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High Utility Bill Checklist

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Helpful Questionnaire

This questionnaire can help you determine if there may be a legitimate reason for a higher than usual water bill, or if there are reasons to suspect a metering, plumbing, or billing issue. Please read through the questions in this guide. Start your investigation with the simple leak tests.

Simple Tests to Check for Water Leaks

Water Meter Check

  1. Make sure all the water faucets and water using appliances on the property are shut off.

  2. Inspect the water meter. Note the position of the needle on the dial. Take a photo with your phone if possible.

  3. Is the leak detector spinning on the meter? If yes, you have a leak.

  4. Inspect the inside faucets and outside spigots for drips.

  5. Re-inspect the water meter.

  6. Has the needle moved from the original spot (compare to photo in step 2)? If yes, you have a leak.

  7. The City can also check the meter if requested. Simply call our 24 hour Customer Service Call Center at 954-828-8000. Please indicate if you would like to be present.

Toilet Dye Test

Toilet leaks are a very common cause of high-water bills. Many times, you cannot hear the toilet running or leaking. Here is a simple way to check your toilets for leaks.

  • Take the top off the toilet tank.
  • Remove any cleaning agents that may color the water.
  • Flush to remove any cleaning agent color. Repeat if needed to ensure the water in the bowl is colorless.
  • Drop a few drops of any household food coloring into the tank as it fills to dye the water. You can also use powdered drink mix or instant coffee.
  • Do not flush the toilet.
  • Wait 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Check the color of the water in the toilet bowl. If the dye color is present in the bowl, you have a leak.
  • Check the tank. Is water going down the tank overflow tube? If yes, the fill valve is faulty. If no, the flapper is faulty.

Other Leaks

Not all leaks will be visible. They may be underground or only occur when the irrigation system is operating. Please consider all the following:

Does your water service feed anything else such as a boat dock, or an irrigation system?

Have you had any of the following items repaired or replaced recently?

  • Dishwasher;
  • Ice Machine;
  • Washing Machine;
  • Hot Water Heater;
  • Pool or Hot Tub; Has it been recently filled?  Does the pool have an “Auto-filler”?
  • Water Softener; Have you checked the cycle time? Does it flush continuously after regeneration?
  • Pipes in the home.

How many people in the household?

Did you have guests or extra people in your home?

Have you had any new landscaping or sod installed recently?

Does your lawn service have access to the irrigation timer?

Have you checked your irrigation system program to ensure it is properly scheduled?

Does it have a secondary schedule?

How many zones?

How many sprinklers per zone? Typical sprinkler heads deliver approximately 25 gallons per minute each.

Have you checked the system while it is running for leaks and missing sprinkler heads?  Are multiple zones running at the same time?

Do you water plants by hand?


If a leak is suspected, you should have your home inspected by a licensed plumber.

Leaks on irrigation systems are only detected when the system is operating and will not be indicated on the meter. Have the irrigation system inspected by a trained irrigation specialist. The irrigation system consumption can be calculated by turning off all household water use, taking a meter read, running the system through all the zones and rereading the meter.

Sometimes a high bill may simply reflect an increase in water usage as the result of watering the lawn or garden, filling a swimming pool, having students home from college or having guests in the house. Each person in the household uses approximately 2,000 to 3,000 gallons per month.

If you desire to have your water meter tested, please call 954-828-5150 during normal business hours for details.

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