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Water usage double my neighbour!

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Morning all :)

I'm looking for a bit of guidance on this if possible.

Just had my water bill from Anglian water and they have hiked my DD from £51 to £71 a month, a big hike, so have done some digging into the cause. We are based in Lincolnshire.

Having compared my water usage to my neighbours, it is nearly 50% more, we live in identical houses, they have 2 kids, one 15yr and one 9yr, whereas we have just a 6mnth old baby. They also have a hot tub outside in their garden!

Over a 6 month period, our Volume Used is 129 cubic metres according to my bill. Over the same period, my neighbours was 74.

Something not right?

We don't use more than what I would consider an average amount of water, we don't use any hose pipes, don't clean the cars at home, don't use the dishwasher much, so I'm concerned we may have a leak somewhere.

I'd always assumed we were unmetered, but the bill has actual meter readings on it so I was wrong there, so I would guess the bill is accurate.

Any thoughts on the best way to proceed? If there turns out to be a leak, I guess it would be an underground pipe and that I'm liable for any repair work which could be very costly.

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  • McKneff
    McKneff Posts: 38,840 Forumite
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    Has someone been coming to read your meter or have the water company been asking for meter readings from you.
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • Dan_Iggulden
    Dan_Iggulden Posts: 337 Forumite
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    They have never asked for a reading but the bill states the reading as being 'read', not estimated, so I assume someone came out to check it from the water board.
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,653 Forumite
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    edited 20 May 2015 at 10:46AM
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    Guessing isn't the answer. You need to read your own meter regularly to see how much you are using and when you are using it - waiting for the bill is too late, it's been used and you've got to pay. If you don't measure it you can't control it.

    How long have you lived there. When did you start getting bills from AW. One assumes that when you joined them you would (or should) have given them a reading. If you didn't then you could easily be paying for a previous tenants/owners water consumption before you got there.

    Firstly turn everything off in the house, washing machine, dishwasher, taps etc., don't let anyone flush the loo and then go and find your meter.

    Read the and make sure the little cog in the middle is perfectly stationary. Read all the digits and if poss estimate the positions of the pointers - take a photo if you can.

    See how long you can go without using water and go and read the meter/take a photo before you even flush a loo.

    The meter or pointers should not have moved. If any have or the little cog is rotating however slowly you've got a leak or something is using the water.

    You've then got to try and isolate any leak between inside the house or outside.
    Try turning off the main stopcock inside the house - the cog should stop - if it does then the leak is inside the house. If it doesn't then the leak is in the pipe between the meter and the house.

    If the leak is in the house then check all the toilets, tanks and taps carefully, see if any water is dribbling from overflows, down the back of the toilet bowls or dripping from taps.

    If the leak is outside then you'll have to investigate it, see if AW will check it for you, they might fix it, otherwise check your house insurance to see if it's covered.

    Assuming you don't have a leak then you've got to try and reduce your consumption. Try reading the meter at least weekly to see when it's being used.

    Take shorter showers or shallower baths - a five minute shower uses half the water of a 10 minute one. Fit flow restrictors to your shower and taps (AW give them away for free).

    Only use the washing machine & dishwasher when they are full, they use the same amount of water and energy as when they are partially loaded.

    Don't waste water by letting the tap run when washing, rinsing or even cleaning your teeth. Only use as much water as you need, don't overfill kettles etc.

    When cleaning cars or watering the garden use a hosepipe with a shut-off nozzle to avoid waste
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • Dan_Iggulden
    Dan_Iggulden Posts: 337 Forumite
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    Thanks for the response.

    I'm aware guessing isn't the answer, having only found this out this morning and being at work now, I am trying to arm myself with as much info before doing anything else!

    Have been in the property for 5 years and Anglian Water have always dealt with the supply. I have never been asked for a meter reading.

    I will do what you have suggested with the meter.

    Something to add, we have no internal stop !!!!. The property had an extension and new kitchen about 7 years ago (before we moved in) and somehow they managed to get rid of the stop !!!!.

    I have a Homeserve policy which covers water flow pipe and internal pipes so either way I'm hoping it will be covered, whatever the problem is.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply :-)
  • McKneff
    McKneff Posts: 38,840 Forumite
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    Is it saying on your bills.


    xx amount of water at xx amount per cubic xx


    I find it difficult to see that they haven't taken a reading and they havene actually asked you to take a reading.


    Do you have your original reading from when you moved in
    make the most of it, we are only here for the weekend.
    and we will never, ever return.
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,653 Forumite
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    edited 20 May 2015 at 11:18AM
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    AW don't usually ask for meter readings, they send out a little man about twice a year to read the meter (around April/May and Oct/Nov) and then they just send in a bill.

    I'm guessing that you've not really bothered much until now when the bill & DD has suddenly jumped and it's concentrated your mind a bit.

    As you seem to have a new baby then that could have a significant affect on your water consumption, more washing etc and Mum at home using more water during the day, especially if she was previously at work and the house was empty all day.

    You might find that your DD didn't actually cover your consumption last year if it increased significantly when the little one arrived so you might have some arrears to make up so they'll estimate your DD to cover that and to cover your increased usage.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • Dan_Iggulden
    Dan_Iggulden Posts: 337 Forumite
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    I would definitely expect the consumption to be higher, but not 50% higher than my neighbour who has two kids and at least one of them is at home all day.

    They obviously projected my usage for the year and it was higher than projected, hence my DD rising so much, but this doesn't add up to why my consumption is 50% higher than my neighbours. Based on my new bill, they are projected an annual bill just under £900, based on every I have read, this seems way too high.
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,044 Forumite
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    Over a 6 month period, our Volume Used is 129 cubic metres according to my bill. Over the same period, my neighbours was 74.

    Something not right?


    In a 3 person house(babies count!) the average UK consumption would be around 165m3 pa. So in 6 months 80-85m3.


    However it could be that previous bills were based on estimated meter readings and this is a 'catch-up' bill. So check this bill and see if any reading is Estimated - denoted by an 'E'.


    If not estimated follow the steps above to locate a possible leak.
  • Dan_Iggulden
    Dan_Iggulden Posts: 337 Forumite
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    Thanks to everyone for your help.
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,653 Forumite
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    We had a leak about two years ago. I only discovered it because I do read the meter regularly.

    Our consumption suddenly jumped by about 35 cu.m in a month - it was traced to a split in the underground pipe. The insurance company paid for the repair and AW credited me with about £120 for the lost water.

    Fortunately I discovered it before the drive or foundations were undermined - I now check the meter weekly rather than monthly and can see if there are any anomalies.

    We also have an automatic garden watering system which gets put on when we are away on holiday - a jump in consumption last year was traced to my 4 year old grandson having a tweak of the controls. Fortunately regular meter reading identified it before we lost more than 4 cu.m of water in a week.

    Our annual consumption is about 65cu.m a year and we are both at home all day. My DD is £25 a month.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
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