Regardless of how much or how little water you use at home, you probably think of what that use will cost you. And when you open the mailbox and see the water bill sitting at the top of your stack of mail, your throat might get a little dry and your stomach may drop. How high is the water bill this month? How much water did your home use in 30 days?

If your water bill is higher than you expect, you may think that reducing how much water you use is the best way to lower this monthly bill.

But have you thought that your home’s plumbing system may be the cause of such a high water bill?

Below, we discuss five ways that your home’s plumbing system results in high water bills. Read on to learn what causes your water bill to spike so you can take the correct measures to reduce your home’s water consumption.

1. Your Dishwasher and Washing Machine Don’t Run Efficiently

You know that you should only run full loads in your washing machine and dishwasher to avoid wasting too much water. However, if your appliances are too old and don’t run efficiently, you may need to run loads multiple times to get an effective clean.

Dishwashers have an average lifespan of nine years before their efficiency lowers. And your washer will last about eight years before it starts to break down. But depending on how much you use these appliances and how well you care for them, their efficiency could lower much sooner.

To avoid wasting too much water washing your clothes and dishes, have your plumber inspect your dishwasher and washer at least once every couple of years. Make the appropriate repairs as necessary, and replace your appliances if your plumber has to repair them multiple times a year.

When you do replace the appliances, choose an ENERGY STAR-approved model, as these appliances use less water and energy when they run.

2. Your Pipes and Faucets Have a Leak

Even if your pipes and faucets leak one drop every few minutes or so, all that leaking water can increase your water bill. In fact, according to the EPA, the average home in the US leaks about 10,000 gallons of water each year-the same amount of water used to clean 270 loads of laundry.

Check your indoor and outdoor pipes and faucets and make sure they aren’t leaking. If you do notice a leak, contact your plumber. He or she can repair the leak so your home wastes less water.

Also, have your plumber inspect the water heater and meter for leaks. Get a new appliance if necessary.

3. Your Toilet Needs Repairing

When you first installed your toilet, it likely flushed and refilled quickly. Now, you may notice that it takes a while for the toilet to flush and for the tank to fill back up. And if your toilet runs for long periods of time, your water usage will increase drastically.

Call your plumber and have him or her inspect the toilet. He or she will make any repairs to restore its functionality. If the toilet is too old, you may need to get a new one instead. Opt for a low-flow toilet. These models, if flushed about 15 times a day, only use 9,000 gallons of water a year. (Traditional toilets use around 33,000 gallons of water annually when flushed 15 times daily.)

4. Your Home Uses Water During Peak Times

Each neighborhood has peak hours for water usage. The peak is the time of day where the most water is used. If you use water during this time, you may notice your home’s water pressure is lower. As a result, you likely have to run your water for longer to fill up tubs and sinks and to accomplish water-related tasks.

Additionally, some municipalities charge you more money if you use water during these hours, so your water use will cost more.

If possible, call your city’s water company and ask when the peak hours are each day. Avoid using water during this time if you can to lower your water bill.

5. Your Pipes Aren’t Insulated

When you turn on the tap, you expect the water to come out nice and hot. If it doesn’t, you likely let the water run until it warms up. Instead of running the water and racking up the charges on your water bill, insulate your pipes. The insulation keeps the water inside the pipes warm consistently so you don’t have to run the tap as long to get hot water.

 

If you’ve noticed an increase in your home’s water usage and bill, contact your plumber and have him or her perform repairs and maintenance on your home’s plumbing system. These small fixes can help you conserve water and lower your water bill over time.