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Water Bill Sticker Shock: Where Your Home Could Be Leaking Money

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Main Drain Cleaning
Posted on: October 2, 2018

If your high water bill has got you boiling over, there could be some simple steps you can take to simmer down.

On average, each person in the U.S. uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day, according to the United States Geological Survey. If your average daily consumption seems out of the norm, it could be that you have an undetected leak in your home.

You can immediately determine if you have a leak in your home by checking the water meter usually found in the basement near the water heater or main shut-off value. To find out if you have a leak:

  1. First make sure there is no water in use.
  2. Next, look at the meter. If the red dial is moving, water is running somewhere in your home.
  3. If the dial is moving, turn off the water to all your toilets one at a time and check the meter after each turn-off. If a toilet is leaking, you will be able to tell which one.
  4. If the dial still moves after all the toilets are turned off, double check your faucets and hose bibs in the same way.
  5. Take a reading at night after you have finished using all of your water for the evening.
  6. Read the meter in the morning. If it is higher, you still have a leak. You should contact a professional to determine where it is coming from.

Here are some sources of your high water bill.

  • Leaking flappers on toilets
    No relations to the roaring ’20’s dancers, the flapper is the large rubber plug at the bottom of the toilet tank behind the bowl. Hear any dripping sound from your toilet and it’s likely your flapper at fault. You can use a toilet dye pill or a small amount of food coloring dropped into the tank. Wait about 30 minutes and check the toilet bowl for the colored water without flushing. If you’ve got colored water, you’ve got a leaking flapper.
  • Overflow toilet leaks
    If water in the tank is leaking into the top of the overflow pipe, the ballcock valve needs adjusting. An easy way to test if this is happening is by shaking some pepper or baby powder into the walls of the toilet tank. If the powder moves to the center, the overflow is leaking. If the float arm is plastic, adjust the screw to stop the leak. Other options are to adjust the sliding clip or bend the arm until the water level is 2” below the top of the overflow pipe.
  • Outside bibs and faucets
    Extreme temperatures can cause outside bibs and faucets to fail. Check for leaks around them. Also, check your settings for automatic sprinklers. They could be running for too long of a period of time.
  • Dripping sinks
    If your faucet is dripping, the problem most often times is a worn or improperly fitting washer.
  • Overactive ice-machine
    Refrigerators use a water line to make ice. Sometimes the automatic ice maker draws too much water because it is malfunctioning.
  • Hot water tank
    Your hot water tank is likely located in your basement. Check to see if there is water dripping down the side of the tank. That can indicate that the pressure valve isn’t working properly and must be fixed.
  • Dishwashers and washing machines
    Water on the floor around either one is a bad sign. Check for leaking connections.
  • Outside service line and sprinkler system
    Soft and wet spots on your lawn can indicate a leaking service link or sprinkler line.

Homeowners can save an average of 10 percent on their water bills by fixing leaks in their homes.

WECalc, the Water-Energy-Climate Calculator, estimates for water use and provides personalized recommendations for reducing that usage. You can check out your personal water usage recommendations by filling out a simple online form that will immediately provide you results.

If you have a high water bill and can’t find the source of the leak or if you need help with the fix, our professionals at Len The Plumber can help. We can determine the source of your leak so you can save money on your next water bill and prevent further water damage to your home. Our licensed plumbers are here to help you throughout the Mid-Atlantic no matter how big or small your problem is.

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