High Water Bill But No Visible Leak? Here’s an 11-Step Checklist to Save You Money

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There’s almost nothing more unpleasant to a homeowner or property manager than receiving a high water bill with no visible leak to blame. In this article, we’ll lay out an eleven-step checklist to help you work through the most common potential plumbing leaks and how to solve them. 


As innovators in the water sector, we here at bluebot understand water management issues. We use the latest technology to help you conserve your natural resources and make smart and informed water decisions for your property. 


Follow these eleven steps to check your home, find the root of the sudden spike in your utility bill, and resolve the issue. 

Then, once the emergency has been handled, order your own bluebot smart water meter to keep ahead of potential problems in the future.

Step 1: Check for Running Toilets

According to the EPA, toilets are the main source of water use in the home, accounting for 30% of a home’s daily water consumption. An additional toilet leak can prove costly.

How to Detect a Running Toilet

Between flushes, you will either hear or see a continuous trickle of water descending from the toilet tank into the bowl.

How to Fix a Running Toilet

Running toilets are often a simple fix, sometimes requiring absolutely no parts or replacements. 

Here’s what to check:

  • The flapper. Occasionally, the flapper at the bottom of the tank becomes dislodged. When that happens, simply adjust it to form a seal.
  • The flapper chain. Sometimes, the flapper chain tangles or becomes disconnected from the flush lever. Simply adjust or reclip.
  • The float cup. The float cup helps control how much water is allowed in the tank. If it is displaced, water continually rises above the top of the overflow tube, with the excess water pouring down into the toilet bowl. Adjusting the height of the float cup may solve the problem.


If those steps don’t resolve the leak, you may need to replace the internal assembly or the toilet itself. You may also need to get a plumber involved. 

Better to pay a one-time fee than have an unreasonably high water bill for months. The same bears true with investing in water-saving technology like bluebot.

Step 2: Inspect Whether You Have a Faulty Water Heater

Because hot water heaters are often tucked back in out-of-the-way parts of the home, they can have an undetected, hidden water leak.

How to Detect a Faulty Water Heater

When water heaters begin to fail, water may pool at the top of the tank. Additionally, tanks can leak from the sides or the bottom, depending on the issue. If your water heater is tucked away in the corner of your basement, you may not notice any leaks—until you get a high water bill, that is. 

Considering that hot water heaters can contribute to hidden water leaks, it’s all the more important to avail yourself of leak detection technology like that provided by a bluebot smart water meter.

How to Fix a Faulty Water Heater

Water heater leaks could result from:

  • Loose fittings or connections
  • Cracked or corroded water tanks
  • Faulty (or improperly installed) valves 
  • Worn-out anode rods


When it comes to hot water heaters, the best way to troubleshoot is to inspect where the water is coming from. If you can trace it back and identify the source, you can take whatever appropriate steps are needed. This could mean anything from replacing a small part to replacing the entire hot water heater itself. 

Of course, this advice works best for those who are more-or-less always onsite. For those who own multiple homes, bluebot’s remote vacation home monitoring system can come in handy. It can detect changes to water usage before the bill comes due.

Step 3: Check Whether You Have a Leaky Washing Machine

Washing machines cycle through a lot of water. It’s important not to lose a single drop.

How to Detect a Leaky Washing Machine

Massive washing machine leaks cannot be missed. They flood laundry rooms and cause costly damage. Smaller issues, however, may go undetected, driving up your water bill with no visible leaks.

How to Fix a Leaky Washing Machine

Knowing how to stop a water leak is a vital skill, especially when it comes to washing machines. Even small, slow washing machine leaks can lead to high water bills. 

The steps for fixing a leaking washing machine include:

  1. Locating the source of the leak. Run an empty washing machine through a cycle and look to see where the water is coming from.
  2. Repairing or replacing faulty parts. Online tutorials can walk you through most scenarios.
  3. Consulting an expert. If the problem exceeds your capacity, call a professional.

Step 4: Examine Your Dishwasher

Dishwasher leaks can wreak havoc on your home—and your water bill.

How to Detect a Malfunctioning Dishwasher

The most common sign of a dishwasher malfunction is a small puddle of water appearing on the floor every time you run it. 

Because a malfunctioning dishwasher can lead to water damage and high water bills, it’s important to resolve dishwasher-related problems immediately.

