Receiving high water bills that is way over your normal budget is certainly an unpleasant surprise, and on top of that, an obvious indicator of something going wrong in your system. Indeed, high water bills are often caused by leaks, however, there is a whole variety of problems that could possibly lie behind an increase in your monthly costs. In the following, we are listing the three most common system failures and plumbing issues that can easily knock you back a lot.

You may have a leak you are not even aware of!

Whether we are talking about a leaking toilet valve, a broken water pipe or a failure in your water heater, leaks are the silent killers of all water systems (besides your wallet, obviously). The easiest and most practical way to find out if you have a leak is by checking your water meter, as these appliances are capable of indicating water usage. First, turn off all water sources and connected appliances in your household, including faucets, showers, dishwashers and washing machines. Once you have all of these off, it’s time for the actual test: look at your water meter and see if it’s indicating any water flow. If yes, you probably have a leak somewhere in your home – we recommend calling a professional for a maintenance check. We also suggest you reach out to your water supplier, as there is often an opportunity to cut the bill if your increased water usage has been caused by a leak.

Drop by drop – a dripping faucet

Did you know that, according to the U. S. Geological Survey, a single faucet drip can waste up to 4165 gallons (15766 liters) of water per year? It’s basically like flushing money down the toilet while also being seriously harmful to the environment. A dripping tap is an absolutely common cause of an unusually high water bill – luckily, it’s also easy to repair. First, turn off the water supply to your faucet, twisting the handle on the pipe under your sink clockwise. For preventing any small particles accidentally going down the drain and possibly clogging the pipes, make sure you plug or cover the drain. Using a flat-head screwdriver, remove the handles, then go for the stem – if any of these are broken, you seem to have found the root of the issue and might be able to solve it just by replacing the broken particle. If everything seems fine and sound so far, examine the O-ring or the washer (located inside the valve) and if necessary, remove and replace them. However, if you can’t find the reason behind the drip, we suggest you call a pro as the issue is likely to root somewhere else in the system.

A toilet that continues to run after flushing

A constantly running toilet can waste a devastating amount, up to 200-250 gallons (910-1135 liters) of water per day. This amount is about 25 times the water wasted by a shower leak, leading to a water bill that’s multiple times higher than usual. A flowing cistern is oftentimes caused by an incorrectly set or broken inlet valve, resulting in an excessive amount of water let into the tank. In this case, you can troubleshoot by adjusting the inlet valve (given a toilet cistern you can easily access – there are, however, other types which require professional repair). However, a running toilet has a number of further potential causes, including problems with the chain that connects the flush handle and the flapper, a build-up of mineral deposits, or a damaged float ball. Finding the root of the issue and making repairs as soon as possible is key to avoiding excessive water usage which leads to those painfully high bills. You may easily figure out what’s failing in your toilet cistern, however, if you cannot seem to find the reason behind the leak, we recommend calling a plumber to prevent further waste and increased costs.

Still unsure of what could lie behind your high water bills? Having a water-cooled air conditioner in your household, having recently filled your swimming pool or watered the garden, or a failing water softener might be the answer to those unpleasantly increased expenses. If you are unable to locate the problem, we suggest you reach out to your local hot water plumber and your water utility company to make sure you don’t end up a smaller fortune short.