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  • FIRST POST
    llama79
    Extremely high water bill and a dripping tap...
    • #1
    • 15th Dec 13, 12:30 PM
    Extremely high water bill and a dripping tap... 15th Dec 13 at 12:30 PM
    Hi. I recently received a quarterly water bill from Yorkshire Water for 360. This was an estimated reading. I live with my partner in a rented 2 bedroom flat - we both work 40-50 hours a week each and don't use water excessively at all.

    Obviously I called Yorkshire Water regarding the bill and they said there may be an issue with the block of flats (built in 2009). They didn't go into detail about the issue, but said there may be a mix up with the meter. They said they'd send an engineer out to investigate the problem and they've put a freeze on the account until it's sorted out and would get back to me on the 19th of December.

    My first water bill was a metered reading at 90 - I called then and said that it seemed excessive, especially as I hadn't moved in from the start of the tenancy at the beginning of May (I moved in 2 weeks after getting the keys) and I was living alone until July. They said to look for leaks. At this point I just paid up the money and thought...well, I must've just been using a ton of water! I checked for dripping taps, leaks near the bath, under the sink, the toilet etc...everywhere I could think of and didn't find anything. We've been extremely frugal with our water usage since that first bill.

    Roll on to today. I was in the kitchen making myself a cuppa and I notice the tap is dripping every 8 seconds or so. I tightened the taps and it didn't stop.

    We don't spend a lot of time in the kitchen...well, I cook in there and we'll wash up or use the dishwasher, but we spend our time in a separate room where we wouldn't even hear a tap dripping usually. As I said, when I initially checked the tap it wasn't leaking at all and I didn't really think to check it again. Even after the second bill and they said there is probably an issue with the meters I didn't think a leak would be the issue so I didn't investigate a leak further.

    I've been catching the drips in a measuring jug and in 30 minutes I've collected just over 40ml of water. Now I'm panicking! I'm going to phone my landlord tomorrow to tell them about the bill, the dripping tap etc.

    I'd just like some advice on what could happen now. As I didn't notice the tap dripping until now, is it classed as my fault? Will I have to stand to the huge bill that I really can't afford? Is the landlord at all to blame? Is there anything I should/shouldn't be doing now? If I do have to pay this mammoth bill, I just don't know how we'll cope. Money is tight as it is. This is my first rented place (apart from uni accommodation) so I just don't know what to expect.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm sorry for the essay of a post!
Page 1
    • notbritishgas
    • By notbritishgas 15th Dec 13, 12:57 PM
    • 2,095 Posts
    • 956 Thanks
    notbritishgas
    • #2
    • 15th Dec 13, 12:57 PM
    • #2
    • 15th Dec 13, 12:57 PM
    There are 1,000,000 ml in a cubic metre. I have worked out (hopefully correctly) that at 40ml every 30 minutes your leak from the tap would take 520 days to use 1 cubic metre of water.
    So I do not think that is the reason for the high bill.
    You say the bill was estimated, have you taken an actual reading to see how accurate the estimate was?
    It is also quite possible that the wrong meter is linked to your account, have you actually looked at the meters to find out which one supplies your property.
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 15th Dec 13, 1:05 PM
    • 27,382 Posts
    • 13,401 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #3
    • 15th Dec 13, 1:05 PM
    • #3
    • 15th Dec 13, 1:05 PM
    40ml n 30 mins, so 80ml an hour.


    So in 24 hours 1.92 litres.


    In a year 700 litres - so a cost of less than 2 a year; therefore the leak isn't the cause of your high bills.


    The 'mix-up with the meter' is probably that you are not being charged for the correct meter! i.e. the meter they think is for your flat isn't the correct one.


    This happens quite a lot, and isn't the water companies fault. The water company are told by the builder/developer which meter feeds each flat and builder gets it wrong.


    So you are paying for another flat's water - and vice versa.


    It is fairly easy for you to check. Get someone to watch your meter while you switch taps on and off - you will see the end(red) dial moving when water is running.
  • llama79
    • #4
    • 15th Dec 13, 1:12 PM
    • #4
    • 15th Dec 13, 1:12 PM
    Just under 100ml for an hour now, so I guess you're right. I'll still get the leak sorted though!

    The meter is outside the property in a box...honestly, I don't know if I can read it. There appears to be 2 things in there; a meter and a tap type thing? One doesn't have any numbers on it and the other says, "Can you smell gas? Call this number" so I assumed it was a gas meter. The water company wanted me to read the meter myself, but I told them I didn't know where it was. They said it's in a box located outside the flat, but this is the only box I can see. There's a pipe leading up to my flat from this box, so I'm really unsure where else it could be.

    I just took a picture of the box - http: //imgur.com/zXw3g8V

    I had to post spaces or it wouldn't let me post a link, sorry!

