When you got your water bill for last month, maybe you were surprised. If the bill was much higher than normal, you may be concerned-what happened? Is your next bill likely to be high as well? What can you do about it?

While some factors that affect your water bill are out of your control, you can change others. And some reasons for the price spike may surprise you altogether. Keep reading to learn the hidden factors that affect your water bill.

1. More Weekends in the Month

If your water bill went up suddenly, check your calendar. Did the previous month have five weekends instead of the usual four? If so, those extra days might contribute to the price difference. During the weekend, more people are likely to be in your home using water.

During the week, you are likely at work, using those toilets and sinks, and if you have a partner or children, they are probably also at work or school. The weekends are when the most water gets used around the house for ordinary things like toilet flushing.

Each toilet flush takes about five to seven gallons of water, though it could be less if you have a modern, low-flow toilet. If you have a lot of children in the house, each use of the sink or toilet adds up. When a month has more weekends, your bill can get more expensive. But don't worry-the next month should be normal.

2. Leaks

One of the most common causes of a higher bill is that water is leaking somewhere on your property. However, you may not realize just how much leaks can affect you or where you can find them.

Faucets
A dripping faucet can leak about 15 gallons a day, which translates to about 450 gallons a month. This amount significantly affects your water bill. However, if your faucet leaks a small, steady stream instead of just dripping, you could lose 7,920 gallons to 28,300 gallons a month, depending on the size of the stream.

Though a leaky faucet doesn't seem like much of a problem, don't leave it. Instead, replace or repair its-peak with a professional to take care of this small project.

Toilets
A running toilet is the most common cause of high water bills. You can lose about 200 gallons a day, which may just about double your household water usage for the month. If you can hear your toilet running when it shouldn't be flowing, you know you have a problem. However, if you can't hear it, you may need to check for leaks to see if it caused your high bill.

Flush your toilet. After it stops running, put a few drops of food coloring or dye into the tank. In about 20 minutes or so, check the bowl. If you can see colored water in the bowl, then your toilet is leaking. You need a plumber to take a look at it.

Pipes
Your faucet isn't the only place that can drip or leak water. If your water bill is very high, you may have a leak in a hard-to-find place. While you can check your crawl space, yard, and basement for wet spots, you may want to hire a professional at this point. A plumber will know where to look for leaks and how to find them. If he or she finds and fixes the leak, you'll easily make up the cost of the plumber in your savings on your water bill.

3. Guests Staying Over

Just as having more weekends can raise your bill, hosting visitors can make you pay more. If you have guests staying at your home, more people will use the toilet, shower, and sinks, meaning your home will go through more water. Hopefully, it isn't a significant increase, but it could definitely be noticeable. If your water bill is higher than normal, think about how many people you had in your home last month.

4. Water Softener Malfunctions

If you have a water softener, you may love the work it does. However, if the water softener system stops working correctly, it can raise your water bill. To work properly, the device needs to cycle water through its system before releasing it into your house. This cycle includes backwashing the water to clean the device itself.
If the water softener stops in the backwashing cycle, it can go through a lot of water without showing any signs. If you can't see any evidence of other factors driving up your bill, this appliance would be a good item to check. Call a professional to take a look at your system to see if it's malfunctioning.

These four factors can make your water bill for the month much higher than normal. Though you can't control how many weekends are in a month, you can take action to fix leaks and faulty water softeners. Make sure your next water bill is more affordable by calling C.B. Lucas Heating & Air Conditioning. Our expert plumbing technicians will find the root of the problem right away.