Receiving utility bills is part of the mundane life of an Ambler resident. But when you receive an unusually high water bill, you may even question the utility company’s credibility.

A household of four typically uses 4,000-5,000 gallons of water daily. So when your water usage shows 12,000 gallons, you need to check for leaks in your plumbing system.

Leaks in your pipes are the cause of such high bills. Read on to discover how to troubleshoot leaky problems and stop flushing your hard-earned bucks down the drain.

Number One Suspect: The Toilet

Toilet leaks are your number one enemy in reducing high water bills. The all-too-common plumbing problem can cost you an extra $2000 annually in water bills.

Old toilets, in particular, waste a lot of water. Their 5-32 liters per flush account for over 25% of the water usage in your home. Newer models have lower numbers of liters per flush. Toilet leaks are sneaky, and not hearing the drip does not necessarily mean you don’t have leaks. The leaks can be clear cut, such as a leaking faucet or a worn-out fixture.

Surprisingly enough, toilet leaks are easy to fix, but detection is a different ball game altogether. If you suspect your toilet has a hairline or visible leaks, it is time to do a self-check before calling in the big guns (plumbers).

How to Detect and Diagnose a Toilet Leak

The preliminary step would be to check your plumbing system. Check the crawl space and neighboring walls for dampness. If they are not damp, you are clear to proceed to the most likely culprit – the toilet.

Check the Flapper

A worn-out or faulty flapper is usually the number one culprit of toilet leaks. The flapper is the large rubber plug in the basement of the toilet tank. It can wear out due to reacting with chlorine present in the water.

A standard test to detect a flapper leak is a DIY dye test. Put colored die inside the water of your toilet tank. Observe the toilet bowl for about 15 minutes. If the dye decolorizes the water in the bowl, you have a faulty flapper. Flush the toilet to avoid staining the ceramic linings.

You can call a plumber to replace the flapper or buy another one and do it yourself, but make sure to bring along the exact model so everything fits the way it should. 

Check the Closet Flange

The closet flange is a round fitting connecting the toilet to the drainpipe. Two bolts firmly secure the closet flange and the fixture to the bathroom floor. Constant pressure and bolt weakening loosens the bolt and causes leaks.

Closet flanges are not so simple to repair. Improper fixing may cause smelly sewer gases and water regurgitation. It is best to call a professional for a closet flange leak.

Inspect the Inner Toilet Fixtures

Your toilet has different valves and rings that guarantee flushing and no drip when properly working. If there is a leak, the cause may be a faulty fill or flush valve.

The fill valve is on the water supply line and prevents tank overflow. When the water fills to a desirable level, the valve shuts. A faulty fill valve will cause tank overflow, and you can see the overflow as water from the tank spills through its opening.

A flush valve is at the fixture’s center and allows water to flow from the tank into the bowl and flush the waste. The flush valve opens when you raise the flush handle, allowing water to flow.

A wax ring or a rubber gasket seal has the same working principle. You may find either in your toilet, depending on the manufacturer. The ring is situated between the flange and the toilet. Continuous shifting of the toilet or a broken flange unseats the ring causing the leak at the fixture junctions.

Tip: Choose rubber gaskets over wax rings.

If the inner workings fail to work correctly, they cause leaks, contributing to the shocking water bill.


Other leaks may be the cause of your sky-high water bill. Underground leaks, faucet leaks, and broken meters contribute to the high water bill.

Inspection of your plumbing system from a qualified plumber will reveal the cause of the leak. If you are handy, you can use the DIY test to check for leaks.
Hire a plumber from PlumbPRO Services to save yourself some money in terms of water bills.