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Water bill is very high and no visible leaks

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Heather De lap

May 06 '11, 06:24 PM


So very long story shortened my water bill is extremely high this month. We average $35.00 a month and this month it was $151.20. The jerk landlord told us in a very nasty little note to check out water leaks which we did and don't have. He claims we went through 19,500 gallons of water in April which means we used 650 gallons a day for 30 days. Not possible. We checked for leaks in the house and under it. We found nothing. We have an issue with a leaky toilet but it's been that way for 2 years and the bill is never higher than $35.00. Any ideas if this is an underground leak that has nothing to do with me or is my landlord price gouging me?



Dick M.

Electrical Contractor from Maine

May 06 '11, 09:35 PM


meters here have a little triangle in the center of the dial that turns when water runs, it will move every few seconds for even a drip. Not familiar with your location, here in freezing country, pipes don't go underground after the meter...



DAVID GAGE

Handyman from THUMB, Michigan

May 06 '11, 10:43 PM


i backup Dicks comment about the meter. If you have water running or leaking the little red or orange triangle will not be stable there will be some sort of a movement of some kind...19,500 gallons is a lot of water( enough to fill a large swimming pool). Could they have been estimating the bill????????????



Bryan A. Donor

Real Estate Investor from Charlotte, North Carolina

May 06 '11, 11:11 PM
2 votes


definitely turn everything off in the house and outside, and check the meter...if it's still moving, then there's a leak...is your toilet constantly running?? if the tank doesn't seal shut, it could kill the water bill!



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Aly L

Real Estate Investor from Middletown, New Jersey

May 06 '11, 11:24 PM


A running toilet can certainly jack up the bill! I had a tenant who's toilet ran for the 5 months he was there and he never said a word. I was stuck with a $1200 water bill after he was evicted.

Definitely turn off everything and check the meter, some have a sort of clockface and the little "hand" will be moving if there is any water running. Call the water company as well, they will come out to check if there is a leak or a problem in the line from the house to the water main.



Derek Lusk

Real Estate Investor from Chicago, Illinois

May 07 '11, 12:09 AM
1 vote


Does your water meter have a setting for pipe size? I don't know how this could randomly change, but if your water meter is set to the wrong pipe size, it could definitely cause fluctuations in the bill.



Tyson S.

Real Estate Investor from Des Moines, Iowa

May 07 '11, 12:19 AM


I haven't had it happen with a water meter but the electric company constantly "estimates" my meter and way overbills me. Then they finally take an actual reading and credit me months worth of electricity. It's annoying. Perhaps the same thing is happening?



Silvia Barber

May 07 '11, 06:59 PM


Originally posted by Aly L:
A running toilet can certainly jack up the bill! I had a tenant who's toilet ran for the 5 months he was there and he never said a word. I was stuck with a $1200 water bill after he was evicted.

Definitely turn off everything and check the meter, some have a sort of clockface and the little "hand" will be moving if there is any water running. Call the water company as well, they will come out to check if there is a leak or a problem in the line from the house to the water main.

Follow this advice. It sounds as if you might have a leak in the pipeline from the meter to your house. This is very common and will continue to become worse over time until it is replaced.



Thorney Gibson

General Contractor from Abingdon, Maryland

May 07 '11, 11:43 PM


What I would do is this. Turn off the main water line valve coming into the house at the wall. Then go out to the meter and check if it is still running. If it is, you pretty much know its the main water line that needs replacing.

How old is the house? What kind of piping is coming through the wall? Is there any water in the yard? Softer ground outside?


Edited May 7 2011, 23:49 by Thorney Gibson


Jon Klaus Moderator Donor

Real Estate Investor from Garland, Texas

May 08 '11, 12:20 AM
2 votes


If you've tried the above methods and are still stuck, call a plumber that specializes in leak detection. The one I've used does magic and since he is fast it doesn't cost that much. In fact, I now know that he would have saved me money and pain several times if I called him earlier.



Jon Klaus, SellPropertyFast
E-Mail: [email protected]
Telephone: 214-929-6545
Website: http://www.sellpropertyfast.com


Chris Sweeney

Real Estate Investor from Malibu, California

May 08 '11, 05:18 AM


Maybe someone touched on this but if not and the meter is not a smart meter it could be a misread. I have had this in the past and it was a misread. You may be able to determine from the water bill if it was a misread by comparing the ending usage from the bill to the meter itself. Or, just call them out for another reading.



Aaron Mazzrillo

Wholesaler from Riverside, California

May 08 '11, 05:36 AM


I agree with Chris. Most obvious solution is to have the water company reread the meter. The bill has the numbers right on it. Go out to the meter, write them down, call the landlord and compare notes. 19,000 gallons of water is way to high for a water leak that developed overnight. You'd notice the water going somewhere since that is about the same amount of water in the average backyard swimming pool. Food for thought!



Rachel H.

May 08 '11, 03:23 PM


I agree with the prior comments regarding the meter and the pipeline. There may be a broken pipe you're not aware of that is running water underground. If all else fails, it's best to bring in a professional to help determine the problem. Hope that helps!



Jason Miller

Real Estate Investor from Aurora, Colorado

May 08 '11, 11:33 PM


I would like to add that some water districts will come out and check the meter for free if you can show justifications. Meters break at times. With water usage low in previous months they may be willing to look at your case. The worst they can tell you is no.



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