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How Much Can a Leak Add to Your Monthly Water Bill?

The average North American household wastes about 10,000 gallons of water from household leaks every year. About one in ten homes have severe leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.

Do you have a dripping faucet or leaking toilet you’ve been ignoring for awhile? You know the leak is wasting water and costing you money, but how much are your water bills really increasing by putting off the repair?

By breaking down the costs of different leaks and realizing other ways you’re wasting water, you can improve your conservation efforts to lower your monthly bills as much as possible.

How Much Water Does a Dripping Faucet or Showerhead Waste?

The telltale sign of a leaky faucet is the steady drip, drip, drip of water splashing into the sink or tub. You can ignore this for a short time, but put the dripping faucet high on your priority list to avoid high water bills.

A very typical leak of 10 drips per minute wastes nearly one gallon per day, or 29 gallons per month. In many places, this costs less than $1 per month.

But what about fast drips? A faucet that leaks 120 drips per minute wastes 11 gallons per day, or 330 gallons per month. This could cost $6 per month, depending on where you live.

How Much Water Does a Running Toilet Use?

Since water from a leaky toilet runs straight into the sewer line, you may not notice it right away—until you get the water bill.

A constantly running toilet may waste about eight gallons per hour, or 200 gallons per day. Left unnoticed, a running toilet could waste over 6,000 gallons per month. Depending on the rate you pay for water and sewer, this could cost as much as $70 per month! And that’s assuming you only have one running toilet in your home.

Fortunately, you can detect a leaky or running toilet and stop it in its tracks. Just listen for the sound of water running or a “phantom flush” when no one has touched the handle. This is the tank refilling as water leaks into the bowl through a faulty flapper.

First, make sure the flapper isn’t caught on the chain or sitting sideways on the opening. These problems can cause the toilet to run continuously. If you hear the phantom flush, replacing the flapper should be all you need to stop a leaky toilet from wasting water.

Other High Water Bill Causes

Leaks and drips aren’t the only contributing factors to high water bills. Other wasteful practices that drive up costs include:

  • Running the dishwasher partly full (wastes 320 gallons per year)
  • Leaving the tap open when you brush your teeth (wastes 8 gallons per day)
  • Letting the water run for five minutes while washing dishes by hand (wastes 10 gallons every time)
  • Failing to fix a broken sprinkler head (wastes 2,400 gallons per month)

Some Leaks Cause More Than Just High Water Bills

Relatively innocent leaks drip water from the source into the drain or sewer line. This wastes water and costs you money, but it doesn’t cause any damage. However, leaks from pipes, fittings, and hoses can damage your home and lead to high repair costs. Besides your sinks and toilets, here are the other places to watch out for leaks:

  • Washing machine hoses
  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Plumbing under kitchen and bathroom sinks
  • Pipes
  • Roof
  • Windows and doors

Whether you’re worried about high bills or water damage, it’s worthwhile to find and stop leaks quickly. To learn more, or to schedule water damage restoration services, please contact Rainbow International® today.