Water bill

We had our water meter read this January. I checked the reading and then was flabbergasted when the guy asked if we had done anything differently during the last year, had a pool installed for example. Our consumption over the last three years was between 68 and 75 cubic metres. This year it is 180 ! I have checked the reading on the meter constantly over the last ten days and established how much we use for the washing machine on the two different programmes we use, how much the toilet uses, a shower, you name it, I have checked it. The readings would suggest approximately 75 per year. There are no signs of leaks anywhere, there has been no tap left on, we turn off the hosepipe when we go away, we use water butts for the garden and we didn’t even grow anything on the veg plot last year. I wonder if the meter can be intermittent, seems unlikely. It is unlikely there is a leak from the road onto the garden as the pressure is the same and there is no evidence of water on the surface. If it was deeper underground then surely the pressure would be lower ? The water company say that if we don’t find a fault and get it repaired within four weeks then there is no chance of a refund . Any suggestion please ? We are already down to two weeks. Is there some major thing we have overlooked ?

Hi, well it seems to have been a leak from an external part on our boiler that was dripping silently probably for ages. Because it was linked to a piece of equipment, no insurance can help pay for the drastic water loss. Hope you get yours sorted.

Before we moved to France we lived in a fairly new block of flats and found the bills high. Could not find the water meter, Thames Water said it was by the main entrance to the flat. It wasn't it was in the pavement of the road behind. There were six meters down the hole and we easily worked out what one was ours by just turning the water on and off. Most other residents were out. We were paying for water from the wrong meter. No way to tell if we were overpaying or underpaying as had been going on since the flats were built.

No apology as such from Thames Water and apparently their contractors mix up the meters to individual flats a lot on installation with these new builds and they only check when they get a complaint. Wonderfool, no mistake! When we moved to another flat before moving to France double checked it straight away and it was OK.

We had a phenomenally high bill last time and found an old iron pipe had burst in the middle of the stone wall in a rear store where we hardly ever go. Cut off and capped as soon as it was found. Our meter was changed in March last year while we were back in the UK so we had no chance to read the meter and had to pay up on the RESE say so with absolutely no proof that their reading was correct.

The water pressure is also very high to such an extent that a new tap only installed weeks before, two years ago, exploded flooding the upstairs and living room. The core is plastic and all that was left were bits and pieces of white and blue plastic. I bought a pressure reducer but have not found the time to instal it yet, a must do really.

I have exactly the same problem. Have had estimated bills for the last few years which were around 100 euros a time. I thought this was excessive when we were only here a few weeks a year, so expected a nice fat refund when we had the meter read this time. Wasn’t expecting a 400euro bill. We haven’t been able to find a leak, but we did have a drip from our boiler which has now been fixed. I can’t see that such a small leakage would account for such a large bill, but because we have only had estimated bills I Don’t think I can do anything more than wait for the next bill and see if there is any difference.

Thanks for the suggestion but I can’t see that being possible given the situation of our house. I can ask the plumber anyway if anyone else could possibly being filtering off from our supply.

Just a thought, on our old meter there was a valve with a 3/4 BSP thread just after the meter possibly for draining down? One of our neighbors "accidentally" connected his hose to our supply a filled his bowser to use on his garden down the lane.

Don’t think so, but I can try the colour change test. Thanks. We have had a new toilet installed for about a year, but it is supposed to be using less than the previous one. One other loo is in the downstairs accommodation so is infrequently used, but when the water runs, the meter makes a noise so we can tell if there is a tap running. As you say it may be a very tiny trickle so I will try. Thanks !

Hi thanks for the response. What did you do to persuade them to consider it was the meter at fault ? How did you rule out any other problems in order for them to investigate and change it ? Do you know how it was faulty ? I am trying to look for erratic readings at the moment with the meter itself in mind. Also which water company are you with ? Ours is Lagun.

Hi there Pam,

just a thought, could it possibly be one of the toilets? We had something so similar a while ago in the uk and it turned out to be one of our flush buttons was a bit faulty, and there was an imperceptible trickle of water still running after every flush. We eventually sussed it and now back to our very low usage again.

SWW (the most expensive in the uk I believe) sent one of their calm the customer down chaps around during the investigations who tried to baffle us with statistics and reassured us that the last two ridiculously high readings were in fact normal - Ha.

I believe the easiest way to tell is to put some colorant into the cistern and if there is a problem then the water in the loo will slowly change colour. Anyway, all the best for a speedy resolution….

Sounds like you have a faulty meter , we had one a few years ago and they came and changed it , our charge was reduced to the more usual amount

No, we are opposite a field and there are no stop taps that I can see. Anyway it is a suggestion I can relay to the plumber. Thank you.

Thank you, Yes we used no water for 12 hours and the meter stayed the same. Although I take the other point and am still waiting for the plumber to come, he should have come last week, this week, hopefully next week…

Is the stop tap, up the drive near the road, if so, get a brush handle and put it on the top of the tap, and listen at the other end of the handle if there is any water running you will here it. Just make sure that no water is running in the house.

You say you haven't a leak but have you actually checked that from your meter. You would need to turn off all water using appliances from their isolation taps and read the meter then leave it for a couple of hours and read it again to see if there is a difference. You could also try it overnight or an afternoon if you happen to be going out. You may discover that there is a leak in a pipe that is hidden from your view like under the flooring, something like that. I did have that happen once it turned out to be under an outside paved area and although it wasn't a gushing leak over a period it made a noticeable difference to our bill.