Has your water bill spiked when you’re pretty sure you haven’t used more water than usual? If so, you’re not alone. Charlotte water rates have increased, making it harder than ever to determine if high water bills are due to increased water usage, a hidden leak, a broken water meter, or if the rate increase is really just that expensive. We’re here to help you troubleshoot your water bill and determine what may be causing your water bill to increase.
Step 1: Take Into Consideration Changes in Charlotte Water Rates
As reported by WSOC TV, water rates are on the rise in Charlotte. In fact, they are on the rise in many cities, mostly because of fees.
A Channel 9 investigator used the example of a Charlotte resident that only used $7.90 worth of water but was charged $68 total. How is that possible? The accompanying fees (sewer usage fee of $22.55, water fees of $7.42, sewer fees of $11.84 and storm water fee of $11.28) added up to almost $60.
If your water bills have risen, the first thing to examine are your fees and recorded water usage. Compare these numbers to past bills (especially the corresponding month of last year, since water usage fluctuates throughout the year due to seasonal issues) to see if you are actually using more water or if you are simply paying more money because Charlotte has increased the fees. (To learn what you can do to fight water fee increases, read this article about rising Charlotte water rates.)
Step 2: Find Out if Your Water Meter is Broken
So… you checked this month’s bill against past bills and you’ve determined it’s not just that you are paying higher fees. Your water bill actually says you have used more water than you think is possible. The next step is to make sure your water meter is working properly because a broken water meter can result in high water bills.
To do this, you will need to locate your water meter (usually inside a metal, plastic, or concrete box connected to your supply pipe and close to the boundary of your property, in your front garden or in the footpath immediately outside your property). (Click here to watch our leak detection video that shows what your water meter will look like if you have a leak.)
Once you've located your water meter, turn off all water usage in your home, and then check to see if the dial is moving. If the water in your home is not being used, the dial on your water meter should not move. If the dial is moving, you’ve either got a leak or you’ve got a broken water meter.
Step 3: Call Your Utility Company or a Plumber
If your water meter’s dial is moving, call either the utility company (to have them check the meter and ensure it’s working properly) or a plumber to check the meter.
Common Causes of Hidden Leaks
When we respond to a call about a water bill spike, we always bring along state-of-the-art leak detection equipment that can detect leaks inside walls, under slab, and in hard-to-explore parts of your property. We can determine the precise location of a leak and can devise a repair plan that is the most effective solution to the problem.
Some common causes of hidden leaks are:
- Cracking of pipes due to heavy equipment
- Corrosion of older pipes, unmitigated high water pressure, or usage of caustic chemical drain cleaners
- Expansion and contraction of pipes due to weather fluctuations (cold, hot)
- Irrigation system leaks (watch out for the teenagers driving over your irrigation heads!)
- Frozen hose bibs during winter because hoses were not disconnected and/or drained
- Aging pipes made from substandard materials (click here to read about the growing piping material problem in Charlotte)
Need a Charlotte Area Plumber to Check Out That Water Bill Spike?
E.R. Services has provided leak detection services to a 30-mile radius of Charlotte since 1997. Give us a call or use our online contact form for help determining what caused your water bill spike and what you can do about it.
Quick question & answer: Does a water bill spike mean I have a leak?
A water bill spike is not necessarily indicative of a leak. Charlotte water rates are on the rise in many cities, largely because of fees. Check your water meter to make sure the dial is not moving when water usage is off. If it is, you have a leak or a broken water meter. A plumber can assist with this.