Homeownership April 10, 2020

High Water Bill? Discover Hidden Water Leaks

Did you know it’s not uncommon for more than 20% of homes to have one unidentified water leak? Small leaks that go unidentified can significantly increase your water bill over time.

What Do You Do

First, track your water bill. Look back on your water bill history over the past months, or even year, and look for spikes. Seasonal reasons may case higher water use, such as the summer, because of lawn and garden watering, but look for any other unexpected spikes. Something as seemingly insignificant as a running toilet can turn into a big contributor, especially if it’s running 24/7. If your water bill spikes, start hunting.

How to Identify Leaks

Once you know that there is an issue, here are some ways to identify and address typical leaks:

  • Listen for the running toilet: Is your toilet constantly running? Check your guest bathroom. Flush the toilet and time how long it takes to stop. Does it take minutes? If yes, you may have a problem. Open the toilet tank and look at the water level. If the water level is more than 1-inch above the tube, the flapper isn’t getting a good seal, and a repair is in order. You can also test for slow leaks into the bowl by dropping some food coloring into the tank. Drop it in and wait 15 – 20 minutes without flushing. If the color appears in the bowl, you have an issue, and a repair is needed. If your still having difficulty identifying the issue, a YouTube Channel named ‘DIY on the House’ offers multiple videos on how to identify and fix common toilet leaks. First, you can view their video ‘8 Common Toilet Leaks, How to Find Where Your Toilet is Leaking.’
  • Inspect shower heads: Replacing O-rings, soaking the shower head in vinegar to remove minerals, or simply replacing the head completely can stop shower heads from spaying water in unintentional directions.
  • Inspect Faucets: Look at the source pipes of the faucets. Likely, you will discover the leak when the water is running, therefore, after turning on the faucet, search for dampness in those darkened places. Plugging these leaks can also prevent mold buildup.
  • Tune-up your irrigation system: Irrigation systems can be the most subtle leaks of all. Busted sprinkler heads or constantly leaking supply lines boost your water bill. When the system is running, look for spraying valves and find ways to eliminate overspray onto concrete. A rain sensor is also a great way to make sure you’re not watering your lawn while it’s raining.
  • Frozen Pipes: In the winter, water freezing in pipes causes the pipes to expand and burst. A simple way to prevent this, is by removing and disconnecting all hoses from hose bibs.

Need to get in touch with a plumber or handyman? A good source to find companies in your area to help you get taken care of is Angie’s List and Nextdoor.

If you are in the market to change homes, let me know, I have been helping people successfully buy and sell homes. Give me a call at: (602) 799-1979

Christina Chintis