If your water bill seems high, don’t blame the water meter. Most high water bills come from leaks within the house.
Leaks can happen any time, in any house, no matter how new the house or fixtures are. You probably don’t realize that a dripping faucet actually wastes up to 15 gallons of water a day.
Toilet leaks can be silent and invisible, can occur in brand new toilets as well as older toilets, and are the most common cause of high water bills.
To check your toilets for leaks:
1. Wait 5-10 minutes after last flush.
2. Remove tank cover, is the water level in the tank too high and spilling into the overflow
If it is, you have a leak.
3. While you still have the tank cover off, put 2-3 drops of food coloring in your toilet tank.
DO NOT FLUSH (If you do not have food coloring you can pick up dye tablets at
City Hall, 106 Jones Street or the Water Department, 800 Hoffman
4. Let stand for 20-30 minutes.
5. Now look, is there food coloring in the bowl?
If there is, you have a leak.
6. Do you have to jiggle the toilet handle to get it to stop running after flushing?
If you do, you have a leak.
Make sure to check ALL of your toilets, even if you do not use them. These leaks can cost hundreds of dollars on your water bills and should be repaired immediately. Click here to be redirected to the Wisconsin DNR Website to view these how-to videos "Find a Toilet Leak" and "Fix a Toilet Leak".
Other things to check for are a water softener that is leaking/cycling more often than necessary or, if you are constantly hearing water running through your water softener, you should have your water softener checked by a certified repair person.
Check your water heater for leaks/malfunction.
Check for leaks in pipes, faucets, hoses and couplings. Even small leaks can cost hundreds of dollars a year if not fixed. Sometimes leaks outside do not seem as bad as leaks inside the house, but you are still paying the sewer on this water since it goes through the meter.
These things can make a big difference in the amount of water that you are billed for.
More Water Saving Ideas
• Do not use the toilet as a wastebasket or ashtray.
• Install water-saving shower heads and flow-restrictors.
• Use your dishwasher and washing machine only for full loads.
• Keep a pitcher of water in the refrigerator for drinking instead of running the tap until the
water gets cold.
• Recycle water from one project to another if possible. Put a pail under the faucet to catch
the clean water while you let it warm up and use it to do other cleaning.
• Do not let the water run while you work or clean.
- Turn the water off while you brush your teeth or shave.
- When washing vegetables, rinse them in a stoppered sink or clean pan of water.
- Clean your car with a pail of soapy water and then turn the hose on only to rinse.
• Water your lawn only when it needs it.
- If your grass stays flat after you step on it, it needs to be watered.
- When you water your lawn, water it long enough that it soaks down to the roots.
- Water in the morning or evening when it's cool.
- Don't water the sidewalk or driveway and avoid watering on windy days.
• Plant drought resistant trees and plants.
- Use a layer of mulch to help retain moisture and discourage weeds.
- Water long enough that the water soaks down to the roots. This encourages a deep root system
which should require less watering in the future.
• Use a broom to clean driveways and sidewalks.
• Tell your children not to play with the hose and sprinklers.