Do you know how your water bill is calculated? Many water companies measure water in units of 100 cubic feet which is equivalent to 748 gallons, thus 3 units would equal 2,244 gallons. Until recently, when I received a water bill it was paid, no questions asked. A few months ago, I noticed an increase on my water bill though I blamed it on having my parents stay with me over the summer. After my parents left, I received the monthly water bill, only this time it looked like I was paying for the entire street. Was the meter reading wrong? Did an outside pipe break? Do I spend to much time in the shower? All of these questions and many more were running through my head. I knew two of my toilets had a little leak, but I assumed that was no big deal, it could not be the cause of that large of a bill.
If the average single-family home in my area uses about 8 units per month, how could I have used 26 units which is equivalent to almost 20,000 gallons in one month? I could not have used that much of water even if I showered all day while filling my neighbor’s swimming pool. Not only did I feel bad about the amount of money I owed, I was sickened by how much water I somehow had wasted. After numerous phone calls to my utility company and a number of hours of web searching, I figured out how to find the problem.
It actually was quite simple. All I had to do was turn the water off to each toilet in the house and make sure all appliances that consume water were off. Once I was certain nothing in the house should be using water, I went outside to check the water meter to see if it detected any leaks. The good news was that it was not showing any leaks, meaning the pipes were intact. The two leaky toilets were the culprit, a hard pill to swallow but it was true.
Now you may be wondering how much a leaky toilet can cost you. According to the statistics from my local water company, a small leak the size of the head of a pin, dripping at one drop per second can cost you 7 gallons per day. A large leak that is commonly found in toilets can cost you 200 gallons or more per day. This means that a standard leaky toilet wastes about 8 cubic feet per month – the same amount of usage for a single-family home, or about $70. In short, I hurried and fixed the leaky toilets. I recommend you do the same if you notice even the smallest leak to help conserve water.