5 Reasons Why Your Water Bill Might Increase

21 Oct

Over time, homeowners, renters, and commercial property managers and owners become accustomed to spending a certain amount of money on their various bills, usually within an acceptable range. But if your water bill suddenly skyrockets, it becomes a concern not only because of the financial implications, but also the possibility of wasting such a precious resource.

While some people tend to ignore small leaks around the home or property, research shows that the average household wastes approximately 10,000 gallons of water through leaks, while 10% of homes leak about 90 gallons every day. When you receive a higher water bill than expected, it’s important to seek the assistance of professional plumbers to help you identify the cause of water waste and fix it as soon as possible.

That said, there are a few common causes of high water bills that you should be on the lookout for. The largest water users are the toilets, clothes washer, and showers, which account for up to two-thirds of your household water supply. If you notice a change in your water bills, you should probably start your investigations there. Here are the common concerns:

Running or Leaking Toilets

The average household uses about 30% of its indoor water supply in toilets. If your toilet continues to run unnoticed, it can lead to significant water wastage of about 6,000 gallons per month and increase your water bill by a few hundred dollars.

If you suspect that your toilet is leaking, there are a couple of ways you can ascertain that the problem exists:

  1. The dye test

    Simply put a dye tablet or a few drops of food colouring in your toilet’s cistern and then wait for about 15 minutes to check if the water in the toilet bowl changes colour. If there is any dye present, then it means that your cistern is leaking water into the bowl.

  2. The soundcheck

    This is a simple test that requires you to walk up to your toilet and listen. Check for a continuous, odd hiss-like sound that could be caused by a compromised tank flapper, seal, or water line connection.

A faulty flapper causes many leaks in the cistern that can be fixed with a few minutes of handy work. Otherwise, you should contact your plumber to ensure that the problem is properly fixed.

Leaky Taps and Fixtures

Taps account for about 15% of household water supply use, while all kinds of leaks constitute about 13% of a family’s water use. Leaking taps are a common cause of increased water bills. Did you know that if tap that leaks one drop per second, it wastes about 17 gallons of water per day?

Fortunately, leaking taps and fixtures are easy to spot and fix. Simply check every tap, shower head, and any other installed fixture for any leaks. Some leaks are caused by normal wear and tear of the tap, valve, or another member of the assembly that needs to be replaced. For old fixtures, your professional plumber may recommend an upgrade to achieve even more water savings.

Lateral Line and Irrigation Leaks

You can lose a lot of water if there’s a loose joint or crack in one of the underground pipes supplying water to your home from the metered connection. This kind of damage can be caused by a range of factors, including tree root intrusion, animal activity, normal wear from age, or recent seismic activity. You can also have a leak in your landscaping or garden irrigation system due to a loose joint or crack that allows water to leak even after shutting off the irrigation system.

Finding external leaks can be a rather tough process, especially if the pipework is buried deep in the ground. Some signs of outdoor leaks include unusually damp patches or areas of your landscape that are lusher than the surroundings. Once you find the leak, make sure to consult a professional plumber to help fix it.

Changes in Water Consumption

Any changes that affect your water consumption, from adding a new member to your household to purchasing new water-consuming equipment can significantly affect your utility bill. Water use habits also tend to change from season to season, which might cause the utility bill to vary considerably year-round.

The best way to prevent or counter a sharp increase in your water consumption is to plan ahead and budget for the extra costs. For instance, if you plan on adding new water-intensive equipment to your home, such as a washing machine, garden sprinkler system, freezer, or even pool, then you should try to minimize the impact by purchasing only the equipment that is marked as high efficiency. Also, find ways to conserve water, like covering a pool when it’s not in use to reduce water loss from evaporation.

In addition, you can plan for higher water consumption during holiday months and other times when you expect to host family and friends.

Old Plumbing Fixtures

Old and obsolete plumbing fixtures and toilets in old houses and buildings can fail and cause water leaks or even flooding in severe cases. Modern plumbing fixtures and accessories boast a multitude of features aimed at improving water efficiency, from low-flow water-saving toilets to new-model aerators for taps to water-saving showerheads.

If you have recently moved into a new home or building, the problem may not be apparent at first, causing your water bill to be higher than it should be from day one. When buying a new property, you should first find out whether any plumbing fixture upgrades have been made recently or since construction. The owner or real-estate agent would have this information.

You can also ask a professional plumber to inspect the taps, showerheads, toilets, and other water-using equipment. They can check fixtures for the date of manufacture and quality labels, and then recommend any necessary repairs or replacements to improve water efficiency.

Generally, you should be able to keep your water bill low by applying proper water consumption practises, like:

  • Purchasing water-efficient, front-loading laundry machines as opposed to top-loading ones
  • Washing fill laundry loads instead of quarter or half-loads
  • Overwatering lawns and gardens
  • Unnecessarily lengthy showers of more than 5 minutes

If your water bill feels too high compared to previous months or the expectation from new water-consuming equipment, you should contact a professional plumber to help determine the source of leaks and fix them, and also suggest ways to reduce your overall water consumption.

To learn more about why your water bill might have increased, call Brothers Plumbing at (416) 656-6717 or contact us here.

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