786,000 Gallons of Water

January 04, 2011

Chris and I were at the house last weekend when the doorbell rang.  It was the meter-reader.  He wanted to let us know that our water use for the past month was very high.  Which was very considerate of him, although a few months too late.  At that point we had just finished paying the plumber to fix the problem.  Allow me to recap...

As you may remember, last March we bought a house.  Well last June, our water bill suddenly skyrocketed.  We wrote that month off as the start of summer weather and waited to see the next bill.

When the bill came, Chris looked at it and about fell out of his chair.  He called the City.  The nice lady asked him for all his account information and asked why he was calling.  He replied, "well, if you take a look at our bill, I think you can guess why I'm calling."

"Let me just bring up your information, here." she said, cheerily.  There was a pause.

"Oh."  she said.  "Oh.  Yes, I do see why you're calling."

Of course, unless it's an issue with the meter, there's really nothing the City can do about it.  She gave us some common problems to look for and a couple of other helpful hints and wished us good luck.

The good news was, we found out it wasn't the pool or the pool plumbing or the water main or any of the other common problems.  We narrowed it down to overuse of the sprinkler system and possibly a faulty water softener.  The next bill was a quarter of what the previous bill was.  Problem solved.  We thought.

Over the next couple of months, the water bill slowly crept up again.  We would catch the meter spinning like crazy in the middle of the night when nothing was running in the house.  Finally, out of options and at wit's end, we called a plumber.

Diagnosis?  A leak under our foundation slab.  Solution?  Drill through the tile and the foundation, fix the pipe, and patch things back up again.  It's not cheap, but at the rate we're currently using water, a fix would pay for itself in three month's worth of savings on our bill.

So we did and it was fixed and now our next bill looks to be less than the taxes were on our previous bills.  Here comes the fun part.  Looking back over the past five months, we have used over 786,000 gallons of water.  That's a lot of water, right?  Now, would you like to see the size of our "leak"?

But maybe you can't get a real sense of this leak.  So here's another picture with an object for scale:

 That's right.  It is possible to lose over 8,000 gallons of water a day through a hole smaller than the size of a pea.

Now you know.  And so does our pocketbook.


Suzanne said...

that's crazy! so much water for such a little hole!