Why is my water bill so high?

An unusually high water bill is most often caused by a leak or change in water use. Some common causes of high water bills include:

• A leaking toilet, or a toilet that continues to run after being flushed (see additional information below)

• A dripping faucet; a faucet drip can waste 20 gallons of water a day or more

• Filling or topping off a swimming pool or hot tub • Watering the lawn, new grass, or trees; also check for an open hose spigots

• Humidifiers attached to the furnace that are improperly adjusted or not working correctly • Sump pumps that have water powered back up

• Kids home for summer vacations or school holidays; guests

• Water‐cooled air conditioners

• A broken water pipe or obvious leak; check the pipes in the basement or crawlspace; the water heater could also be leaking

• Water softener problems – cycles continuously

• Running the water to avoid freezing water pipes during cold weather

Learning how to save water at home is very important because a typical family of four uses 40‐50 gallons of water per person per day or 160–200 gallons for one day. The largest water users are the toilets, clothes washer and showers, accounting for about two‐thirds of the water used in an average household. Toilets use up to 27% of the household water supply while clothes washers use 20.9% and showers account for 17.3%. Faucets account for about 15.3% and leaks account for 13.8% of a family’s water use. Dishwashers, baths, and other things account for the remaining water use. Typically water consumption is higher during the summer due to watering of lawns, pools, and gardening.

Things to check if you get a bill that’s higher than usual

Changes in your water use

Did you have house guests, water your lawn more than usual, or do anything else out of the ordinary? If so, this may account for an increase in your water bill.

Check for leaks Leaks, whether unseen or unfixed, can waste hundreds and even thousands of gallons of water. It is important to routinely check your plumbing and home for leaky faucets, toilets, and outside taps and irrigation lines. Outdoor and underground leaks Leaks can also occur in harder to find places, such as under your home, crawl spaces. Also, check outdoor spigots and irrigation systems, and look for wet spots in your yard, which may indicate a leak.

Toilet and faucet leaks

The most common cause for a high water bill is running water from your toilet. A continuously running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons a day or more depending on the volume flow down the drain. This can cause a terrible increase to a family’s typical water use, so fix toilet leaks as soon as possible. Some leaks are easy to find, such as a dripping faucet or running toilet. You can usually hear a running toilet, but not always.

When in doubt or if you are having problems solving your unexplanable high water bill, call us at Alexander and Sons Plumbing. We service the greater Fredericksburg, Virginia area including Spotsylvania, Stafford, and King George areas.

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