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Investigate Larger than Average Bills

JD shared a story last week about how their winter heating bill increased 50% [3] compared to last year. Unfortunately for him, the increase wasn’t large enough to raise any red flags. He only did a post-mortem calculation but in looking back he saw energy use had increased 30% and the cost has only increased 50%.

He says it was a “lot more energy” but if it were me, I wouldn’t have noticed even if I was checking my bills as it was happening. I would’ve attributed the increase in energy costs to fuel being more expensive and it being a colder winter. I know I wouldn’t have noticed. That being said, higher than average bills are usually a sign that something is wrong.

In Maryland, we pay the county every quarter for water. Despite all our conservation efforts, the quarterly cost always seems to be around $50 a quarter (more in the summer). Fortunately for consumers (unfortunately for Mother Earth), water is cheap so our bill rarely deviates by more than a few dollars. A few years ago, my friend discovered that his water bill was over a hundred dollars! (the equivalent of nearly 15,000 gallons of water).

He knew something was wrong. He lived in a house with two roommates but he knew his water bill shouldn’t have been so high. At the time, we had heard a story about someone who discovered a water man break outside their house (it was underneath the sidewalk!) so he was afraid that was the cause. After searching high and low, he discovered the culprit was a poor seal in the toilet tank. It was constantly leaking water out of the tank and into the bowl, like a faucet drip for an entire quarter.

If you have a large bill, try to find the culprit because you may discover something more serious.

(Photo: andrewk100 [4])