When the water bill arrives, we all hold our breath a little, hoping that the number inside will be within the expected range. But on some occasions, we end up being pretty shocked by what we find. Various factors that can cause this, including indiscriminate water use by yourself and other members of your household. However, the most worrisome causes are those that do not just result in a high water bill but cause damage to your home and its foundation.
What Are the Most Common Reasons for a High Water Bill?
Some reasons for a high bill are benign, while others can be devastating. However, they are all problems that must be addressed. The most common issues for a high water bill are as follows.
When the toilet is not running or leaking, it accounts for nearly 27 percent of the water consumption in the average household. When the toilet is not functioning properly, this amount increases significantly. How much water can a running toilet waste per day? As much as 200 gallons.
Not every running toilet it obvious. First, listen to see if you can hear it. If you cannot, drop some food coloring into the bowl and wait a few hours without using it. If the color is gone or is lighter, your toilet is running.
Leaky Faucets and Other Fixtures
These leaks are widespread, and luckily are easy to spot. In most cases, these leaks are small enough to have minimal impact on your water bill, it’s best to learn how to stop it from leaking for good. If ignored for too long, however, they can waste significant amounts of water over time. These leaks rarely cause extensive damage to the home since they leak into the sink, shower, or tub. Pay close attention to all fixtures to catch these leaks as soon as they occur.
Hoses and Sprinklers
These items use a lot of water, and when they are damaged, can leak a lot of water. However, we tend not to notice these leaks right away since the water evaporates quickly in the sun. Because of this, your water bill being high may be the first sign of a problem. Check your yard for any damp spots and inspect the hoses and sprinklers regularly.
Burst or Leaky Pipes
When a pipe leaks, it tends to be small at first, and there may not be any outward signs that there is a problem. In fact, the first indication is often an increase in your water bill. Other signs are water damage to the home and wet spots in the yard.
You might think that a burst pipe would be something straightforward to catch, but that all depends on where the pipe is that burst. The first sign of a water burst or leak may be your water bill. And this is where the big problems for your home can start.
How Leaky and Burst Pipes Impact Foundation
Your home and yard have many pipes that run underneath its foundation. When the pipes leak or burst, the signs of the problem can be hidden until you have very big problems. And because of their location, the first part of your home they damage is the foundation.
Your foundation is already in a delicate situation. Because it’s in the soil, it’s always in contact with moisture. Too much moisture will destroy it, which if left unattended, can cause your home to collapse. There are three ways that water tends to harm foundations.
As water from a leak or burst saturates the soil around your foundation, it places a lot of pressure on it. This pressure can cause the foundation to crack, and if you have a basement, cause the walls to bow inward.
As soil absorbs moisture and turns into mud, it becomes unstable. Any item sitting on it, such as the foundation of your home, can start to slip and shift, causing cracks in the foundation and structural problems in the house as a whole.
While this is unlikely with a leak, a burst pipe can release water with enough pressure to erode the soil around and underneath the foundation, causing the foundation to settle further into the ground and to do so unevenly. The ground will ultimately cause significant issues with the structural integrity of the home.
Because these potential problems are significant, any changes in your water bill should be taken seriously. Even if it costs money you would prefer not to spend, consult a plumber to check for hidden leaks. If there is a leak impacting the foundation of your home, the money will be well spent.