dripping kitchen tapIf you’ve discovered your water bill is higher than normal (but you can’t think of an obvious reason why) it’s wise to invest some extra time to get to the bottom of the issue. Small water issues will continue to pile up unless addressed, and if you have a leak hiding somewhere, it could cause costly water damage to your home. There are a few things you can check to find the cause before you even call a plumber.

Things to Check

Here are the more common causes of high water bills that you might not know to check:

  • Is your toilet running? You can check by listening for the sound of running water. It’s possible the toilet runs for longer than it’s supposed to after a flush but stops eventually. This is especially common in older toilets and can raise your water bill significantly.
  • Is your faucet dripping? Though slow dripping doesn’t seem like a major concern, it can significantly raise your water bill over a month.
  • Do you have a pipe leak? Small leaks in the pipes within your walls often go undetected at first, until they burst through. To find them, walk through your home and listen for the sound of rushing water. Also look for moisture in usual places or signs of water stains on your drywall. They may indicate a small leak in the wall.
  • Do you have a slab leak? Leaks in your home’s concrete foundation can be even harder to find than leaks in the wall. Look for excess moisture in your basement. If not, you may need a plumber to check for this leak.
  • Install a new water softener? While very useful, water softeners sometimes develop this problem where they just keep cycling water, wasting most of it.
  • Recently install other water appliances? Any new appliance that deals with water could be the cause of your high bill, including pool pumps, water purifiers, ice makers, etc.

Increased Bills That Have Nothing To Do With Your Plumbing

A leak isn’t always the answer to a higher water bill. Some water companies bill you for three months at a time, so you might have forgotten something you did to increase your water consumption. Before you call us, consider if you’ve done any of these things:

  • Installed new plants? If you’ve just laid sod or dug a new garden, you may have used more water than normal to help them take root.
  • Filled the pool? If you needed to fill up a new pool or re-fill your old pool, you likely used a lot of water.
  • Did you protect your pipes? Sometimes in extreme cold people leave their faucet running just a bit in order to prevent their pipes from freezing. Most of California doesn’t have to worry about this, but it’s worth mentioning for people in higher altitudes.

Call the Professionals

If you couldn’t find the reason for your increased water bills on your own, it may be time to call the professionals. A plumber can find small, hidden leaks in your home, or let you know if it’s a problem with the city pipes that are causing your issues. Whatever the problem is, the sooner you address it, the sooner your water bill will return to normal.