High Water Bill

High Water Bill? You Probably Have A Plumbing Leak!

Have you ever opened your water bill and been shocked by the amount? The first reaction might be to start imposing shower restrictions on the family, especially if you have teenagers notorious for taking long showers. This scenario is all too common.

The other day, one of our customer service representatives, Marisol, answered a call with our usual friendly greeting at Big B’s Plumbing. On the other end of the line was a frantic customer who exclaimed, “I have a plumbing leak, and I need an estimate!” Marisol reassured the caller, saying, “Of course, we can have someone out there today.” She then asked the customer about the leak’s location.

The customer replied, “I don’t know. I just looked at my water bill, and it was out of control! I’ve looked everywhere. We don’t use irrigation, but I just got my water bill, and it’s over five hundred dollars. It’s usually around one hundred and fifty dollars.” He mentioned that he had already checked everything, including the toilets.

Big B's Plumbing - Your Plumber for Life!

If You Suspect a Plumbing Leak, Big B’s Plumbing is A Phone Call Away

The homeowner made the right decision by reaching out to us. A sudden spike of $350 in the water bill is substantial, particularly during the wetter months when water usage should be lower. Upon arrival, our plumbing technician turned off all the water in the house and checked the meter for movement. There was no movement, and no irrigation leaks were found. While we may never know if the customer exaggerated his water bill, the key takeaway is that calling Big B’s Plumbing for an in-home estimate is a wise choice if your water bill seems unreasonably high.

Basic Steps to Check for a Plumbing Leak

Identifying a plumbing leak early can save you from unexpected high water bills and prevent extensive damage to your home. While professional inspections are invaluable, there are several basic steps homeowners can take to detect potential leaks before they escalate. By conducting these simple checks, you can quickly identify and address issues, guaranteeing your plumbing system remains in optimal condition. Here are some practical steps you can follow to spot leaks and maintain the integrity of your home’s plumbing.

energy efficient plumbing fixtures,
Plumbing Leaks

What Can Homeowners Do to Check for Leaks?

How to Check for a Toilet Leak

Add a drop of food coloring to the toilet tank and wait 30 minutes. If the dye appears in the bowl, there is a leak. This simple test can help you identify a silent plumbing leak that might be wasting gallons of water each day. Addressing it promptly can greatly reduce your water bill and prevent further damage. In most cases, it’s a worn-out toilet flapper, which a homeowner can easily replace.

Garage Inspection Means Checking for Dark Spots

Look for dark areas on the garage foundation. This could indicate a slab leak. These dark spots are often signs of moisture seeping through the concrete, which can lead to structural damage over time. If left unchecked, slab leaks can cause significant foundation issues, compromising the stability of your home. Regular inspections can help catch these problems early and save on costly repairs.

Tile Inspection: Discolorations Occur When Moisture Seeps Beneath

Check the ceramic tiles in your kitchen and bathrooms. Darker grout lines can be a sign of a slab leak. These discolorations occur when moisture seeps beneath the tiles, causing the grout to darken. Over time, this moisture can weaken the tiles’ adhesive, leading to loosening or cracking. Identifying and addressing slab leaks early can prevent extensive tile damage and the need for a full floor replacement.

Wood, Tile and Laminate, Floor Buckling

Do you notice any buckling in your wood or tile floors? This could also indicate a slab leak. Buckling occurs when water accumulates under the flooring, causing it to expand and warp. This not only damages the aesthetic appeal of your floors but can also create uneven surfaces that are hazardous. Promptly addressing the underlying plumbing leak can prevent further damage and costly repairs.

Puddles Around the Home

Unexplained puddles could be from a broken sewer line, but a broken water line is also possible. If not addressed promptly, these puddles can lead to water damage in your yard or foundation. Additionally, stagnant water can attract pests and contribute to mold growth, posing health risks. Identifying the source of the plumbing leak and fixing it quickly can save you from extensive damage and costly repairs.

