If you have noticed your water bill inching up or even making a huge jump, don’t assume it is just because the utility company has raised its rates. Many times it is because there is a leak somewhere in your home. And sometimes that leak is not inside your home, but outdoors. If you suspect you are paying more for water than you should be, give your plumber a call and ask him to check for indoor and outdoor leaks.
There are a number of places outdoors that could have a leak problem, and your plumber is trained to look for them.
One possibility is that one of your hose bibbs could either be faulty or else the garden hose connection to the bibb is leaking. You might also discuss with your plumber the possibility of changing out your hose bibbs for a style that will work better for you. If you suspect a neighbor is helping himself to your water, you could have a lockable water valve cover installed. Another upgrade to consider is installing one with a lever handle instead of the typical handle (a typical handle is like the one shown in the picture accompanying this post, although not covered with algae!) which is easier to operate.
All lines exiting the home can be checked for leaks and repaired if damaged. While this may not affect your water bill, a leak here can pose other problems such as slushy areas in your lawn, an increase of mosquitoes and other insects, and foul odors. Other plumbing, such as that which operates a pool or spa, should be inspected as well.
Even homeowners who get their water from a well should be concerned about leaks, as they can cause other damage over time. Water causes corrosion, so you can be pretty sure that any leak is going to get worse and could result in a flood of water at the most inopportune time. Having the pump and water lines coming into the house checked by a plumber, especially each spring, is a good idea.
If you suspect a leak outdoors, give your plumber a call so he can do a full inspection. Even if you don’t notice anything suspicious, an annual spring checkup is never a bad idea.