If you recently got a big increase in your property’s water bill, time to be a detective as multiple factors are in play.
- Are there unauthorized occupants?
- Anybody operating a business on the premises such as: car wash, hair salon, etc.?
- Are there broken sprinkler pipes or heads? Ask your gardening service to check.
Your leases should have language about tenants notifying you of any plumbing leaks, broken sprinkler valves, etc. but not all leaks are obvious.
Next step is to ask your plumber to do a leak test. An initial water meter reading will be taken and then another one 20 minutes later after requesting tenants not to use any water. If the readings are not the same something is leaking.
The most common source of leaks in residential plumbing is inside the toilet tank. There may be leaks around the flapper plug or at the top of the tank around the overflow tube. Your plumber can determine what might need adjustment or replacement. This is an inexpensive repair but if the toilet tank is leaking your water bill can increase exponentially.
Best practices: change out flappers with every turn and when plumbers do any repair on occupied units advise them to check all fixtures for leaks and make sure all angle stops are functional.