Leaks can lead to high billing

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Cierra Pryor
The Williamston Post

Jason Hill first noticed his high water bill in November 2015. He figured it was a mistake, or a case of his kids having more fun than usual in the water.

Hill grew concerned once he noticed a pattern for the next two to three  months, as bills continued charging way above his family’s average.

“Once I received the bill for the next three months, it was just about the exact same as the first one that caught my attention,” said Hill. “After that I told my wife, Rebecca,  that we may need to call this in to see what’s going on.”

Hill said they have had leaks before in their plumbing and made sure they were fixed, but they may be back.

“Piping in our home has been an issue in the past,” said Jason. “We’re calling our plumber again because, sadly to say, we may have another leak.”

Another couple, this one without children, were also surprised by a huge water bill increase.

Joe and Carol Shelby said they came home on a Wednesday night fresh off a two-week vacation to discover a monthly water bill that was $100 higher their average.

“Shocked isn’t even the word as to how I felt when I saw that bill,” said Joe Shelby, 29. “I mean, we’ve been gone for two weeks and no one hasn’t been in our home that we know of, so there must be a problem that me and wife aren’t aware of.”

The Shelbys’ believe there could be an invisible leak in their home.

“I’ve heard leaks from the toilet and faucet can cause a change in the bill, but we don’t have that problem that I can visibly see,” said Carol Shelby, 28. “We eventually called it in because something just didn’t feel right.”

The Hill and Shelby families both spoke to the Department of Public Works, which told both to hire a plumber to look into their situation.

“They told us it was most likely a plumbing issue,” said Carol Shelby. “I mean, we kind of found that a little hard to believe since there is no visible issue.”

Utilities Director Leroy Smith said plumbing issues of this sort are common.

“This is an issue that we try to make aware to our citizens,” said Smith. “We have failed to do that since we have increased in calls about this issue.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 6.43.50 PM

The City of Williamston water pressure chart at 65 lbs.

Smith later shared that the city Williamston has a water pressure average of 67 pounds but they go off base chart of 65 pounds.

“The size of a leak can determine the gallon which determines how much your bill will be,” said Smith. “The smallest of leaks in various areas can add up to $500 to your annual bill.”

Both families called separate plumbing contractors.

“We have received many leakage calls,” said Ryan Turner of Ware Plumbing, which responded to the Shelbys’. “Some residents have shared they have contacted because of high billing. Believe it or not, leaks waste a lot of water if you’re not aware.”

Ryan is the plumber who examined the  Shelbys’ residence and said he indeed found the problem.

“The Shelbys’ had a visibly hard leak in their toilet,” said Turner, a plumber for over 10 years. “They had an improperly positioned float arm, and I’m not sure how long it’s been dispositioned but that can explain the high bill.”

Turner continued to add how small leaks can become gallons if not aware.

“Twenty- four hours can make a huge difference with leaks between dripping, trickling and streaming,” said Turner. “Gallons add on as time goes by, so I encourage residents to just call in a plumber to get their house examined for any possible leaks.”

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