How to Fix a Malfunctioning Dishwasher

The five most common reasons your dishwasher is leaking include:

  1. Door gaskets not sealing
  2. Spray arm stuck or clogged
  3. Malfunctioning float switch 
  4. Pulled or faulty drain hose
  5. The water inlet valve not closing


Once you narrow down the source, replace the part to stop the leak.

Step 5: Check for Dripping Faucets and Other Faulty Water Fixtures

Even a slow drip from one faucet can cost you up to $65 per year.

How to Check for a Dripping Faucet or Faulty Fixture

Your eyes and ears are your best detectives. If you see or hear a drip, no matter how slow, it’s worth addressing.

And if you’re not always onsite, a remote water monitoring system can alert you of fluctuations in your water usage, allowing you to address the problem in a timely way.

How to Fix Dripping Faucets and Faulty Fixtures

Fortunately, leaky faucets are generally simple fixes. In most cases, you’ll just need to replace a worn-out washer or damaged valve seat.

Step 6: Inspect Your Irrigation System

Automated irrigation systems are wonderful—when they’re working properly. When they malfunction, you could be mindlessly pumping gallons of water into your yard.

How to Spot Irrigation System Issues

Sometimes the problems are obvious, such as when your system switches on and there’s a sudden geyser. Other times, your only clues are wet spots in your lawn or constantly wet sprinkler valve boxes. 

If you suspect that irrigation system leaks may be the cause of your high water bill, do some detective work by running each zone of your irrigation system and watching for abnormalities.

How to Fix Irrigation System Issues

Sometimes fixing an irrigation system is a simple matter of cleaning out debris from valves.

In other cases, you may need to replace broken sprinkler heads, leaky lines, or worn-out valves.

Step 7: Look for Signs Around the House for a Hidden Water Leak

If your home has new water stains (particularly blotches on the ceiling), mold, or musty odors, excess moisture is the source.

These three clues are nearly always the sign of a concealed leak. To properly address the problem, you need to locate the source of the hidden leak and take steps to prevent it from occurring again in the future.

Step 8: Investigate for a Faulty Water Meter

In some cases, a high water bill with no visible leak is a sign that your water meter is malfunctioning. 

If you believe this is the case, one of the simplest ways to check is to stop using your water for a few hours, and then check the meter. If the reading is fluctuating despite no water being used, contact your water company.

Step 9: Check for a Meter-Reading Mistake

Though water meter reading is now done remotely, it’s still largely read manually. This introduces the possibility of human error. When an error in meter reading occurs, you could see a higher water bill than you are expecting.

If you believe an error has occurred, contact your water provider and follow the steps they have in place for inspecting and addressing discrepancies.

Step 10: Check for a Broken Water Main in Your Area

Occasionally when you receive a high water bill with no visible leak, there are external factors involved, such as a broken water main.

If the pipe that has burst is under the jurisdiction of your water provider, it is their responsibility to redress the leak and cover the costs. 

Most service providers provide hotlines for you to call and report suspected water main issues. 

Check your provider’s website and follow the steps.

Step 11: Review Your Water Usage

Our water usage fluctuates based on a variety of factors. Particularly if we live with others in a household, some factors may even be beyond our control or direct knowledge.

Before hitting the panic button on a high water bill, self-monitor your household’s water consumption habits.

  • Is anyone taking extended showers?
  • Who’s running the dishwasher before it’s full?
  • Did the kids create their own backyard slip-and-slide last week while you were at work?


Sometimes a quick review can uncover changes in habits that explain the high water bill.

3 Ways to Avoid a Surprisingly High Water Bill in the Future

Moving forward, here are a few steps you can take to avoid surprises.

Be Intentional About Water Usage

Having a household plan in place that addresses things like showering, running the washers, and so forth can help eliminate surprises. 

Switch to Efficient Appliances

A one-time investment in water-saving appliances can keep you saving on your water bill for years to come.

Invest in a bluebot Smart Water Monitor

Our premium bluebot clamp-on water flow meter puts your home water management at the tip of your fingers. 

  • Access water data 24/7
  • Monitor flow rates
  • Take control of your daily water usage


Best of all, dynamic alerts offer instant updates and water leak detection, allowing you to address problems immediately. 

To learn more about bluebot’s hassle-free smart water meters and how to keep your utility bill low, try our risk-free demo program today.