    The other thing that the water company said is that they registered NO water being used while the flat was empty.
  • mart.vader
    • #5
    • 15th Dec 13, 3:05 PM
    • #5
    • 15th Dec 13, 3:05 PM
    40ml n 30 mins, so 80ml an hour.

    So in 24 hours 1.92 litres.

    In a year 700 litres - so a cost of less than 2 a year; therefore the leak isn't the cause of your high bills.

    The 'mix-up with the meter' is probably that you are not being charged for the correct meter! i.e. the meter they think is for your flat isn't the correct one.

    This happens quite a lot, and isn't the water companies fault. The water company are told by the builder/developer which meter feeds each flat and builder gets it wrong.

    As I've explained before, Cardew, the Developer/builder typically runs one pipe to each flat with a plastic cap on it. This enables the builder to check for leaks. The Water Co send a tech along to find out which pipe feeds which flat, and remove the plastic caps, fit the meters, record the serial numbers etc. Mistakes DO happen and in this scenario, it is the Water Cos fault..

    So you are paying for another flat's water - and vice versa.

    It is fairly easy for you to check. Get someone to watch your meter while you switch taps on and off - you will see the end(red) dial moving when water is running.
    Originally posted by Cardew
    The rest of your post is OK.

    The picture the OP posted is, of the GAS meter.
    Last edited by mart.vader; 15-12-2013 at 3:09 PM.
  • llama79
    • #6
    • 15th Dec 13, 6:01 PM
    • #6
    • 15th Dec 13, 6:01 PM
    Yeah, I was sure it was the gas meter, but I can't find any other boxes outside the property that might contain the water meter. I'll have to ring the landlord and find out.

    Thank you so much for the information anyway, guys. It's put my mind at ease for now! Hopefully it'll be resolved soon.
    • macman
    • By macman 15th Dec 13, 10:32 PM
    • 42,022 Posts
    • 17,466 Thanks
    macman
    • #7
    • 15th Dec 13, 10:32 PM
    • #7
    • 15th Dec 13, 10:32 PM
    Yeah, I was sure it was the gas meter, but I can't find any other boxes outside the property that might contain the water meter. I'll have to ring the landlord and find out.

    Thank you so much for the information anyway, guys. It's put my mind at ease for now! Hopefully it'll be resolved soon.
    Originally posted by llama79
    It's not in a box if outside-it's probably in a recess in the pavement, accessed by a small circular metal hatch. Water pipes are underground until the enter the property.
    If you thought the gas meter was the water meter, then it seems that you don't submit gas meter readings very often-these should be done at least every 3 months to avoid big catch-up bills.
    Last edited by macman; 15-12-2013 at 10:34 PM.
    No free lunch, and no free laptop
    • Cardew
    • By Cardew 16th Dec 13, 8:08 AM
    • 27,382 Posts
    • 13,401 Thanks
    Cardew
    • #8
    • 16th Dec 13, 8:08 AM
    • #8
    • 16th Dec 13, 8:08 AM
    As I've explained before, Cardew, the Developer/builder typically runs one pipe to each flat with a plastic cap on it. This enables the builder to check for leaks. The Water Co send a tech along to find out which pipe feeds which flat, and remove the plastic caps, fit the meters, record the serial numbers etc. Mistakes DO happen and in this scenario, it is the Water Cos fault..
    .
    Originally posted by mart.vader

    If that is now standard procedure, then indeed it is the water company's fault.


    That wasn't the procedure when I bought a new build flat in London some 15 years ago.


    Possibly the system you describe was introduced because of the frequent C*** Ups with water and gas/electricity meters in blocks of flats.


    It is also pertinent to add that sometimes the building manager/developer marks the meters (Flat 1, Flat 2 etc) for the benefit of occupants and can get it wrong.
    Last edited by Cardew; 16-12-2013 at 8:10 AM.
  • mart.vader
    • #9
    • 16th Dec 13, 1:09 PM
    • #9
    • 16th Dec 13, 1:09 PM
    If that is now standard procedure, then indeed it is the water company's fault. This is not new procedure

    That wasn't the procedure when I bought a new build flat in London some 15 years ago. It was Thames Water's standard procedure in London 15 years ago. AFAIK it still is - don't know why it didn't happen in your case.

    Possibly the system you describe was introduced because of the frequent C*** Ups with water and gas/electricity meters in blocks of flats. Yes, there were such frequent C*** ups by the developers, so Thames Water, at least, took it over. As the developer / builder is long gone when the first bill hits the mat, he won't care much, but the Water co have a vested interest in getting the right flat metered, as they derive their revenue from it.

    It is also pertinent to add that sometimes the building manager/developer marks the meters (Flat 1, Flat 2 etc) for the benefit of occupants and can get it wrong.Yes, that's why the Water Co should take no notice of building manager/developer's markings, and work it out themselves !
    Originally posted by Cardew
    Despite the above, C*** ups still take place and stay undiscovered until someone (the consumer) notices.
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