The first step is to make sure that it was read properly. Compare the current read on your bill to the first four numbers on your meter. If the read on the meter is higher than the read on the bill – your meter was read correctly.
Your next step is to check for leaks. First, rule out any obvious suspects. Do you have a faucet that has been dripping continuously for months, or did you fix a running toilet a couple weeks ago? Any kind of water leak will increase your water usage (and therefore your bill). Your meter can help you identify if you have a leak. Some of the newer meters have a leak detector that will clearly indicate if you have a leak.
With any type of meter you can do a three hour water test. At the beginning of a 3 - 4 hour stretch, write down all of the numbers on your meter even the ones after the decimal point. For the next 3 - 4 hours, refrain from using any water at the property, then look at your meter again and compare the numbers. If any of the numbers have changed, there is a leak somewhere on the property.
Water is a closed system. If everything is off the way it should be, nothing can move in the pipes. The meter can only register usage when water passes through it. If water is passing through the meter, it has to be going somewhere. Toilets are our biggest suspects.
If you’ve heard anything suspicious from a toilet – even if you think it’s nothing, there is a good chance that toilet is leaking. You can test your toilets by coloring the water in the tank (back) of the toilet. To color the water, use dye tabs (available from the Treasurer's Office at City Hall) or food coloring. After adding the color, leave that toilet alone for at least three hours. If after that time any of the color from the tank has leached into the bowl – that toilet is leaking.
If you have performed these tests and still can’t identify the problem, give us a call at 248-246-3160.