Why is My Water Bill So High? 10 Possible Causes

by AL Support January 21, 2019

Why is My Water Bill So High? 10 Possible Causes

A surprise high water bill claims claims yet another victim


While going through the day’s mail, you notice the water bill. You don’t expect any surprises.

Except it’s $3,000.

It must be a mistake! This wasn’t the case for a Toronto, Ontario family in November 2017. These Toronto homeowners usually pay around $440 a month, and then received a whopper of a bill of $3,132.55.

They called the city only to find out it wasn’t a mistake.

The high water bill was a result of a silent leak.

The source: a basement toilet with a faulty overflow valve. These kinds of leaks are known as “silent leaks,” because you wouldn’t necessarily see pooling water. Unfortunately, most homeowners only find out about silent leaks like this when they get a water bill. This is an extreme case, but more and more you may be hearing stories like this one. If you have an unexpectedly high water bill, here are 10 potential culprits.


10 causes of high water bills


a leaky or running toilet


Depending on the type of toilet, it can use between 6 – 32 litres a flush. Over the course of a month, all that flushing accounts for over 25% of a household’s indoor water use. If a toilet is leaking, it could waste up to 330 litres a day. That’s the average daily water usage per person in Canada! Here’s how to fix a running toilet


Don't let running toilets steal your money


leaky faucets and valves


A leaking kitchen or bathroom leaking at a rate of 1 drip per second can waste up to 20 litres in a day! Not nearly as much wasted water as a running toilet, but it will still increase your water bill.


leaky faucets and running taps cause high water bills

Each drip from a running faucet can add up over time


seasonal water consumption


Water bills are often higher in the summer, and also during times when you’re hosting visitors. Homeowners also notice spikes in water use when filling their swimming pools for the summer.


seasonal water consumption causes high water bills

In the summertime the weather is hot and the water bills can cost a lot


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 it out by putting the water softener on bypass and seeing your water meter stops running.


water softeners that recharge too often cause high water bills

Make sure your water softener settings are adjusted to the hardness of the water and the number of people in the home 


furnace humidifier set too high

Your furnace’s drain line could get backed, filters could get clogged with mineral deposits, scale, and debris—blocking the drain opening and creating a leak. Also, check the solenoid valve—the valve that allows water to enter the humidifier.


furnace humidifiers set too high cause big water bills

A furnace humidifier makes the air comfortable to breathe but can cause a high water bill if set too high




old or leaky hot water heater

Look around the base of the hot water heater for any signs of leaks


leaky water heaters cause high water bills cropped

The average lifespan of a hot water heater is around 8 years


leaky washing machine


Check behind and underneath your washer to make sure no water is escaping with those missing socks. 


leaky washing machines cause damage and high water bills

High efficiency washers use 50% or even less water than older models


leaky dishwasher


Look for wet, warped or discoloration stains on your floors, walls, and cabinets.


leaky dishwashers can cause high water bills

 Despite the occasional leak, a dishwasher is more efficient than washing by hand


outdoor leaks


Your water could be sneaking outside your home too. Check whether the sprinkler system is malfunctioning or if garden hoses are leaking. Look and feel for areas of your property that are always wet, even without recent 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 a just a dark spot.


a hose left running causes high water bills

Leaving a hose unattended can rack up a huge water bill 


underground leaks


Difficult to detect on your own, most of these leaks are uncovered by a surprisingly large water bill. This is why it’s a good idea to track your water usage.

underground leaks run up huge water bills

Sometimes the causes of the highest water bills lay in the lowest places

Although it can be an nuisance to identify the exact cause of your high water bill, you’re taking the right steps in the direction of water conservation and saving money.

The EPA states that a dripping faucet can waste 11,000 litres of water a year—that’s the same as more than 70 loads of laundry or 290 five-minute showers.

If you’re interested in a technological solution to understanding your water usage, check out the Flowie water flow sensor that monitors water usage minute by minute and learns patterns to help you lower your water bill.

AL Support
AL Support


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