My Water Bill Doubled This Month, There Must Be A Leak

My Water Bill Doubled This Month, There Must Be A Leak

 Every homeowner, at some point, receives a water bill and realises that in one month the Rand value has doubled, tripled or more. From personal experience, the feeling of receiving a largely increased bill is heart dropping.

The increase in your water bill means that water is being used excessively. If the homeowner cannot account for the excess water – extra watering of the garden, house guests or filling of the swimming pool – there is either a burst pipe somewhere on the property or one of the amenities is not functioning correctly.

The starting point of the investigation is the water meter. A simple inspection of the water meter, specifically the numbers on the meter and if they are turning, will determine if there is indeed a leak. Remember to make sure the washing machine is not running and all taps are turned off before inspecting the meter.

 If the meter is turning the next place(s) to investigate are the toilets. A running toilet(s) continuously uses water 24 hours a day.

While that might not seem like a lot of water, you must remember that JHB water charges its customers on a sliding scale. As each step on the scale is reached, the cost per kilolitre increase substantially. An example of the rates from the City of Johannesburg reveals that increases in prices occur regularly throughout your usage and continue throughout the month.

City of Johannesburg – sliding scale rates

If the toilets are not running and the meter is turning then it stands to reason that there must be a burst pipe somewhere on the property. Sometimes the water is visible to the naked eye but most times a leak detection is required to find the burst pipe’s location.

Leak Detection:

There are a number of ways that leak detection can be carried out but the most common way is gas detection. A non-toxic gas is pumped into the water reticulation system and then the leak detector uses a sniffer machine to detect gas output. Where the machine sniffs gas is (most of the time) where the leak is.

Pipe Repair:

 Water pipes are usually located in the ceiling cavity, walls or underground. Once the leak is exposed the pipe is either repaired or replaced.

Note: See our post on different pipe materials for more information on burst pipes, and the implications of burst pipes on each type of piping material.

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