Thames Water bill high- no sign of leak, suggestions?

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ARainyDay
ARainyDay Posts: 48 Forumite
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edited 25 August 2021 at 6:34AM in Water bills
Good morning all

I've recently moved into a flat with a water meter, having spent my past years in unmetered houses, so this is all a bit new to me.

I've been taking meter readings and they seem unusually high. There's myself & my partner in the flat- he works from home and I am out all day. We don't have a dishwasher, use washing machine once a week, no garden sprinkler, both only shower but not every day etc, but it showing that we're using 1m3 of water nearly every 2 days. I've checked and I'm reading the meter correctly. I've done the toilet food colouring and tissue paper on pan test and there's no leak. Yesterday when we were both out for a walk and no water was used the meter didn't move. Last night I turned off the internal stop !!!! and again this morning it hasn't moved. This would indicate there isn't a leak, but I can't seem to make sense of the water useage.I have a dual flush toilet- when I press the small button both buttons go down, but surely this wouldn't mean I'm getting doubly charged for both "flushes"? Only being able to see 2 x red digits on the meter I can't work out to the exact L, but it seems it's taking about 10L per flush. I've been watching our water consumption and really can't think we're using that much... could it be possible that we have a leak that only appears when water is being run? 
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  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,822 Forumite
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    According to this report the average UK water consumption is 141 litres per person, per day. If you were an "average" 2-person household you'd be using 1 cubic metre every three or four days.
    A full toilet flush has always been nine or ten litres (two gallons in old language). Modern toilets use a bit less, perhaps six litres.
    Perhaps you could share some of your meter readings so we can make a more accurate estimate?
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
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  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,038 Forumite
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    It would appear that you are using about 50% more than the average consumption.

    It often takes people some time to adapt from living in unmetered properties. Small things like running the tap all the time when brushing teeth can add up. For two people having a dishwasher is usually cheaper than 'manual' washing up - especially if you wash up after every meal.




  • ARainyDay
    ARainyDay Posts: 48 Forumite
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    Hi both, thanks for the reply. I do agree Cardrew, it does take time to adapt but I'm really struggling to work out where the water is going (we only do 1 x wash up at the end of the day as I eat in work. This morning the meter was 1484.48/9 (the digit was halfway between 8 and 9. After flushing the toilet 3 times, taking a very short shower and boiling a 1.75L kettle once it came to 1484.54 which makes sense to me if each flush is  roughly 10L. I then left for work and asked my other half to make an exact log of water usage- 4 x toilet flushes, 4 x washing hands and 3-4 times running the kitchen tap approx 4-5 seconds each time. I then checked the meter and it's now 1484.63. I can't understand how this has used 90L- even with 40L given over to the toilet that's still 50L unaccounted for. Any thoughts?
  • daveyjp
    daveyjp Posts: 12,592 Forumite
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    Put a litre bottle of water in the cistern.

    If its yellow let it mellow, if its brown flush it down!
  • ARainyDay
    ARainyDay Posts: 48 Forumite
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    I will add a water bottle to the cistern, but I'm just wondering where the other water is going to? Is it possible to have a leak which only happens when the water is running? Or could I be paying for a portion of my neightbours water?
  • matelodave
    matelodave Posts: 8,620 Forumite
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    It's possible that the toilet cistern is overflowing either into the bowl or via an external overflow. Likewise have you got a tank in the loft, some houses have two, one for the cold water supply to the bathroom and one for the central heating. Check the overflow pipes.

    If you've confirmed that there's no water used when the internal stopcock is turned off (which eleminates leaks between the meter and the stopcock) do the same test with everything shut off, except the internal stopcock - read the meter and go out for the day. If the meter increments then you must have a leak somewhere.or someone else is using it.

