Frequently Asked Questions - Helpful Hints

I have a high bill, how can i find leaks in my home that are raising my bill?

Steps to finding Leaks in your home.

 

  1. Visually inspect your home and property for obvious signs of a leak.

    Inside Your House – Dripping faucets, puddles near appliances that use water (refrigerators with ice makers, washing machines, hot water heaters, water softeners, etc.), wet spots on a ceiling or wall, etc.

 

Outside Your House – Pools of standing water where there shouldn’t be any water, unusually soft or soggy spots in the ground, patches of lawn that are deeper green than surrounding areas, etc.

 

  1. Listen for leaks. Some leaks take place out of sight, for example, by flowing into drains, behind walls and underground. Carefully listen to your water pipes, appliances and even your toilet tank. If you hear a faint hissing sound, you may have found a leak. Keep in mind that you may have more than one leak, so be sure to inspect as many potential leak sources as you can.

 

  1. Use your sense of smell. Leaks are a common cause of mold growth around the edges of bathtubs, under kitchen sinks, in walls and subflooring and other out-of-the-way places that make them difficult to see but easy to smell.

 

Common sources of leaks in a household include but are not limited to:

 

Water faucets – leaky faucets are typically caused by worn gaskets.

 

Water hoses – Rubber hoses can crack as they age. Continued exposure to the elements can damage garden hoses and the plastic tubing of drip irrigation systems. Washing machine hoses are another potential source of significant water loss and (on the rare occasion they burst) property damage.

 

Toilets – There are several ways that toilets can leak. For example, when the tank doesn’t fill completely, water will run continuously. Sometimes jiggling the flush handle will correct the situation. Slow leaks sometimes develop between the tank and the bowl, between the water supply fitting to the toilet or when flappers are no longer seated correctly. A flapper is the device at the bottom of the tank that prevents water from flowing into the bowl until the toilet is flushed. If your toilet is leaking at its base, it could be because its bolts aren’t fully tightened or because the seal between its base and floor has been damaged.

 

Broken irrigation lines and water pipes – Sprinkler and Irrigation system pipes can become damaged. Tree roots and debris can clog and break water pipes. Freezing weather followed by heat spells can burst or damage pipes above or below ground, causing significant water loss and property damage.

 

It is important to fix leaks as quickly as possible to prevent damage or mold growth in your home.

 

For more on fixing leaks, see Water Sense from the Environmental Protection Agency.