Why was my utility bill high?

If you've received a bill that seems unusually high, there could be a number of reasons. Consider the following to help determine why:

1. Your bill includes a graph of your water consumption for the past 12 months.  Does the consumption seem normal compared to the previous billing period or the same billing period last year?

2. Has the amount of water you've been using changed?  Have you had house guests for an extended period of time?  On average, a person uses 40-80 gallons of water per day.  See How Much Water Do I Use Daily for more details.

3. During the summer months, watering your lawn more frequently is the most common reason a bill can be high. Running your sprinkler for just one hour can use 400 gallons of water. If you use a hose to water, did you forget to go back out and turn it off?

4. There could be a leaking faucet or a running toilet in your home.  Check for a possible leak by turning off everything in the house and then going out and looking at the water meter.  It should not be moving at all.  If it is moving, you have a leak somewhere in your house. (See It's Only a Small Drip...Right? for more information on checking for common water leaks.  See How Much Water is Lost? to find out how small leaks can lead to big trouble.)

5. Did you fill a swimming pool with a garden hose?  Or maybe use a pressure washer to clean the deck and driveway? At four gallons per minute, pressure washing for four hours can use 960 gallons of water. 
  1. How Much Water Do I Use Daily?
  2. It's Only a Small Drip...Right?
  3. How Much Water is Lost?
Daily Water Usuage