Water bill is very high and no visible leaks

29 Replies

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?

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...

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????????????

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!


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.

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

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.


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!

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!

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.

We had a major leak at our house. Our plumber didn't have the tools for the Leak Detection without hours of digging up our yard. Then i immediately call Pool Leak Detection service, they guys came the very next day and found our leak within an hour or so. The next available leak detection service was not available within 7 days of our phone call and was higher in price. They guys were on time and helped us out. I really appreciate their friendliness, punctuality and and level of knowledge. I highly recommend this service, if you have any problem regarding leakage, you can call them, i am sure they will provide you some useful tips.

Try just contacting the water supply company to understand why the bill is so high rather than just taking his word for it. Have them confirm the meter is working properly. You can compare the amount of gallons they're charging you for to what your meter actually reads. maybe there was a meter reading error. Your toilet leak could have potentially gotten worse but since you're used to it leaking you didn't notice. Good luck!

Also if there is a pipe broken underground the leak would have to be after the meter for the water company to bill you for it. If the meter is in the house and the pipe is broke under the yard your meter wont be reflecting that leak. There are definitely meters in the ground in the front yard for example where the length after the meter to the house could leak and you would be billed for that.

it looks like you have received every bit of good advice that you've been looking for. 

my best guess is that the bill is accurate. I figure they have probably been estimating your bill for months now, and finally took an actual reading this month. I'll bet that you're being charged for current usage and the difference between estimated and actual usage for prior months.

I'll be interested to see what turns out to be, please let us know!

First off, I am 5th generation plumbing contractor. At my parents house we experienced my water bills. At which time we started looking for leaks we then investigated this situation. After looking at this problem for approximately 2 months we determined that the water meter was registering the water coming in to the property and as water pressure is fluctuated downstream from the meter. We determine that the water was slipping back through the meter unregistered and then as the pressure in the network or City Water lines re pressurized the the building it reregistered the water coming in even when nothing was being consumed. City water department so there's no way that that could happen but once a spring check valve was installed on the line that stop the high water consumption being registered on the meter even though nothing was leaking. I hope this helps everyone to solve a problem with their system. In the past I have seen a high water bill one month and then the very next month with the same equipment back to a normal rating/ reading.

I'm currently having this problem. I just got my water bill for $177 they are saying I used almost 19,000 gallons of water. When I called to find out more they said it happened over a 4 day period then it went back to normal. I just checked my meter with everything off. I have no leaks at all. At least none that are causing the meter to read that water is running. They tried to tell me that whatever happened fixed itself. But even when I did have a water leak it was never higher than $50. What do I do????? Is it even possible to use that much water in 4 days with no known leaks? Even when we have accidentally left stuff running for a whole day it didn't use that much.

contact your water company. They should be able to run an analysis and give you an idea of the problem. 

Check your toilets. If they're running without flushing, then there's the problem.

all they can do is give me a chart that shows the usage per hour on those days. And I am 100% sure there is no leak. It was over a month ago. I checked the meter today. It's not reading any leaks. There are no toilets running. Nothing.

As I have noted before read my last post and this will give you some direction as to a course of action.


Same thing happened to me. I noticed that the water bill for both units went from an average of 4 units per month up to 21 units. It ended up being a running toilet. $10 fix. Turning off the water to the house and watching the orange triangle to see if it moves is the correct advice.

Join the Largest Real Estate Investing Community

Basic membership is free, forever.