You've just moved into an older home that you just couldn't resist because you love the style and feel of classic homes. Unfortunately, classic homes can produce classic plumbing problems that can result in excessively high water bills.
High Water Consumption Causes
If your water consumption, as calculated in your periodic water bills, has risen precipitously since moving into your new home, you may have hidden leaks or malfunctioning components in your plumbing system.
This is especially true if the water bills remain consistently high all through the year, as opposed to only the summer months when consumption can be expected to be higher. You must examine your consumption instead of the amount of the bill, especially if you've moved from a different area with possibly lower consumption rates, fees, and taxes.
If your consumption is indeed much higher, you should first head for your bathroom.
High Water Consumption and Your Toilets
One of the biggest problems with high water consumption is often the toilet. To find out if this is your problem, flush the toilet and wait for the tank to refill completely. If you continue to hear water running after the tank is full, look into the toilet bowl. If you see waves of tiny cascading ripples from the rear of the bowl, your flapper needs to be replaced.
The flapper is a flat piece of round rubber that seats itself over the tank drain to hold water inside the tank and can wear out over time, allowing water to continuously flow into the bowl. You can replace it yourself for a few dollars.
If the water inside the bowl is still after the tank is full, look inside the tank itself. The water level should be just beneath the top of the overflow tube, which is installed in the center of the tank to keep the tank from overflowing. If water is continuously flowing over the top of the overflow tube, your fill valve is the likely culprit. It is designed to shut off after filling the tank to its desired level, but the fill valve can be corrupted over time through hard water deposits or old age.
Replacing a fill valve is relatively simple but requires draining the tank and some basic plumbing tasks. If you're not up to the job, hire a plumber as this will more than compensate for ongoing astronomical water bills.
If your toilet is sound and you don't notice any leaky faucets, consult a plumber to look for hidden leaks in inaccessible areas of your supply lines.
High Water Consumption and Your Supply Pipes
Although the water supply lines in your home might be constructed of metals such as galvanized steel or copper, they are not invulnerable to the ravages of time. After several decades of exposure to pressurized water, corrosion may begin to take its toll.
Copper pipe can corrode because of the chemical composition of the water that passes through it and the pressure with which water is forced through the pipe. Water with inordinately higher acidity or alkalinity levels or water that has contamination by heavy metals can wear away the inner surfaces of copper pipe, leading to pitting and pinhole leaks.
When pipes of insufficient diameter are installed, the force of pressurized water will cause the interior lining of copper pipe to fail over time, particularly at connections that change the direction of the supply line.
Galvanized steel pipe will corrode over time simply because of the constant exposure to any type of water. This type of pipe corrodes internally until the corruption reaches the outer surface of the pipe and pressurized water bursts through with great and constant force. Even a pinhole leak in a pressurized pipe can cause significant water flow and high water bills.
Unfortunately, a leak may be hidden underground on inside walls and other less accessible areas. If you cannot find any obvious reasons for higher than usual water consumption, call in a professional.
You can count on ABC Drain & Plumbing to find and repair the sources of your high water bills in your older home. Call us today.