to a drain. Check there for running water and a potential leak.
- Pipe and joint leaks are obvious when they are in an open area, but can go unnoticed for a long time when they occur in a hidden area—such as a crawl space, under a porch, or underground.
- Water-cooled equipment, usually used in commercial operations, can be huge consumers of water even when operating properly. When leaks develop, that only amplifies the usage. Consideration should be given to replacing water-cooled equipment with air-cooled devices.
Seasonal: Lawn sprinkling, car washing, and swimming pools
- Lawn sprinkling and other irrigation can add up tremendously, from five to 20 gallons per minute depending upon the weather. Was it hot and dry during the reading period? If so, this may be a factor in an unexpectedly high bill.
- Washing a car might be the reason for a higher bill, but it doesn’t have to be a contributing factor. You can cut down on water usage (and, thus, your bill) by running the hose only during rinsing.
- Swimming pool size and frequency of water renewal may contribute to a higher bill.
Number of occupants
- Each person in a household on average uses between three and four units of water (a unit is equal to 100 cubic feet, which in turn is equal to 748 gallons). Again, this is an average of the amount of water generally used by a person; actual numbers may differ from person to person, dependent upon habits.
- Water usage usually increases significantly in warmer weather because of seasonal use (considered above), but also because of more frequent laundry washing and increased showering.
- Other considerations should include company staying over during the reading period, or when children are home from school.