Most consumers can estimate their water bill amount very accurately because their usage is fairly consistent. But when you open your water bill only to discover a number that is far more than normal, your first thought is that this must be some type of error on the part of your water provider. But in most cases, this is no error. It is a reality check that is telling you to take a very close look at your home. Often, this large water bill is due to a drastic increase in your water usage. And unless you just filled a new swimming pool in your backyard, chances are, that you have a pretty major plumbing issue somewhere on your property.
Check The Obvious Places Inside Your Home First
The most common leaks inside your home are at fixtures like your faucets, shower, and toilets. What you need to do is carefully look at each faucet and showerhead to be certain that they are not leaking. And realize that a huge increase in your water bill is going to mean a leak that is larger than just a slight drip. In these cases, it is more likely that you have a valve that is not closing all the way. And it is letting the water run constantly. You would notice this quickly in a sink or tub that you use regularly. But check seldom used fixtures like a guest bathroom sink or shower or a utility sink in a laundry room or in the basement.
You will also want to check all of your toilets to make sure that the tank is not leaking. You can check this by adding some food coloring to the holding tank. After adding the coloring, do not use the toilet for an hour or two. Then look in the bowl to see if the colored water has leaked in. If it has, you have located at least one water leak in your home.
Check For Leaks Outside Your Home
Leaks in faucets and hose bibs outside are often very easy to locate as they create a wet or muddy area. If you have an in-ground sprinkler system, the leak could be more challenging to locate. But a good indication of a water leak in your grass is an area with taller than normal grass or even lusher grass than the rest of the yard. You can also walk the property looking for soft areas or muddy places, which would indicate a water leak.
One Final Way To Check For A Leak
Each home has a water meter that your water provider uses to create your water bill. When there is no water being used in your home, the water meter should not be indicating any water flow. Older style meters have a dial and arrow hand that turns while newer models only have numbers that change to indicate the usage. But the process is fairly simple. Make sure that all of the water is turned off in your home, and then look at the meter. You can mark the face with a dot to be sure the meter is not moving. Then return after an hour or two to read the meter again. Even a slight movement in the meter means that there is a leak somewhere, which is a reason for concern.
Time To Call A Professional
Even if you are normally a proficient do-it-yourselfer, when there is the potential for a water leak in your home, it is best to call a professional. Plumbers have years of training and experience that helps them to find water leaks quickly. Also, they use the latest technology to locate leaks that are concealed in the walls, floors, or ceilings of your home without doing a great deal of damage opening up drywall. And once the leak is located, your plumber will be able to fix it correctly and very often immediately.
Undetected Water Leaks Can Be Costly And Dangerous
You might be thinking that there is nothing cost-effective about calling a plumber, but that is not the case. Though you will be paying for the plumbers professional service, you are likely avoiding the cost of repairs from extensive water damage or the destruction that a handyman would cause when looking for the leak. And when the repair to the pipe and any cosmetic repairs are completed, you will have peace of mind and a warranty from a reputable professional plumbing company.
The other potential hazard that is the result of a long-time water leak is the growth of toxic black mold. This substance can contaminate your home before you even know that it is growing inside your walls and floors. When this happens, not only will you need to pay for the plumbing repairs, but you will also need to hire a professional mold abatement specialist. And there is no way to put a price on the value of your health or the health of your loved ones, which could be compromised by this toxic mass lurking in your home.
The smart solution whenever you have a plumbing issue or suspect one because of a huge and unexplainable water bill, is to call a professional plumber. A skilled plumber will find the issue quickly and get it resolved for you.