See the picture below. If you came home to find a notice like this on your door you’ve got questions and understandably some concerns.
Relax, this is routine and quite simply the water company attempting to notify you that compared to your average usage it’s gone up exponentially. Although there are many reasons that can factor into this, we’ll share with you here the top three reasons that most likely exist. (Based on 20+ years of field experience).
1) Your main underground water service pipe leading from the water meter to the home has sprung a leak and is leaking into the earth. Your options are to repair or replace. There are pros & cons to both options and the solution will vary depending on your budget & expectations. Generally speaking: repairs can end up as expensive temporary band aids while a proper replacement will ensure decades of trouble free service. Contributing factors include, but are not limited to: the age & material of the existing pipe and the location & depth of the leak.
2) The irrigation (sprinkler) system is leaking. If connected properly, your sprinkler system T’s into or off of your main underground water service pipe. The sprinkler system then runs through an approved back-flow preventer and then goes off to serve the various zones or sprinkler heads.
3) A malfunctioning or “running” toilet is draining excessive amounts of water down the main sewer drain. Second to this is a faucet that is continuously dripping or leaking. This cause of excessive water usage is the least likely prompting a notice of increased water usage. (Again, this based on our experience). It’s our contention that if a faucet was dripping and/or a toilet was running enough to prompt the notice – you’d probably know it! Generally when a faucet or toilet is broken to that extent people are aware and setting out to get it fixed before a whole billing cycle comes and goes.
You have options and choices either way. Dozens of times we have visited a homeowner expecting to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars only to find that simply turning off the sprinkler system will stop the leak and buy some time to get control of the situation rather than the situation being in control of you.