Ask Pete: Why Is My Water Bill So High?

Homeowners like to stay on top of typical home expenses and are very alert to sudden surges in expenses that can hurt our budgets. All of us here in Arizona are aware of the surge in Air Conditioning costs in the summer (unless you are on the year-round plan) but why would your water bill suddenly increase? And what can you do about it? Let’s go to the expert and Ask Pete:

Ask Pete: Why Is My Water Bill So High? 

A lot of things can affect your water bill, but they fall into a few categories. One is a “breakdown” problem where something has gone wrong with your plumbing, and another type is when your usage gradually increases over time because other things are going wrong causing more water usage. 

We can go through examples of these, but basically one is a sudden type of problem, and the other is a more gradual degrading that causes the family to use more water to get the same effect. 

Then, of course, you may just have added a water hog to the family! Teenagers and gardeners are the suspects in that case. 

Talking about the kind of thing you might need a plumber for though, those are things like a broken pipe, a broken meter, a running toilet that doesn’t respond to a quick home fix and we can definitely help you find the culprit in that case.

A gradually increasing water bill that you realize doesn’t seem right can also be caused by things like a buildup problem with your water heater. Sometimes, if the water doesn’t heat up quickly, family members are waiting for the water to get hot before they even get in the shower, or start filling the tub.

The toilet is our largest consumer of water, about 20- 30% of total water use. Then outdoor watering is the next biggest consumer using about another 30%. Taking showers usually uses between 11-15 percent, but it is also one of the easiest adjustments you can make to how you and your family use water. 

Your average showerhead uses about 2 and a half gallons of water a minute so an 8-minute shower (the American average shower time) uses 20 gallons of water. If you have a shower hog, you can see how that will add up fast! A 20-minute shower is going to use up to 50 gallons of water. Quite a lot more than people think, usually. 

A malfunctioning system, like a running toilet, or buildup in the water heater, or even a  leak anywhere in your system can add up over time. Something like a major intrusion into your plumbing system will make your bill skyrocket since it can use up hundreds or even thousands of gallons in a short time. You wouldn’t miss a big surge like that, but even minor leaks or issues can cost you money. We are happy to come out and help you solve any of these issues, no problem, just give us a call.

Sometimes people think it must be the water meter that has gone haywire, but truthfully, they don’t work that way. If they are old, they can undercount, but mechanical meters can’t read higher than usage, so do call for help if you are surprised by the meter reading.

So, those are the main causes and things to look for. Your best protection against these kinds of problems is prevention.  So reach out to Phend Plumbing to check out your systems or to address any problems you are experiencing. We are here to help. You can learn more about us at and call us at 480-388-6093.