The number one cause for a high water bill is a water leak. Leaks can occur anywhere on your plumbing system, irrigation system, kitchen, bathroom fixtures, etc. Sometimes leaks are visible and sometimes they are not.
You can do a quick check to determine if you may have a leak by doing the following:
• Go to the meter, if the meter is registering usage, you have a leak
• If you have a shut off valve at the house, turn the water off at the shut off value
• Go to the meter….if the meter is moving, that would indicate the leak is outside. If the meter has stopped moving, that would indicate the leak is inside
The most common leak is a toilet leak. Toilets can run without visible or audible evidence. A malfunctioning toilet can cause your water to continually run into the bowl and, if undetected, it can cause a high water bill. Replacing your internal toilet mechanisms annually can help prevent this type of leak.
To help detect a toilet leak, you can do the following test.
1. Remove the tank lid of the toilet.
2. Flush your toilet as usual.
3. Drop about 4 to 5 food coloring drops in the toilet tank.
4. Replace the toilet lid and wait 30 minutes.
5. Survey the toilet bowl, if the water is colored, there is a leak.
Sprinkler systems are another common source of a leak. The system may have a malfunctioning sprinkler timer that is running your system longer than you planned or for more days than you intended. Or there is an underground leak in sprinkler system that is not visible above ground and would only affect your usage during the time the sprinkler system is being used.
Monitoring your meter readings daily for a period of time may help you determine if the leak is in your irrigation system. Keep track of your readings and calculate your usage on days you use the sprinkler system versus those days your do not use the system. You can also do a meter reading before and after running your sprinkler system to get a clearer picture of your water usage for the sprinkler system alone.
Many leaks occur underground and can leak thousands of gallons without visible evidence. Some companies or plumbers have underground leak detection devices.
When consumption is higher than normal, the City does a re-read of the meter. When the rereads is done, a visual check for evidence of leakage as indicated on the meter is also done.