An unexpectedly high bill is often caused by an unknown leak. Here are some helpful tips for detecting leaks.
A leaking toilet can waste a lot of water. To test for a leak, wait 5-10 minutes after a flush, then remove the tank top and drop a few drops of food coloring in the tank. DO NOT FLUSH. Wait 15-20 minutes. If color appears in the bowl, you have a leak.
Check your spouts. If water is dripping when the spout is turned off, you have a bad washer (a small, rubber gasket that looks like an “o”). If water drips at the handle when you turn the water on, you have a different type of bad washer. Replace any bad washers. But before making repairs, turn off the water supply coming to your house.
These are the trickiest leaks of all because they often can’t be seen. Check both the connection hoses to your washing machine and the hoses that bring water to your fixtures. Dry the hoses, then wrap a little toilet paper around them. That way, even tiny leaks will be easier to find. Replace any hose that has a hole, remembering to shut off the water supply first.
If you’ve tried everything else and still have a water leak, it could be underground. Walk around your yard and check for areas that are moist or soft, especially if it hasn’t rained recently. A licensed plumber may be needed to find and repair the problem.