High water bills, no leaks. How to check the actual water usage?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by JoeA, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. JoeA

    JoeA New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2020
    Location:
    Illinois
    My water bills are literally double comparing to my neighbors with the relatively same household. All appliances are relatively new and no toilet or any other leaks. I called the village several times to make sure nothing is wrong with the meter and according to them when meter is broken I would be paying less and not over. Last year we left for almost two month and I received relatively the same bill. Is there a way to check the actual water usage besides this 15 years old meter?
     
  2. Sylvan

    Sylvan Still learning

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Occupation:
    plumbing - fire suppression - boiler inspector
    Location:
    New York
    The leak is most likely a toilet. You can either check your water meter OR shut your water main for a few hours then open ther main and look at the meter dial or listen to water flowing
     
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  4. Reach4

    Reach4 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2013
    Location:
    IL
    Learn to read your meter to some extent. Many water meters have a hand or indicator that is more sensitive. Note that hand/indicator position -- maybe take a photo. Compare later after you think no water has been used.

    Besides a toilet, as Sylvan pointed out, a water softener seal could let water go to the drain when it should not.

    I expect there is a valve that will let you turn off water to your unit (or do you have a free-standing house?).
     
  5. JerryR

    JerryR Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2011
    Location:
    Florida
    Your water meter likely has a leak indicator like this one https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Check-a-Water-Meter-for-a-Leak/

    You left for almost 2 months and left the water on? You’re a brave man. I turn off my main to the house if I’m going to be gone more than 24 hours. My friend had a ice maker line to his fridge spring a leak when he was gone for months. He came back to a mold infested house. It took over 6 moths and $45,000 to do the mold remediation. Mold was in flooring, drywall furniture, cabinets etc.

    We have a checklist at the house and the cabin that we use when leaving and retuning.

    Turn off water to house or when leaving cabin turn off well pump breaker.
    turn off water heater breaker
    Turn off washer and dryer breakers
    Set the AC to 82 degrees (it’s Florida and 82 deg runs the AC long enough to keep the humidity down)
    Lock all doors
    Set the burglar alarm
    Make sure garage door is closed.
     
  6. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    Where is your meter versus the house? In some places, the meter is by the street, in others, it may be inside or at the wall of the house. If your meter is out by the street, do you have any extra green or squishy spots in your lawn?

    If your house is on a slab and the line runs underneath, you could have a leak there that may not be super evident. But, a toilet can slowly run and not sound like it is. Pull the cover(s) off of your toilets and verify that the water is not overflowing. A clue might be if there's condensation on the tank, depending on how cold your incoming water is and the humidity levels in the home.
     
  7. dj2

    dj2 In the Trades

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Location:
    California
    1. First thing to check is the flow indicator inside the water meter (we have a turning triangle indicator) - with all faucets shut.
    2. If there is a movement, you have water leaking out.
    3. Do you see any puddles from the meter to the house?
    4. Look at your toilet tank water level with supply water shut, then look again 2-3 hours later. If there is a drop, your flapper is leaking.
    5. Do you have sprinkler pipes? Check the entire yard for soft muddy spots.
    Now go to work.
     
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