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High Water Bills

Here are some tips from our home and commercial plumbing company if your water bill is higher than usual.

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An unusually high water bill is most often caused by a leak in your plumbing or a change in water use. According to our plumbers in Virginia Beach, the Richmond area, Northeast North Carolina, and throughout Hampton Roads, some common causes of high water bills are:

  • A leaking toilet or a toilet that continues to run after being flushed
  • A dripping faucet — a faucet drip can waste 20 gallons of water a day or more
  • Filling or topping off a swimming pool
  • Watering the lawn, new grass, or trees; also check for an open hose bib
  • Kids home for summer vacations or school holidays; guests
  • Water‐cooled air conditioners
  • A broken water pipe or obvious leak.  Check the pipes in the basement or crawlspace as well as the water heater
  • Water softener problems – example: cycles continuously
  • Running the water to avoid freezing water pipes during cold weather

Generally speaking, water consumption is higher during the summer due to the watering of lawns, pools, and gardening. Typically, an average family of four uses 4000 ‐ 5000 gallons of water a month.

Leaks, whether unseen or unfixed, can waste hundreds and even thousands of gallons of water. It is important to routinely check your home plumbing or commercial plumbing for leaky faucets, toilets, and outside taps and irrigation lines.

Toilet and faucet leaks

Our plumbers in Virginia Beach and throughout Hampton Roads say the most common cause for a high water bill is running water from your toilet. A continuously running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons a day and can double a family’s typical water use and bill. 

Fix toilet leaks as soon as possible. You can usually hear a running toilet, but not always. See the toilet assessment below for help in determining if this is the cause of your high water bill.

Outdoor and underground leaks

Leaks often occur in hard-to-find places such as under your house or in the service line between your water meter and your home or commercial business.  Also, check outdoor spigots and crawl spaces, and look for wet spots in your yard, which may indicate a leak.

You may need to call plumbers in Virginia Beach, the Richmond area, Northeast North Carolina, or throughout Hampton Roads, but before you do here are some Do-It-Yourself tips that may eliminate the problem quickly and at little or no expense at all.

Toilet assessment

First, check for the most common leak: a deteriorated or defected flush valve (flapper) ball at the bottom of the toilet tank. If it does not make a tight seal, water will leak into the toilet bowl.

To check for this:

  • Take the lid off of the tank behind the bowl, flush the toilet, then wait for it to fully refill.
  • Put a few drops of dye or a colored dye tablet or food in the tank.
  • Wait at least 20 minutes or longer if you suspect it is a small leak.
  • If there is any color in the toilet bow, there is a leak.

The second most common type of leak has to do with an improperly adjusted or broken fill (ballcock) valve. To check for this, take the lid off of the toilet tank, flush, and see if water is draining into the overflow tubes when the tank is full.

Irrigation systems

During the summer, home and commercial irrigation systems are a common source of high water use.  Watering times generally double during the summer months compared to the winter. Automated irrigation systems should be checked regularly to be sure they are functioning properly and have no leaks or broken sprinkler heads. If a sprinkler valve sticks on, it could waste an extremely large quantity of water.  Many times the irrigation timer may not be programmed properly causing too long and too often watering.

Water softeners

Customers with water softeners have higher water bills due to the regeneration or backwash cycles their systems go through. The systems are preset to regenerate or backwash regularly. The systems will use water to clean the filter media and discharge the wastewater into the ground next to the system. There are times when these systems will get stuck in a cycle which will cause higher water use.

When all else fails

If nothing was found and your bill is too high and then we suggest you contact the local water department about it. The staff will schedule for the meter reading to be rechecked. If the meter reading is checked and found to be accurate, we encourage you to contact our plumbing company to help determine the source of a leak. We will provide thorough plumbing inspections which include outdoor pipes, indoor pipes, underground pipes, faucets, toilets, washers, ice makers, and more.

If you are having high water bill problems caused by a sewer, drain or plumbing problem, please call our plumbing company at (757) 467-0000 or click here to email us.

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Ashland, VA 23005

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516 S. Military Hwy
Virginia Beach, VA 23464