Extremely High Water Bill

midcenturymodSeptember 29, 2010

I got my bill from East Bay MUD and was shocked when it said I used an average of 1300 gallons per day, up from last year's 61 (which I still think is kinda high, actually). That's 80,000 gallons for a two month period! Even so, $400 for that much water is kinda cheap, really.

I live alone, and I think I'd notice if someone or something were using that much water. I have no irrigation, no swimming pool, I don't even wash my hair every day. No one around here has a swimming pool either.

They came out to check the meter and said it was a correct reading and right now I'm averaging 106 gallons per day. The meter was not moving so there are no leaks. No one has touched any plumbing. I can hear it when the water is running, since the house supply valve is next to my front door.

Did a 1300 gallon per day leak suddenly fix itself? I think it's a scam. Their phone system, which I've been on since starting this post, just hung up on me. Here's another person who had the same thing happen to her:


Any ideas?

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A single toilet can waste well over 1,000 gallons of water a day in 2 scenarios:
1. Float shutoff valve is faulty and continues to fill water into the overflow tube even after the tank is full
2. Flapper valve sticks open and the tank won't fill because the water runs into the bowl. Or the flapper doesn't seal properly and the bowl keeps refilling every few minutes.

Either of these problems can occur intermittently, so you may not have noticed. Monitor your toilets closely each time you flush. Listen to them fill and shut off. Open the tank and look inside as you flush to watch the working parts. Does the flapper ever catch on the chain? Is the water level all the way to the top of the overflow tube when the tank fills completely? Do you ever hear the toilet fill itself a little bit for no reason? If any of those occurr this can waste an incredible amount of water.

Once you rule out the toilets, you can pursue the utility company for a refund.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 6:57PM
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1. They changed the meter and somehow screwed up the numbers.
2. they mixed up your meter with a neighbors.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 10:01PM
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Steady. You will prevail in the end. Something's obviously wrong. They'll get it before its over.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2010 at 10:25PM
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I will agree with aidan_m (above) that a simple little toilet leak may cause more financial grief than you would expect.

This is usually caused by a worn out flapper valve or faulty fill valve. Either way, these are very inexpensive items that you can easily change yourself in 15 minutes or less.

By a Fluidmaster 400A and a universal flapper (unless you have a unusual toilet) and follow the directions on how to change.

If anything, you toilet will benefit from a nice tune-up.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2010 at 11:28AM
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When EBMUD came out, no water was running! That's what's so confounding--a 1,300 gal/day flow stopped without me doing a thing, except I'm still 40gal/day over my average, but that could be the carry over from the flowing period.

So there's no leak now, and I simply can't imagine someone stealing that much water without me knowing it. They would have had to do it from the front of my house.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 11:59PM
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Put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank and watch the bowl to see if the color shows up.

If the color gets into the bowl, and it may take a while, then the flapper is leaking.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2010 at 12:31AM
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what was your meter reading 6 months ago? and today? the city keeps track of monthly/yearly usage. there should be a meter reading from 1yr ago, 9 months ago, 6 months ago and so on. mine is billed every 3 months. have the city tell you what the reading was for each billing period for the last year?

    Bookmark   October 14, 2010 at 5:17PM
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