Why was my water bill high?
Receiving a high water bill can be alarming, and we want to help you determine what might be the cause. There are several culprits that might be guilty of increasing your water usage and bill. Below are some tips and things to consider.
Are you using more?
Normally usage is 2,000 to 4,000 gallons per person a month. Irrigation usage should then be added on top of that.
Do you irrigate?
Irrigation can have a significant impact on a bill. When most of us irrigate at night and in the very early morning hours, we don’t really see how its functioning or when. An irrigation system should be checked each spring before use to make sure it was not damaged by frost or freezing.
Got a leak?
A small crack in an irrigation line can cause quite a bit of water to leak and can result in a high bill. Not all leaks are visible on the surface of your lawn. The limestone soil of central Texas can quickly wick away indication of an irrigation leak. Irrigation leaks are the most common and can waste from just a few thousand gallons to 300,000 gallons a month. The next most common culprit would be toilet leaks and water softeners. Silent toilet leaks can waste as much as 30 gallons a day to 6 gallons per minute.
Have you changed the batteries in your irrigation controller recently?
Many irrigation controllers have backup batteries in case there is an electric outage, retaining the schedule you set. If those batteries are old, that backup may not be working, and you could be irrigating at the wrong times. Also, ensure the schedule you set isn’t inadvertently running more than once. This is another culprit we see: The schedule and zones are correct, it’s just running twice.
Got a drippy faucet?
A dripping faucet can use up anywhere from 10 gallons to 200 gallons per day. A flowing faucet can use anywhere from 720 to 8,000 gallons per day. A leaking faucet is frequently the result of a bad rubber washer. The washer on a sink is typically located under the handle. A washer is relatively easy to replace with the right tools. It does require shutting off the water under the sink and removing the handle. Check local home centers or the Internet for help with how to repair faucet leaks.
A showerhead leaking at 10 drips per minute can waste more than 500 gallons of water per year. A leaky faucet that drips at the rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons per year.
Was a hose left on?
Perhaps you hand water and laid the hose done for a minute. Maybe you have kids who have played in the backyard with the hose. These are easy things to forget about but in a few hours can add thousands of gallons to your bill.
Will I be charged for a water main leak in my neighborhood?
No, customers are not billed the amount of water lost on a leak from a system water main in your neighborhood. When there is a water main leak, that water is lost from the system. The amount of water that you are billed each month is determined by your water meter, which measures the water flowing into the pipes in your house.
Do you water animals or livestock?
Livestock tanks can leak and/or pumps can overwork and flood the tank. Both can result in water loss.
What do I do?
If any of the above apply to you or you’re worried about a leak, here are some steps to take:
Read your meter
Take a reading on your meter and compare it to the read on your bill. The read you take should be more than what is on your bill. This will show that the water went through the meter.
The register on your water meter is much like the odometer of your car. As water gets pulled through it, the dials turn. It never resets or runs backwards.
Check your controller settings
Check your controller settings or have a maintenance check performed. The City of Georgetown also offers a variety of rebates for irrigations systems. Learn more about our water conservation rebates. Remember, no watering on Mondays.
Check for a running toilet
Fortunately, most toilet leaks are relatively easy to fix. In a properly functioning toilet, no water should move from the tank to the bowl unless the toilet is being flushed. A leaking toilet loses water from the tank to the bowl without being flushed.
Most toilet leaks are caused by a faulty valve (also known as “flush valve ball” or “tank stopper”). A flapper valve should be replaced every three to five years. Most hardware, plumbing and home improvement stores supply flappers. How to check for a leaky toilet flush valve (flapper):
- Carefully remove and set aside the tank lid (this water is clean until it enters the bowl)
- Add some food coloring or a dye tablet to turn the water a different color
- Put the tank lid back on
- Wait 15 minutes and do not flush
- If dye appears in the toilet bowl, the flapper valve in your toilet is leaking and should be replaced
The second most common type of toilet leak is caused by an improperly adjusted or broken fill (ball cock) valve. If the float is set too high or if the shut-off valve fails to close completely, water will continue to enter the tank and flow into the overflow tube. This type of leak can be seen simply by taking the tank top off and observing if water is flowing into the overflow tube once the tank is full.
If you have a leak
If a leak is discovered either by yourself, a plumber, a landscape technician, or a leak detection agency, we do have a process to credit your account back for any leaks over 15,000 gallons.
Contact our Customer Care team (firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 512-930-364) and let them know you have discovered a leak. They will start by sending you the Leak Adjustment application form that contains the process to follow.
Monitoring your use
Our water service territory is a large one and contains a variety of meter types. Those properties that are in or closer to Georgetown city limits may have a meter that reports hourly usage. If you have a meter that reports hourly usage, you can register your account with GUARD (the Georgetown Utility Analysis and Reporting Doorway) to track you water and energy usage on a daily basis. Registering your account in GUARD will allow you to view your usage for patterns to see when the water overuse is occurring.
For some types of meters, a technician may need to visit your neighborhood to access your usage data from your water meter. If you are unsure which water meter type you have, send us an email at email@example.com or call us at 512-930-3640.
Our customer service representatives can review your account and provide you with as much data as possible to help you troubleshoot your usage. You might also view our water rates to learn how we charge customers for water use.