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How To Tell If You Have A Water Leak?

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Maybe you have noticed a higher water bill lately and are trying to figure out exactly why your water seems to cost so much. The main indicator on your utility bill to look for isn't necessarily the dollar amount but the water consumption used or billed for. This is usually measured by gallons or cubic feet. A lot of times the bill may show used amount from the previous year at the same time.

Things To Know About Your Utility Bill:

Some things to consider in a lot of utility bills, especially in incorporated areas such as cities, are the added charges such as sewer rates, garbage costs, school taxes, etc. The list will most likely vary a little from city to city.

If you do have sewer charges on your water utility bill then this rate is billed off of the water usage amount because the amount used usually is the amount that goes into the sewer lines (except where there's a leak). This water must be treated and cleaned before returning back into the environment which is why sewer is usually higher rates than the water rate. Some exceptions are where an irrigation/swimming pool meter is offered from the utility in addition to your regular water consumption meter.

The Leak:

Leaks come in a variety of ways. If you notice higher bills, signs of water leaks to check for include the TOILETS FIRST because nine times out of then this is the most common culprit. Other signs may include puddles in the yard when there hasn't been any rain, odd vibrant green grass spots in your lawn, wet and soft spots in the walls or floors, hot and cold washer hookups, dripping faucets at the sink and showers, hot water tanks and outdoor faucets. Note: Most leaks will usually affect two billing cycles, depending on how quick you catch it, because usually when you notice a leak you will already be in the middle of the next billing cycle. Some utility providers offer leak adjustments to the water portion only of your bill.

To check if your toilet is leaking:

1. Flush the toilet so water in the bowl is clean.

2. Get a dried color tablet or a bright food coloring such as red or blue.

Open back of toilet tank cover and drop several drops of the coloring or the tablet into the tank. DO NOT FLUSH. Let set for several hours to see if the colored water leaks by the seal into the bowl that was flushed. If the bowl starts showing signs of color then you have a leaking toilet.

Note: Always consider holidays or company you have over when you notice a high bill because more people usually means more toilet flushing, hand washing, and possibly more showers to affect your bill.

Sewer Tip:

If you aren't on a septic system and are on city sewer and you ever notice sewage coming up into your drains or water not going down the drains and toilets not flushing, always call your water utility first before calling a plumber. They usually will check their sewer main to make sure it is flowing properly free of charge before you have to pay a plumber. If they check the main and its clear, then proceed to all a plumber to check the sewer lines on your property to make sure they are clear.


  1. Understand your bill! Check your water utility bill and compare previous months and the same month the previous year. (unless address location has changed.)

  2. Recall what was going on during billing dates. Holidays, house guests, filling swimming pool, etc.

  3. Check your toilet(s) with colored tablets.

  4. Check for damp or soft spots or color changes in flooring and walls, especially around sinks, faucets, tubs, hot water heaters, washer supply lines, etc.

  5. Check yard for wet or dampness when dry and/or greener, taller or more vibrant spots of grass in yard.

  6. Once you have done your due diligence to narrow your search, lastly, call a plumber.

Hopefully this article has helped you make some sense of your water utility bill and given you options of where to start when looking for a leak.

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