Water leaks are not only a drain on your water meter, they are a drain to your back pocket.
When you receive an unexpectedly high water bill, it can be a reason to panic if your daily habits haven’t changed.
These 10 common household water leaks are ones to check out for regularly as they will affect your water bill. It always pays to get a plumber to do a regular check over your house when they come to do a call out. The extra inspection could save you dealing with the unexpected cost of fixing water damages or that high water bill that puts pressure on the family budget.
10 Common Household Water Leaks That Are Affecting Your Water Bill
The most common household water leak is the flex hose on your hot and cold water taps and mixer taps. These can be found under the kitchen sink, bathroom basin and laundry tub. Not all flex hoses are equal but even the more reliable ones should be checked regularly. Flood stop isolating valves can be installed for added peace of mind, but it’s best to get in the habit of regularly checking flex hoses. Any signs of fraying should be replaced as soon as possible.
T-Piece in Shower Combination
Back in the day when copper pipes were welded, it was quite common for the t-piece in a shower combination to crack due to age or movement of a property. This leak can be difficult to identify and fix as it’s concealed behind the shower walls.
If the water meter dial continually clocks over when no water is being used in the house, this leak could be the cause. If there is warping of walls or tiles lifting, this could be another sign of a water pipe leak. A thermal imaging machine (Termite inspections usually have them) will be able to detect if moisture is behind the walls before your plumber starts making holes in the wall to find the leak.
A leaking tap can drip 20,000 Litres of water a year (according to Queensland Urban Utilities). That’s enough to fill 2 x 10,000Lt water tanks (if you need a visual representation!) Leaking taps can be caused from
- Cracked ceramic disc spindles
- Tap washers that need replacing
- Cartridges that need replacing for mixer taps only
Get your plumber out to fix these as soon as you identify a leak. In some cases, the taps may need to be replaced if parts can’t be sourced OR the seat of the tap has been worn down too much.
Leaking Water Connection into House
Generally, the water line connection from your water meter to your house is usually run in black poly pipe. Often the connection fittings weaken over time and cause a leak. Other times the pipe can be punctured from garden work. If you see a damp, muddy patch in the front yard, there is most likely a water leak on your main water line. As a homeowner, this is your responsibility to get fixed. Council only fixes water leaks at the water meter and their water main connections down the street (away from your water meter towards the street).
Dishwasher, Washing Machine and Fridges with Water and Ice Dispensers – Hose Bursts
Dishwashers and washing machine hoses should connect to a flood stop valve. The water is always on to these appliances, so the moment the hoses burst off, you can have full bore water running through your house because of the open taps. To avoid a flood, dishwashers, washing machines and even fridges that have water dispensers, should have a flood stop valve so the water is automatically shut off the moment the hose bursts off.
Under Sink Water Filters
Under sink water filters and their connecting pipes can be fiddly at the best of times. Check for slow trickles of water from these connections. Often it may be an o ring that needs to be replaced to stop the flow of water.
Hot Water Units
Hot water unit leaks are most common on older hot water units. Often it’s connections to the valves that need to be tightened or replaced. Sometimes the hot water unit may need to be replaced as the inner tank has rusted and water will leak from the bottom. The water will continue to fill the leaking tank, drawing water from your water meter and costing you a bomb on your water bill. Get your local plumber to check your hot water unit every 3-5 years to ensure it’s running optimally and to check on potential leaks.
Leaking Toilet Cistern
A leaking toilet cistern is another fixture that will draw water to refill. If you notice water leaks into your toilet bowl or the cistern makes a filling or running sound every so often, you have a leak. The two common areas for a toilet cistern leak is with the cistern inlet valve and the black washer connecting the cistern to the toilet pan. Both will need to be replaced to fix the leak. While you could fix this leak yourself, there are so many toilet brands that require different inlet valves. It may be a time consuming job to find the right one. Delegate the job to your plumber to save your time, as they will know what to order in for your toilet.
Which of the common household water leaks have you had in your home?
If you’re looking for ways to save water around the home, check out 30 Ways to Save Water at Home