Why is my usage high?

Do you wonder if your water bill and water consumption could be less? Are you using an appropriate amount of water for your home?  

The How Much is Enough table is an excellent tool to evaluate your water use based on your location and home type.  It will vary depending on time of year and lot size, but it is a great place to start to compare your monthly water usage as shown on your bill. 

If your usage is higher than expected and you are unaware as to why your usage was high, below are some common reasons for high usage as well as solutions to reducing your use.

 

 

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Do you have a leak?

How to check for a leak

The best way too determine if you have a leak in your plumbing system, is by first checking your water meter. Make sure no water is being used inside or outside of your house.

Locate your water meter and take a meter reading and then wait 1 or 2 hours and take another meter reading (make sure no water is used during this time).

If the reading has changed, you may have a leak.

How to find the location of the leak

Locate your home's main shut off valve and shut off the water at the valve.

Again, check for a leak using the meter reading method, making sure not to use any water during this period.

If there is no change in the meter readings, then you likely have a leak inside of the house.

If there is a change in the meter readings, then the leak is likely outside between the meter and the house. Below are suggestions of locations where leaks are commonly found.

If you are unable to locate the leak, you may need to call a plumber.

Faucet

A small faucet leak can use 300 or more gallons of water per month. Check all faucets, hoses and connectors for leaks and to make sure they are in good working order. Make sure faucets are closed when not in use.

Toilet

Leaks inside your toilet can use up to 200 gallons per day. (200 gallons x 30 days = 6000 gallons/month). Some leaks are silent, some produce a running water sound and others may be visible as a small trickle running from the rim to the water in the bowl.  You can test for a leak by adding a dye tablet or a small amount of food coloring to the tank, wait 15 minutes, and then look in the bowl.  If the color is in the bowl, you have a leak.

Showerhead

Dripping showerheads can use from 70 up to several hundred gallons of water a week, depending on the size of the drip.

Pool

If you have a pool, check the pool system's shutoff valve, which works automatically, to see if it is malfunctioning and causing a continuous cycle of water to be pumped in and then drained out.

Water Softener

If you have a water softener, make sure that the back wash cycle is not malfunctioning.

 

Is your irrigation system set appropriately?

You control your irrigation consumption by turning off your system when irrigation isn't needed, by reducing irrigation to one day per week (or less) during cooler months, by setting the amount of time each zone runs, and by making seasonal adjustments to the zone run time.

Below are recommendations for checking and adjusting your irrigation system.

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  • Check your irrigation timer to ensure that the by-pass is not activated.
  • Check that your zone run times are set properly and have not re-set to factory settings. Programming videos regarding your Hunter irrigation timer can be found here.
  • Verify that the sprinkler heads are all working properly and have not been damaged.
  • Check your rain sensor to ensure it is functioning properly and that the switch on your irrigation timer is not set on bypass.  More information on rain sensors and how to check them can be found here.
  • Check your irrigation timer to ensure it is only irrigating on your scheduled days and times, a maximum of twice per week, occurring only after 4:00 pm and before 10:00 am.  Irrigation days and times can be found here.
  • The amount of irrigation your lawn and landscape needs varies depending on the time of year and rainfall.  Please note that during the rainy season or cooler months of the year, your irrigation system does not need to operate as frequently or may even be able to be shut off completely.  A Recommended Irrigation Zone Run Time table can be found here.

 

Hopefully this information will assist you in identifying and overcoming the reasons for high water use.

Thank you for helping us protect and conserve our water resources.