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.
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.
Between flushes, you will either hear or see a continuous trickle of water descending from the toilet tank into the bowl.
Running toilets are often a simple fix, sometimes requiring absolutely no parts or replacements.
Here’s what to check:
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.
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.
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.
Water heater leaks could result from:
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.
Washing machines cycle through a lot of water. It’s important not to lose a single drop.
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.
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:
Dishwasher leaks can wreak havoc on your home—and your water bill.
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.
The five most common reasons your dishwasher is leaking include:
Once you narrow down the source, replace the part to stop the leak.
Even a slow drip from one faucet can cost you up to $65 per year.
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.
Fortunately, leaky faucets are generally simple fixes. In most cases, you’ll just need to replace a worn-out washer or damaged valve seat.
Automated irrigation systems are wonderful—when they’re working properly. When they malfunction, you could be mindlessly pumping gallons of water into your yard.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes a quick review can uncover changes in habits that explain the high water bill.
Moving forward, here are a few steps you can take to avoid surprises.
Having a household plan in place that addresses things like showering, running the washers, and so forth can help eliminate surprises.
A one-time investment in water-saving appliances can keep you saving on your water bill for years to come.
Our premium bluebot clamp-on water flow meter puts your home water management at the tip of your fingers.
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.
We’re passionate about developing innovative solutions that help optimize your water management practices.