    It really is a process of elimination, isolating parts of the system until you find out where its going.
    Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large numbers
  • QrizB
    QrizB Posts: 13,822 Forumite
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    I wouldn't bother adding a bottle to the cistern, it sounds as though it is working as designed and reducing the flow may result in you having to double-flush.
    By any chance do you have a water softener or reverse osmosis filter? Those can use water unexpectedly.
    There was another post here recently from a flat-occupier where a neighbour's bathroom sink had been plumbed into their supply, possibly by accident. If you can't find asny other souece for your leak, try turning the water of for a day and then ask if anyone else has lost their supply?
    How easy is it to read your meter? Mine's in the street so it's a pain but if yours is easy, you could try reading it hourly one day (or leave your OH instructions) to see whether the "leak" is strady or intermittent?
    N. Hampshire, he/him. Octopus Go elec & Tracker gas / Shell BB / Lyca mobi. Ripple Kirk Hill member.
    2.72kWp PV facing SSW installed Jan 2012. 11 x 247w panels, 3.6kw inverter. 30MWh generated, long-term average 2.6 Os.
    Taking a break, hope to be back eventually.
    Ofgem cap table, Ofgem cap explainer. Economy 7 cap explainer. Gas vs E7 vs peak elec heating costs.
  • Cardew
    Cardew Posts: 29,038 Forumite
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    ARainyDay said:
    Hi both, thanks for the reply. I do agree Cardrew, it does take time to adapt but I'm really struggling to work out where the water is going (we only do 1 x wash up at the end of the day as I eat in work. This morning the meter was 1484.48/9 (the digit was halfway between 8 and 9. After flushing the toilet 3 times, taking a very short shower and boiling a 1.75L kettle once it came to 1484.54 which makes sense to me if each flush is  roughly 10L. I then left for work and asked my other half to make an exact log of water usage- 4 x toilet flushes, 4 x washing hands and 3-4 times running the kitchen tap approx 4-5 seconds each time. I then checked the meter and it's now 1484.63. I can't understand how this has used 90L- even with 40L given over to the toilet that's still 50L unaccounted for. Any thoughts?

    You have used 140litres between getting up(1484.49) and returning from work(1484.63)

    7 x toilet flushes uses 50% of that consumption(70 litres)

    The other 70 litres covers a shower, 4x washing hands, 3-4 times running kitchen Tap.

    Have you forgotten anything? did you wash hands after morning toilet use? Either clean your teeth? did your partner not shower /wash/shave today? etc etc.
  • ARainyDay
    ARainyDay Posts: 48 Forumite
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    Cardew said:
    ARainyDay said:
    Hi both, thanks for the reply. I do agree Cardrew, it does take time to adapt but I'm really struggling to work out where the water is going (we only do 1 x wash up at the end of the day as I eat in work. This morning the meter was 1484.48/9 (the digit was halfway between 8 and 9. After flushing the toilet 3 times, taking a very short shower and boiling a 1.75L kettle once it came to 1484.54 which makes sense to me if each flush is  roughly 10L. I then left for work and asked my other half to make an exact log of water usage- 4 x toilet flushes, 4 x washing hands and 3-4 times running the kitchen tap approx 4-5 seconds each time. I then checked the meter and it's now 1484.63. I can't understand how this has used 90L- even with 40L given over to the toilet that's still 50L unaccounted for. Any thoughts?

    You have used 140litres between getting up(1484.49) and returning from work(1484.63)

    7 x toilet flushes uses 50% of that consumption(70 litres)

    The other 70 litres covers a shower, 4x washing hands, 3-4 times running kitchen Tap.

    Have you forgotten anything? did you wash hands after morning toilet use? Either clean your teeth? did your partner not shower /wash/shave today? etc etc.
    Opps yes rightly pointed out. (The shower took 30L- I checked the meter before and after). My partner showered at the gym in the morning. I would've washed my hands twice, and we both brushed our teeth- with water not running. But even that activity wouldn't account for the water usage. We're going away on Sunday- I'll do a meter reading before and after return to double check again. 
  • sebtomato
    sebtomato Posts: 1,109 Forumite
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    edited 2 September 2021 at 6:12PM
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    Could be the wrong meter assigned or a shared supply with another flat. That's what happened to me. Thames Water installed a smart meter and it helped finding out what was the issue, as you get the water usage day by day on their website.
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