High Water Bills

MY WATER BILL WENT WAY UP! HOW DO I FIND A LEAK?

pressure regulator water leak cause high water bills

Your high water bills could be due to either a temporary increase in water usage or a leak. To find out if it’s a leak, first shut off all your water-using fixtures in the house.  Don’t close the shut-off valve where the water supply enters or below the pressure regulator at your house at this stage!

Take the cover off your water meter box and flip open the protective cover plate on the meter dial. Normally, your metre box will be somewhere along the front property line, often near a corner. You may have to dig down a little in the dirt to find it.

The water meter may be a newer one that has a small round or diamond-shaped low-flow indicator near the centre. The low flow indicator may be red or black like in the photo above. It should not be turning. But if it is, there’s a leak somewhere in your plumbing system increasing your water bill. At a meter without a low-flow indicator, note the meter reading or take a picture with your cell phone. Check back in an hour or so and see if it has changed.

There are several places to check if the water meter says you have water flow indicating a leak:

Leaking taps can increase your water bill

Not just the sink and basin taps! Also, check the taps at the washing machine hookup, bath, shower, and the outside hose taps.

A big problem with increasing water bills is Toilet Cisterns (tanks)

A flapper valve that doesn’t seat properly at the bottom of the cistern will cause a leak. Check the ballcock arm and overflow tube as well, it may also be defective. Drop a dye tablet (available in most hardware stores specifically for toilet testing) in the tank. Do not flush, and wait for 15 minutes. If the colour shows up in the bowl, the toilet needs repair.

TPR Valve at the Geyser

The small valve with a flip-up handle at the top or side of the geyser is called a Temperature and Pressure Release (TPR) valve. This important valve is designed to open if the water gets too hot, to keep the tank from exploding. These valves sometimes fail by opening slightly and letting loose a slow trickle of hot water. The water normally runs in a steel or copper pipe to a location at the exterior wall. Find the termination of the TPR valve and check for a drip. If it is leaking it will increase your water bill! NEVER work on these valves yourself! Only a suitably trained and experienced plumber should!

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