Have you noticed a growth in your monthly water bill? Small plumbing problems can quickly lead to a big increase in how much you spend each month. A constantly running toilet can cost as much as $70 each month. Even small leaks, like a moderate drip from one faucet, can increase the bill by $6 monthly.
The first step is to monitor your water usage to determine if a leak may be the cause of your high-priced utility bill.
How to monitor water usage
The average person uses 80 to 100 gallons of water per day, so if your family of four is consuming more than 12,000 gallons of water each month, there’s a very good chance you’re dealing with a plumbing leak. Before trying to locate specific leaks, monitor your home’s water usage for a two-hour period. Make sure no water is being used, including any water-dependent appliances like the dishwasher or clothes washer. If the water meter shows use while all spigots and appliances are off, it’s likely you have a leak.
Most common plumbing leaks
Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more of water each day. While there are several possible places where a leak can occur within our plumbing, the most common leaks are usually in plain sight, or at least an earshot.
Toilet leak: Toilets account for roughly 31 percent of indoor water usage in the average U.S. home. So it’s no surprise that a toilet leak can result in a costly utility bill. There are two simple ways to test your toilet for a leak. The first is to listen. If you hear the water running when no one has recently flushed, the toilet is leaking, you just need to find the source. The second test is to put several drops of food coloring into the water in the back tank. After 20 minutes, check the toilet bowl for color. If you see the food coloring, there’s a leak allowing tank water to flow into the bowl.
Leaky faucet: High water bills could be the result of leaky faucet fixtures. Even a slow leak at one drip per second can waste as much as 17 gallons of water each day. Check your faucets, shower heads, and other fixtures to see if any are leaking. This problem is typically fixed by replacing the rubber washer in the faucet handle.
Underground leak: Not all leaks are as obvious as the ones in your bathroom. If you can’t find any obvious signs of indoor leaks, it’s time to call a professional plumber for leak detection outside the home or within your walls.
One of the best ways to prevent leaks and save money on your monthly bill is to replace outdated fixtures and toilets. A water-efficient toilet can cost as little as $240. By equipping your home with ultra-low-flow (ULF) toilets, you can cut your yearly toilet water usage in half. Look and listen for bathroom plumbing problems. You can save money each month by making small fixes right away.