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Discuss Help: Unexpected high water usage in the Plumbing Forum area at

  1. John768

    John768 New Member

    We usually use about 10 cubic meter of water every month.
    I received a phone call from my water company said that we used about 16 cubic meter of water per month in the last 6 month.

    So I monitor the water usage and it seems to be normal (1.2 units in 5 days)

    Then we went to holiday for 6 days and water meter went crazy! We used nearly 21 units in about 6 days when obvious no one used any water! I checked the tap, toilet, garden hose, wash machine, dish washer, central heating and no trace of water marker of leakage.

    I turned off the main valve in the house and the water meter didn't move at all.

    Now I am confused because the meter reading is so sporadic, any suggestions?
  2. Best

    Best Trusted Plumber

    Water meter might be faulty. Contact your local water authority to have them investigate it and replace meter.
    First though, check your push button toilets aren't overflowing down the bowls. Difficult to see, but wipe back of bowl with toilet paper and shine a torch in to see if stream of water running down inside.
    Also check any cold water tanks in your loft for overflowing when no water is being drawn off elsewhere in house. Ball valve could be faulty. Very common
  3. Chuck

    Chuck Active Member

    Three cubic meters a day leakage is a lot of water. If it was above ground or in the house you'd have noticed it.

    First check that none of you tanks has a 'hidden' overflow, e.g. that discharges into a gutter so it could be running without you noticing it. (Such arrangements don't comply with the regulations but do sometimes happen.)

    I've known this happen once when a garden tap in neighbour's garden was tee'd off the pipe between meter and house. (A very old installation dating from before the time water was metered.)

    Otherwise, have a look at the ground along the path the water pipe takes between the meter and house. Is there an area that seems surprisingly wet?
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. John768

    John768 New Member

    Hi Best, thank you for your reply.

    I called my water company and they say will give me a phone call back, still waiting.

    Checked toilet, no leaking found, side of toilet is dry.
    We have combi boiled in the house, no cold or hot water tanks.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  5. John768

    John768 New Member

    Thank you for your reply.
    We don't have tanks. I checked around the house and couldn't find any wet patches.

    Is there any possibility that the meter is faulty. Again, this is strange since sometimes the meter went crazy and sometimes it is normal.
  6. Best

    Best Trusted Plumber

    I have heard that water meters can be faulty. Haven't come across it myself though.
    Sporadic meter readings points to overflows from toilets or something, or faulty meter.
    Do gather all your research evidence on paper to show the water company your investigation
  7. Chuck

    Chuck Active Member

    Yes, it's possible, Best knows his stuff and wouldn't have suggested it if it were not, but it's rare and is not a great fit to your symptoms (faulty meters usually under-read).

    From your description, I think it is likely that you have a crack, split or puncture between the meter and the house. Whatever it is is clearly getting worse quite rapidly so you need to act.

    You want to rule out other cheaper possibilities first, and quickly.

    Some 'homeowner' insurance policies include cover for sorting out this type of problem. Check your policy.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  8. John768

    John768 New Member

    Thank you.

    The meter is inside the house.
  9. Chuck

    Chuck Active Member

    Hmm. Are there other dwellings in the same house building? E.g. if it is a semi, is it possible that the neighbour had some plumbing done and mistakenly connected into your pipework?

    Is there any evidence of damp? E.g. condenstation, damp smell?

    As I said, 21 cu metres of water is a lot to just disappear in a couple of days unless it is running down a drain.

    If you don't have any tanks, you must presumably have pressure relief valves. These should discharge into a 'tun dish' and should be noticeable but they may be hidden in an airing cupboard so you haven't noticed them.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  10. Best

    Best Trusted Plumber

    Has the house ever had the water pipes modified?
    Sometimes adding extensions to a house or to put a combi boiler in can alter the plumbing.
    I still remember being shocked to find a house with water full flowing into a sewer manhole outside and discovered it was somewhere from the original mains pipe below concrete which had been bypassed with a new plastic mains, but the old had been no doubt plugged.
  11. jtsplumbing

    jtsplumbing Plumber GSR

    Get the boiler checked ! may have a faulty plate heat exchanger, have a look at discharge pipe (Outside) see if its running
    • Like Like x 1
  12. John768

    John768 New Member

    I will look for the pressure relief valve.
  13. John768

    John768 New Member

    The kitchen was refurbished last year and all the pipes in the kitchen were rebuild during that time. But the sudden water usage increase after at least 12 months later.
  14. John768

    John768 New Member

    Our house is the end of terrace. The meter in the kitchen, so even if neighbour done something, it shouldn't affect my meter reading, is it right?

    No evidence of damp or condensation.

    I agree that 21 cu is quite a lot of water to disappear without much trace.

    Checked the condensation pipe, no sign of leak.

    Haven't found the pressure relief valve yet.
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
  15. Best

    Best Trusted Plumber

    Your boiler is a combi, so it will have a built in pressure relief valve, which should have a 15mm copper pipe exiting your property, normally through the wall to outside. Just check it isn't occasionally letting water out
    You probably won't have any other PRVs unless you have an unvented hot cylinder as an addition to your system.
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