An increase in your water bill is one of the first signs that something isn’t right within your plumbing system. If other variables are unchanged – you’re not hosting guests, watering your lawn more or filling a swimming pool, for example – it’s time to take a look at your pipes. An unexpected increase in your monthly water bill could indicate a leak, failing appliances or a burst pipe. Acting quickly to determine the cause of the price hike can not only save money, but it could also guard against further damage to your plumbing system.
Do I Have a Pipe Leak?
A leaking pipe can go undetected for some time, especially if it runs underground or within your walls. Beyond an increase in your utility bill, there are specific signs to look for when it comes to identifying a pipe leak.
- Sound of running water: If all faucets are turned off in your home and you continue to hear the sound of running water, there’s likely a leak within your walls or beneath your floors.
- Warm spots: Particular spots of your flooring can get warmer than others if there is a water line leak beneath the floor.
- Loss of water pressure: You may experience a gradual or sudden drop in water pressure if you have an undetected leak.
- Green lawn patches: If a pipe leak exists underground, the grass or bushes near the leak location could be much greener and grow more rapidly than other areas.
10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs partnered with a higher water bill, contact a local plumber for leak detection services.
Signs of a Burst Pipe
A burst pipe will present itself differently than a leak. If you experience a burst pipe, turn off the water supply and contact an emergency plumber immediately. Warning signs include:
- Pooling water or sewage in your lawn
- Water spots along your walls
- Soggy or damp areas in the flooring
- Sudden loss of water pressure or no water at all
While these are the most common signs of a burst pipe, it’s not an exhausted list. If your water bill increases dramatically and you can’t find the cause, call your local plumber for a system inspection.
Old Appliances Use More Water
Aging water-reliant appliances, like dishwashers, washing machines and toilets can use far more water than new, energy-efficient models. An older dishwasher, for example, can use approximately 10 to 15 gallons, while a new Energy Star model uses approximately five gallons.
The average American family does 400 loads of laundry each year, which amounts to 15 to 40 percent of the total household water consumption. An old washing machine can use up to 40 gallons of water with each load, while an Energy Star model will only use 14 to 25 gallons.
Toilet flushing accounts for the highest water use in the average home, making up roughly 31 percent of household water consumption. With the average person flushing five times a day, you need a toilet that conserves water. Kohler WaterSense toilets not only add a modern flare to your bathroom, but they can help drastically reduce your monthly water cost.
Your old appliances could be the reason for your high water bill. If your appliances are aged and ready to be replaced, choose an energy-efficient model that can save you money throughout the year.