Usually, water use and water bills are pretty consistent. And if you suddenly used 15 times as much water in one month, you would probably know about it. But that wasn’t B. Woods’ experience. Her water bill suddenly shot up from $65 to $1,000, and she had no idea why.
When a Water Bill Spikes
Water bills should be pretty steady from month to month. If you notice an unusual and unexplained spike in your water bill, the first place to go is to your water company. Sometimes, the error may not have anything to do with water. A software error on the part of the water company can sometimes lead to inaccurate billing. They can also send a technician to do a manual reading of your water meter. Any difference between the water meter and bill would indicate an administrative error. But if the meter reflects the bill, there is probably water leaking somewhere.
If the problem seems to be a leak, the next place to look is for a reliable plumber to do an inspection. A TrustDALE certified plumber will check all of your fixtures as well as your basement, crawlspaces, and other areas that might hide a water leak. If the leak can be found, it can be fixed, and the water bills should return to normal.
An Unusual Leak
According to plumber Brad Luck of RS Andrews, water leaks are common. But in the case of Ms. Woods, “the amount of water here we’re talking about is just crazy.” Even with a leak, it would be hard for a homeowner to increase their water consumption 15 times without noticing water leaking somewhere.
TrustDALE took Ms. Woods’ case to the water company. They told us that they had already been to Ms. Woods’ home for two meter readings and two physical inspections. They also did a data pull to examine water usage in 15-minute increments. What they determined was that Ms. Woods’ home had experienced “intermittent consumption, leading to high consumption.” They denied her request to adjust her bill.
Ms. Woods wanted to do the right thing, so she paid the unusually high bill. But the cause of the sudden spike and just-as-sudden return to normal is still a mystery.
While it may not entirely explain Ms. Woods’ bill, Mr. Luck told us that it’s not uncommon for a toilet leak to go unnoticed. A leak could lead to higher-than-usually water consumption, and the first place you would see it is on your water bill.
Luck recommends an easy test for a leaking toilet. All you need is some water-dye tablets that can be purchased at any home improvement store. Place one tablet in the tank of the toilet, and it will begin to change the color of the water. After several hours, come back to see if the color has seeped into the toilet bowl. If it has, there is a leak.
Finding a Leak
Sometimes, your water may leak in ways that you can’t see. If your water bill has spiked, or if you think you have a leak, contact a TrustDALE certified plumber today.