Why is my water bill so high?

We all know that sinking feeling: receiving a utility bill to find that the amount you owe is significantly higher than usual, even though you don’t recall your consumption increasing. You scratch your head and pore over the figures, wondering, why is my water bill so high? 

Have the kids been mucking about with water again? 

Is the neighbour using your garden hose while you’re out? 

Did the municipality make a mistake? 

Solving the mystery to a high water bill

Because water is involved in so many areas of our everyday lives, isolating one single cause of increased water usage can be a challenge. By asking the right questions, we can help you to narrow down the possible causes, and hopefully find a solution: 

Is this even your bill?

The municipality can – and does – make mistakes. If your invoice is showing an impossibly high amount, the first thing you should check is that your meter number correlates with the number on your account. Secondly, confirm that the readings on your bill are close to what the readings are on your water meter. If either of these are incorrect, call your local municipal office and request that a representative investigate the correct usage at your water meter and rectify the account. 

You can understand more about your utility bill here.

Are your taps leaking?

A single leaking tap can waste up to 65 litres every single day. Extended over time, that’s a huge amount of water that you’re paying for. You’re not only allowing your money to pour down the drain, you’re losing potable water, which is fast becoming a precious commodity. 

Luckily, spotting a leaky faucet is as simple as inspecting all the taps in the house, not forgetting the taps outside in the garden. Most tap leaks are a result of a perished washer, which is easy and affordable to replace. 

Is your toilet running or leaking?

A single leaking toilet can waste over 20 000 litres of water every month. That is staggering, and the reason why we shouldn’t take toilet leaks lightly. In most cases, a running toilet is fairly straight-forward to fix and can be resolved by correcting or replacing some of the components within the cistern. 

Not sure if your toilet is leaking? Do the toilet paper test: A method of checking whether your toilet is leaking or not is to hold a piece of toilet paper against the back of the inside of your toilet bowl as a leak is not always visible or audible. If it’s dry you’re good to go. If not, you may have a leak. 

Have you sprung an irrigation leak? 

If you’re the proud owner of an irrigation system that keeps your garden lush and lovely, there’s a chance that your irrigation system has developed a leak somewhere. This is possibly just from age and perishing, or being pierced by a gardening utensil. If most of your irrigation system is buried, spotting a leak may be difficult, and you might find yourself calling a professional landscaping company to help you find and repair it. 

Pro Tip: When you install an irrigation system, be sure that the company installing it sets it up with a shut-off valve. This ensures that if you have a leak, you’re able to identify whether that leak is coming from your water system or whether it’s coming from your irrigation system. The sooner you are able to identify where the leak is coming from, the quicker you will be able to act!

Is your toilet really old? 

Old appliances and old fixtures may not enjoy the water economy that newer fixtures have. For example, new toilets use a lot less water than older ones, and new taps are designed to spray water, rather than deliver running water – the spray is finer, but just as effective in washing and rinsing. 

If your home is older with older fixtures, even just a few extra flushes and showers in a month might make a dent in your water bill. 

Lateral line leaks

This is a major bummer! 

A lateral leak occurs on the piping that leads underground from your municipal source (and water metre) to your home. It’s usually the result of tree roots, old pipes, or animal activity, and can be difficult to identify as the problem. Once you have spotted a lateral leak, you’d need to call in a professional to have the pipe investigated and replaced. 

How to know if you have a lateral line leak: an easy method of identifying a lateral leak is to check your municipal meter. If you are certain that your taps and toilets are not leaking, but your municipal meter is running, then you may have an underground leak, in which case, you need to call the professionals sooner rather than later!

Bad Water Habits

We’re all guilty of occasionally wasting water, for the sake of convenience. Added up, these bad habits can account for a lot of wastage, and in time will start to show on your high water bill. Some of these include: 

  • Leaving the water while brushing teeth or shaving. 
  • Using a washing machine for several halves- or quarter- loads, instead of waiting for one full load of laundry.
  • Purchasing a top loader instead of a front loader. A top-loader uses more than 200% more water per load. 
  • Overwatering the lawn and garden. If it’s that important, consider a borehole instead.
  • Over-use of recreational water games, such as water slides.
  • Taking lengthy showers – try to reduce shower time to 5 minutes or less, and you could save up to 3000 litres per month.

Saving Water is a Choice

Receiving that high bill is a total drag – we get it. Choosing to find the cause may take some effort and frustration, but it’s a choice to step toward a more sustainable lifestyle and toward doing the right thing too. 

If you suspect that your high water bill is incorrect, or have concerns about a possible leak, contact us today and we’ll be happy to inspect your home or work plumbings section.

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