Have you noticed your water bill increasing gradually over time – or a sharp, sudden spike? There are a handful of potential causes, including

  • Members of the household using more.
  • Seasonal changes, especially when watering grass.
  • Toilets with a poorly adjusted float.
  • Pricing changes.
  • Malfunctioning meter.
  • Hidden leak in water supply lines.

The last issue tends to be the most insidious and can also cause the most problems. If none of the other causes apply, it might be time to suspect the water lines are damaged.

Signs of Water Line Leaks

If you suspect a water line leak, there are a few things you can do to investigate it yourself. First, check your water meter; on most of them, there’s a small dial, often shaped like a triangle, that will rotate with even a small amount of water motion. If everything is turned off and it rotates even very slowly, you have a leak. An unexplainable sound of running water is also a near-certain indicator of a leak.

The water bill is another excellent indicator. If it’s higher than before, make sure your water rates haven’t increased, and try to determine if household members have been using more water.

If nothing else explains a high bill, check for wet spots in the yard and floor, cracking or buckling foundations and isolated areas of mold or warped flooring. Listen carefully by the toilets, since the sound of a gently leaking toilet inflow valve can be very quiet inside the tank. Pull the lid off if you have any doubt, and then it should be fairly audible if one exists.

If You Suspect a Leak and Can’t Find It, Call the Professionals As Soon As Possible

Modern plumbing companies have new technologies, such as digital sound locators, to zero in on hidden leaks and water line damage. The sooner you call, the sooner the damage can be halted. A leak that runs a long time can undermine your foundation, attract termites and destroy subflooring. Ideally, choose a family-owned company that’s well-established in the community, as they tend to hand down field experience through the generations.