Reasons For High Water Usage

The average family of 4 uses 12,000-15,000 gallons/quarter. Here is a list of reasons why you may have high water usage and a large water bill each quarter.

  • Most Common! A leaky or running toilet
    • The older the toilet, the more water it uses - Toilets before 1982 use 5-7 gallons/flush, toilets between 1982-1993 use 3.5 gallons/flush, and 1994+ use 1.28-1.6 gallons/flush
    • To check your toilet for a leak:
      • Place your ear to the toilet tank after you’ve flushed.  Continue to listen for a minute or two after the toilet has stopped filling. If the leak isn’t silent, you will be able to hear if water is still running. If you can still hear water running, it means you’ve most likely detected a leak.
      • After you’ve flushed, wait a few moments and then look into the toilet bowl. If you can still see water movement filling from the tank minutes later, you’ve most definitely spotted a leak.
      • If you can hear your toilet filling when no one has recently used it, it probably means you have a broken fill valve. This is known as the famous “Ghost Fill”.
  • Leaky faucets and valves
    • A faucet drip can waste 20 or more gallons/day
  • Running the water to avoid freezing pipes
  • Seasonal water consumption - includes watering lawn, trees, gardens, flowers, etc., filling up or topping off a pool, water activities, leaving the hose on and unattended
  • Hosting visitors/guests, kids home for summer/school holidays
  • Water cooled air conditioners
  • A broken water pipe
  • Water softeners with high recharge rates
    • On your water softener, check for any overflow or leaks and also be sure to check its settings to see how many times a week it's regenerating and whether it's running efficiently. You can test this out by putting the water softener on bypass and seeing if your water meter stops running. Also, make sure your water softener settings are adjusted to the hardness of the water and the number of people living in the home.
  • Furnace humidifier set too high
    • Your furnace's drain line could get backed up, filters can get clogged, in turn blocking the drain opening and creating a leak. Also, check the solenoid valve (the valve that allows water to enter the humidifier).
  • Old or leaky hot water heater
    • Look around the base of the hot water heater for any signs of leaks
    • The average lifespan of a hot water heater is around 8 years
  • Leaky washing machine
    • Check behind and underneath the washer to make sure no water is escaping
    • High efficiency washers use 50% or even less water than older models
  • Leaky dishwasher
    • Look for wet, warped, or discolored stains on your floors, walls and cabinets
    • Despite the occasional leak, a dishwasher is more efficient than washing by hand
  • Outdoor leaks
    • Check whether your sprinkler system is malfunctioning or if garden hoses are leaking or have burst
    • Look and feel for areas on your property that are always wet, even without rain
    • Look at your driveway, curb or street for evidence of water flow
    • Depending on the size of the leak, you may be looking for a stream of water, a puddle that never dries up, or just a dark spot
  • Service line leaks - Between your water meter and your home, check for wet spots in your yard
  • Underground Leaks - Silent Leaks
    • Leaks that are difficult to detect on your own and found through a very high water bill
    • We recommend tracking your water bill each quarter to catch this as early as possible
  • Lifestyle - You may use more water compared to the average household
    • You take more showers or baths
    • You take longer showers or baths
    • You do more loads of laundry
    • You do more dishwasher loads
    • Your family includes a teenager or a baby
  • If you still have concerns about your high water usage, contact us at 651-462-0575 and we will send out Public Works to check on your meter and inspect the service line.