6 Common Causes for High Water Bills

Homeowner in Toronto, ON, looking at high water bill in shock.

From morning until evening, you depend on plumbing fixtures to supply you with fresh water for cooking, cleaning, and keeping your home running smoothly. Water is a major utility for every Toronto homeowner, and discovering an astronomical water bill is cause for panic, to say the least. 

So, what causes high water bills? Below, we’ll cover the six most common causes of high water bills and what you can do to reduce your water consumption.

Running Toilet

The average toilet uses about 6 liters of water per flush. Now think about how often you flush every day, month, or even during a whole year. With that in mind, it may come as no surprise that toilets account for nearly 30% of your home’s indoor water consumption. 

Because of their frequent usage, toilets pose a major leak threat. A running toilet can waste between 330-22,000 liters per day, depending on the size of the leak.

Most importantly, it can easily go undetected until you notice the astronomical increase in your water bill. How do you know whether a running toilet is what’s causing your high water bill?

How to Check for Toilet Leaks: The Dye Test

  1. Pour 10-15 drops of food coloring into the toilet tank. 
  2. Wait about 15 minutes. Do not flush during this time!
  3. Check the toilet bowl. If the water in the bowl is colored, you have a leak. 

A worn-out flapper is one of the most common causes of high water bills. When a flapper is old or damaged, it cannot create a watertight seal. Therefore, water leaks from the tank to the bowl. 

Leaky Faucets

The second most common cause of high water bills is a leaking faucet. When you hear the drip, drip, drip of water splashing onto the sink or the tub, you probably don’t think of all the water (and money) being wasted. A typical leak of 10 drips per minute can amount to 3 liters of wasted water a day. If you have multiple leaking faucets, this number could be doubled or tripled. 

A small leak can seem pretty insignificant until you notice a spike in your water bill. Luckily, there is an easy solution you can try! More often than not, a worn-out rubber washer is to blame for leaky faucets. Try replacing the washer with a new one and see if this stops the leak. 

Seasonal Water Consumption

You may not have realized that the start of a new season may be what’s causing your high water bill, but water consumption is generally higher in the summer months due to a number of factors:

  • Kids are home for summer vacation and more active. 
  • The hot and sticky days may require family members to take more showers. 
  • Lawns and gardens need to be watered regularly during this time of the year. 
  • The air conditioner may be water-cooled. 
  • You own a pool that needs to be filled. 

Of course, that’s not to say that water usage doesn’t spike during other times of the year. In the winter, for example, you may see a sudden increase in your water bill due to a damaged furnace humidifier, a frozen pipe that bursts, or simply because guests are visiting your home for the holidays. 

Running Water to Avoid Frozen Pipes

Speaking of seasonal water consumption, running water to avoid frozen pipes is a common cause of high water bills in the winter. 

The coldest months of the year, December through January, have an average daily temperature of -39oC. At this temperature, pipes can freeze if they aren’t safeguarded from the cold weather. In addition to heat tape, some property owners take extra precautions by letting the tap drip or flow. 

Faulty Water Softener

To keep your water healthy and tasting fresh, water softeners periodically go through a regeneration cycle. This process uses fresh water to clean the filter and then disposes of the backwash.

In some cases, the valve may get stuck in the open position and run the regeneration cycle continuously—more often than necessary. This won’t make your water taste any better, but you will definitely notice a higher water bill. If you’re dealing with a faulty water softener, contact a professional who has training and experience working with your particular system. 

Underground Leaks

Underground leaks are hard to detect without the proper equipment, seeing as they’re not easily accessible. But if your water meter is constantly rising and yet you can’t find evidence of a leak anywhere else in your house, then you might want to consider an underground leak is what’s causing your high water bill. Keep an eye out for these signs that your main water pipe is damaged and needs to be repaired:

  • Wet spots on your lawn
  • Potholes or sinkholes
  • Sewage smells or moldy odors
  • A drop in water pressure when using appliances
  • Rusty water

You can test for an underground leak by turning off the water supply to the house and keeping an eye on your water meter. If the number on the meter continues rising even though you’re not using any water at home, you likely have an underground leak that needs to be dealt with immediately. 

Choose Same Day Plumbing for Reliable Repairs

When it comes to plumbing problems, you need a company you can trust to get the job done quickly and affordably. From leak detection to plumbing emergencies, Toronto residents know they can count on Same Day Plumbing to restore comfort to their homes. Contact us today to learn more about our pipe repair and replacement services.