When you’re used to paying a certain amount for your water bill each month, a sudden spike can come as quite a shock. You might think the water company made some kind of mistake — but the reality is that a sudden increase in your water bill was likely caused by something in your home. Here are some common reasons why your water bill might suddenly be much higher than normal:
- A seasonal increase in water use. This one might go without saying, but sometimes people forget that their water bill will increase when they fill their pool or hot tub, or even when they start having houseguests on a more regular basis. Water consumption can also increase during the summer months, when people begin watering outdoor plants. Try to figure out if you’ve done anything differently since your last bill — if you can’t think of anything, then there’s likely another reason for the increase.
- A leaking or runny toilet. Toilets are one of the biggest uses of water in our homes. If one of your toilets has a leak or runs non-stop, your total water consumption will likely increase by hundreds of litres, which can lead to a drastic increase in your water bill. If you notice any of these tell-tale signs of toilet troubles, contact a professional plumber right away:
- Your toilet continues making noise long after it’s finished flushing
- There’s water leaking around the base of the toilet
- There’s a sewage smell in your bathroom
- The toilet regularly gets clogged or has trouble flushing
- There are cracks in the porcelain
- Your water softener has a leak or is running on overdrive. First check for any signs of leaks around your water softener, then check the settings to make sure it isn’t regenerating more often than it should be. Whenever a water softener regenerates, it flushes itself out with fresh water — so the more often it regenerates, the more water it will use up. There are a lot of factors that go into determining how often your water softener should regenerate, so your best bet is to check with the manufacturer or a professional if you suspect it might be happening too often.
- Leaky faucets. If you notice one of your faucets dripping or leaking, it’ll probably waste an awful lot of water over the course of a month — maybe not as much as a running toilet, but still enough to cause an increase in your water bill.
- An underground leak. If there’s an underground leak on your property, it could cause a significant increase in your water bill. Unfortunately, an underground leak can be pretty tough to detect yourself, but if you notice any of these common signs of an underground leak, contact a professional plumber:
- Unusual wet, mushy areas on your property
- A seemingly random moldy, soft, or mossy patch surrounded by dry grass
- Dirt, rust, or air in your water
- New potholes or sinkholes on your property
- A very noticeable drop in water pressure in your home
- Outdoor leaks. A leaky hose, dripping faucet, or malfunctioning sprinkler system could cause a sudden spike in your water bill. On a dry day when there hasn’t been any rain, walk around your property and look for wet spots around any water source on your property. Even if you can’t see something that’s physically dripping, a puddle or dark spot that never dries up could indicate that there’s a leak nearby.
- A problem with your furnace humidifier. Depending on the kind of humidifier that’s built into your furnace, it could cause a noticeable increase in your water bill in the winter, when it begins kicking in more often. Plus, if there’s a clog or a leak in any part of the humidifier, that could also cause it to use up extra water. Make sure you follow the maintenance schedule recommended by the manufacturer and call in a professional if it seems like something might be wrong.
- A leaky dishwasher. Warped, wet, or discoloured cabinetry, floors, or walls surrounding your dishwasher could be a sign that it’s leaking. Even if it only leaks a little, that extra water could really add up over time and lead to a higher water bill.
- A leaky washing machine. Check behind and under your washing machine to make sure there are no signs of a leak, like warped or stained flooring. Similar to your dishwasher, even a small leak in your washing machine could be enough to make a difference in your home’s total water consumption.
- An old or leaky water heater. If your water heater is leaking water or isn’t working properly, it could lead to a spike in your water bill — and it could also be dangerous. Look around the base of the tank to see if there are any visible signs of leaks. If you don’t see any signs of leaks but have noticed that your water is taking longer to heat up, your water is cloudy, or you hear popping or rumbling sounds coming from your water heater, contact your plumber right away.
Not only could a leak or other plumbing issue lead to a spike in your water bill, but if it goes unnoticed, it could also cause serious damage to your property. It’s worth noting that slow leaks and other maintenance issues are often excludedopens a pop-up with definition of excluded from home insurance coverage, so it’s important to tackle any potential issues as early as possible. If you’ve experienced a sudden increase in your water bill and you’re having trouble figuring out what might have caused it, reach out to a professional plumber as soon as possible.
Know someone who has recently experienced an increase in their water bill? Share this article on Facebook or Twitter to help them get to the bottom of it.