High Bills

High billsIf you have an unusually high Cal Water bill, you can conduct a water evaluation to see where the problem may be. According to EPA WaterSense, on average, 10,000 gallons of water is wasted in the home each year. The total amount of water leaked from U.S. homes could exceed more than 1 trillion gallons per year. To perform an evaluation, check the following:

Residential Customers

  • Is your water meter moving?
  • Are there any dripping faucets? Thirty drips per minute adds up to approximately 15 gallons per day.
  • Do you have a leaking toilet?
  • Is there a leaking irrigation valve?
  • Do you have a sprinkler system? If so, is it on a timer? Is the timer operating correctly?
  • Were you gone for any number of days during the month in question? If so, did somebody take care of your plants or animals for you?
  • Do you have a water softener? Is it the recycling type? Is it operating correctly?
  • Do you have an under-the-sink filter system? Is it operating correctly?
  • Does the handle on your toilet have to be jiggled to make the water stop running?
  • Do you have a hot tub or pool? If so, have you adjusted the float arm lately?
  • Did you have your fire sprinkler system maintained?
  • Have you repaired any leaking faucets, water heaters, etc., lately?
  • Is there a recycling hot water unit? Is it operating correctly?
  • Are there any wet spots on the lawn or inside the home on walls or ceilings?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then you may have found the source of your unusual water usage. Investigate further, or contact your local Customer Center for assistance.

Commercial Customers

If you are a commercial customer (restaurant, convenience store, etc.), do you have a purifying water machine, “serve yourself” machine, or soft drink machine that might need repair or have experienced especially high usage? If so, you may have found the source of your unusual water usage. Investigate further, or contact your local Customer Center for assistance.

Check for Hidden Leaks

Straight Read Meter

Make sure that water is not slipping away due to undetected leaks in your plumbing. To check for household leaks, turn off the water inside and outside your home. Observe the test hand on your meter (depicted at right in blue); if it moves, there is water pushing through the meter, indicating a leak. To locate a leak, try:

  • Looking for wet spots on your lawn that could indicate a leak in the pipe between the meter and the home or the sprinkler system.
  • Dropping a dye tablet in the toilet tank. Don’t flush. If colored water appears in the bowl, the toilet is leaking. One of the most common reasons a toilet leaks is due to a worn out toilet flapper. Consult your owner’s manual or bring your old flapper with you to the store to make sure you buy one that will fit your toilet
  • Checking your faucets and pipe fittings for any water on the outside of the pipe.
  • Making sure your showerhead is not leaking where it connects to the pipe stem. Carefully tighten and use pipe, or Teflon, tape when securing it. You may also want to replace the “o” ring inside the showerhead.
  • Examining your garden hose to make sure that it is not leaking where it connects to the spigot.

If the test hand does not move, it is possible you have a leak that only occurs when a piece of equipment — such as an irrigation system — is in operation.

Want more information? See the leak-detection video on Cal Water’s YouTube channel.