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Your water bill can fluctuate each month depending on the number of people in your home, if kids are home from school, and the use of the water in the house. However, it is a good idea each month to take a look at your water bill. You may have it set on auto-pay but you still need to keep an eye on it to make sure it isn’t drastically changing. If you notice the amount continues to inch up or it is new to your home and it is high, there are a few things to think about. Why is my water bill so high? It could be numerous issues such as a leak, overuse of water, faulty water softener, or an irrigation system issue to name a few. Let’s take a look at some common causes for a high water bill.

Leaky Toilets, Faucets, or Pipes

Water leaks can cause a water bill to be high and there are a few culprits.

Leaky Toilet

There are a few indicators that there are issues with the toilet. One of those is water that pools by the toilet. or a running toilet. If you think this may be the case, you will want to time the flushing of the toilet. To do this, flush the toilet and time how long until the swooshing sound stops. If it is longer than 20 or 30 seconds, the toilet may be running too long. A hissing sound from your toilet might also indicate there is an issue.

A dye test is another way to see if there is an issue with the toilet. Put a few drops of food coloring in the tank of the toilet and after 15 minutes, see if the color goes to the bowl. If you see it has made it to the bowl, then there is a leak.

How to Fix: toilets are easy to fix and often involve buying a new flapper.

Cost: $4 and up

A leaky toilet can cause a water bill to be high.

Leaky Faucet

Another culprit may be a leaky faucet that can cause a high water bill. This is because the heavier the leak. the more water is coming out and being used so the higher the bill. In fact, did you know that a dripping faucet that has one drip per second can add up to over 17 gallons of water for the day? That’s a lot of water loss and raising your bill. Another leak may be at a fixture like a shower head. Often a leak here is a rubber washer that Is not working in the handle of the faucet.

How to Fix: Shut off the water that goes to this faucet and unscrew the handle, take out the faulty washer, and put in a new washer.

Cost: $3.50 and up

Leaky Pipes

The problem with leaky pipes is they are hard to notice. This is why it is often easier to try changing the flap on a toilet or a washer on a faucet. However, you may have a leaky pipe if you see there are cracks in the foundation, the ceiling, walls, or floors have watermarks, there is a musty smell or there is mold growth on the walls in the kitchen or bathroom.

Another way to see if you have leaky pipes is by shutting off the water in the home and then checking the water meter to see if it is still running. If it is, then you may have a leak in your pipes. Also, it may be a small hole like a pinhole leak.

How to Fix It: it isn’t as simple as the previous culprits. You may need to consult a plumber for an estimate

Cost: $150 and more depending on the issue.

Hot water heaters can have issues with water pooling and malfunctioning. This will make your water bill high.

Hot Water Heater Having Issues

Sometimes a water heater can leak, have a component that is disconnected, maintenance is overdue or it is just not working right, and increase water usage. If the water heater is over 10 years old, you may need to replace it in order to have one working effectively.

Faulty Water Softener Systems

Sometimes a water softener system can cause the water to backwash and mix with fresh water. This then causes the backwash valve to get stuck open and then the water flows into the sewer system. This wastes a lot of water and causes a very high bill.

How to Fix: contact a professional for assistance.

Cost: $150 and up.

Irrigation systems need to be monitored so the yard doesn't receive more water than needed.

Irrigation Systems

It is a good idea to check the irrigation system in your yard to make sure there are no leaks or sprinkler heads that are broken. Also, if a sprinkler valve gets stuck in the “on” position, then a large amount of water can be wasted. You could also have an issue with the irrigation timer isn’t programmed the right way.

How to Fix: Contact a professional.

Cost: $110 and up

Water Efficiency

The average American wastes 30 gallons of water every day! Instead of wasting money and water, you want to save money. In order to do this, look for appliances that are low flow, as well as ENERGY STAR options, and change your habits. Maybe watering the lawn less, and shorter showers.

Recommended Maintenance

Now that you know what causes a water bill to be high, let’s look at some maintenance to keep in mind. One of those is the water meter. If you find the water meter faulty, calling your local municipality is important as they will replace it.

Another one is flushing a toilet with no water. Maybe you had the water turned off to try to find a leak and realize people need to use the toilet. One way to do this is to pour a few gallons of water into the toilet bowl and let the water pressure do what it needs.

Lastly, you might need to know how to find where the water meter is. It is usually located at the end of the property line and close to the street. You can find out if there is a leak in the yard by watching the meter.

When to Call A Professional

When you have issues with a high water bill, it may be something simple you can fix or you may need to contact a plumber. There are a lot of things that can cause the higher bill so sometimes starting with the easiest things to check is the best way to go. Then, if you haven’t figured it out, contact a professional for help. Also, your local home inspection team can do a plumbing inspection during a home inspection.


High water bills and possible plumbing issues are no fin. Reach out to your local home inspection team so they can help if you aren’t able to pinpoint the issue. The home inspection team can find out if it is a leak in the pipes or other issues. Reach out to Enviroquest Home Inspections for plumbing and complete home inspections in Harrisburg, PA.

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