Finding a Household Plumbing Leak is Easier Than You Think

First, turn off all the water in your home, then access your water meter. Inside your water meter is a spinning triangle or circle. It is called a flow indicator dial or triangle. If all the water in your home is off and the flow indicator dial is spinning, you have a water leak. But don’t stop there. Locate the shut-off valve to your landscaping and turn it off. If the flow indicator stops, the leak is isolated to your landscaping. However, the plumbing leak will be in your home if it continues.

Determine The Size of the Leak by Doing a Meter Reading

You can determine the size of the leak by turning off all the water in your house and writing down the meter reading. Wait 30 minutes to an hour and write down the new meter reading. This method will help you determine how much water is leaking. Hidden leaks that might not be immediately visible. It’s always a good idea to check for water leaks at least every couple of months, especially if you live in an older home. Consistently monitoring your meter can alert you to small leaks before they become major issues. Early detection can prevent high water bills and extensive water damage to your home.

Most Home Owners Don’t Know Their Meter Has a Leak Indicator

Leak indicators on water meters have been around since the mid-20th century, though their design and implementation have evolved over time. However, it would surprise you to know how many homeowners don’t even know they exist. The exact timeline can vary based on region and water utility advancements. Early versions of leak indicators were simple mechanical devices that detected continuous water flow, even when all fixtures were turned off.

Over the decades, these indicators have become more sophisticated, incorporating electronic and digital technologies to provide more accurate and real-time data on water usage and potential leaks. By the late 20th and early 21st centuries, many modern water meters came equipped with advanced plumbing leak detection features, allowing for better monitoring and management of water resources.

The Impact of Household Leaks and How to Fix Them

According to the EPA, the average household water leaks can waste an astonishing amount of water yearly—over 10,000 gallons per home, which is enough to wash 270 loads of laundry. Nationwide, this adds up to more than 1 trillion gallons of water wasted annually, equivalent to the annual water use of over 11 million homes. Notably, 10 percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more daily.

Common leaks, such as worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaking valves, are usually easy to fix. Addressing these issues can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills. Keeping your home leak-free is as simple as repairing dripping faucets, toilet flappers, and showerheads. Most replacement parts for these fixtures are inexpensive and easy to install.

Additionally, upgrading to WaterSense-labeled fixtures and other high-efficiency appliances can help eliminate the most common leaks. These improvements not only conserve water but also enhance household efficiency, contributing to significant savings on water bills.

Enjoy Responsible Water Use and Cost Savings

By taking simple steps to fix common household leaks and upgrading to high-efficiency fixtures, you can make a considerable impact on water conservation and reduce your water bills. The effort to repair dripping faucets, worn toilet flappers, and leaking valves is minimal compared to the substantial benefits of saving water and money. Embracing WaterSense-labeled fixtures and appliances will help your home operate efficiently and sustainably. Keep your home leak-free, and enjoy responsible water use and cost savings.

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

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I called Big B's Plumbing because I the hot water would not turn off in our master bathroom. I tried to turn the valve off under the sink and it broke off, so I had to shut off the main water to the house. It was noticeable the valves were original to the home. When I called, the rep stated that I would be informed about the service tech and their experience along with services offered "On The Spot". I was on a bit of a time crunch...
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Found them on Google and they had good quality reviews. Made the call and set up the appointment for same day. Dispatch called me a few hours later to confirm our appointment and let me know that the technician Mathew was on the way. This was supposed to be an easy job once Mathew arrived. But it turned out to be so much more than that. Without hesitation or a sour look on his face, he dove deep into his van...
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Randy was very knowledgeable and professional. He helped us figure out what we could do with the space given for our bathroom with our remodel. He picked out perfect fixtures and the work he did was beautiful. The cleaned up properly when they were done and everything was handled in one day! I will be calling for Randy anytime we have any plumbing needs. Thank you for doing such a great job!
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