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Almost everyone can relate to the sickening feeling of opening a bill and seeing a number that is significantly (or even astronomically) higher than you expected.

Sometimes high water bills are simply a consequence of higher-than-average usage. Other times, however, they can be a sign that something is wrong. If you find yourself confronted by an unusually high water bill, it may be a good idea to check to see if any of the following issues are present.

What Causes High Water Bills?

Your water usage can be affected by a number of factors outside of your actual water consumption. These include:

  • Leaks are the first thing you'll want to check for when investigating the reason for a high water bill. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), household leaks can account for almost a trillion gallons of water wasted each year. When checking for leaks, be sure to look for all potential sources, including toilets, showerheads, sprinkler systems, water heaters, filters, and pipes. Don't forget to check for dripping faucets and pipes, including the connectors between your building and the water main.
  • A Malfunctioning Toilet. If your toilet's flush mechanism isn't working properly, it can lead to the water in your toilet continually running. This can be caused by a few different problems, the most common being a leaky flapper or a float that is too high.
  • A Broken Water Softener. If you live someplace with hard water (which is the case for many parts of California) be sure to check on your water softener. Water softeners are programmed to periodically regenerate or flush themselves of the minerals they accumulate. Sometimes, however, water softeners get stuck in this regeneration cycle, and if that's the case they can waste a lot of water.

If you've been blindsided by a higher-than-normal water bill, we may be able to help. Call today to see if you're eligible for one-time per program year assistance to pay your overdue water bill, part of the federally-funded Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP).

Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Contact us to learn more about our services, or consider making a donation to support our work. We can't wait to work with you!