A $600.00+ Water bill?

Either someone really screwed up reading my meter or I have a leak somewhere and I can’t find it! Since Monday is a holiday I won’t be able to contact the water dept. but if Dad isn’t busy I’ll have him turn off my water main and see if the meter still runs. My toilets seem fine but I’ll get a little food dye and double check for any leaks.  I have check the pipes in the basement and don’t see any water or leaks. It’s a bad time of year to check the yard as the snow has been melting  so it is saturated with water.  That being said I can’t see or feel an extra squishiness in the yard anywhere.  I have never turned on the sprinkler system but I suppose that could be a failure point but I don’t think that is it. I hope it is just a billing error but best to check out my stuff as quickly as possible and it’s not like I can’t get by a few days without tap water!

I got the laundery done” just in case” and added some white vineger to the cup for fabric softner. My towels and wash clothes have had a sort of musty smell after a couple of day’s use. While I haven’t tested to see if the musty smell is gone,  I was surprised by how much softer my clothes felt coming out of the dryer. I will update on how well the vingar does on the musty order as I try this out.  I finally finished up my laundry detergent bottle so now I can clean it out and use it as a handwashing station. This is one of those big bottles with a spigot and vent cap so it is just about perfect for the job. I would not use the laundry soap bottle for cooking or drinking water but for washing up I think it is fine.

Canceled the dish network and talk about getting the hard sell to try and keep me as a subscriber. I was offered all kinds of stuff from reduced payments or extra programming. Of course I wasn’t on any contract so dish didn’t have a lot of leverage.  I dismantled all the cables for the receiver box and it is ready to ship once I get the postage label. I shut down my laptop that I used to connect the phone to the receiver box and unplug  a a couple of TV related items so that should help a little on electricity costs.  I actually went through some of the programing offered from Amazon and Roku and I’m pleased with the variety offered. This is about as close as you can get to ala carte programming right now.

One bad thing is now my internet connection is critical for entertainment, news and  information as well as my house phone.  I have a cell phone along with some other backup communication stuff. A couple of shortwave and AM/FM radios along with plenty of books and DVDs so I think I have enough backups to get by without internet or power.  I figure if the internet goes down for the awhile, things are will be pretty bad and I will need to move to low/no power items anyway.


20 Responses to A $600.00+ Water bill?

  1. Dannyboy53 says:

    Roku owners can download (free) from the Roku store several news agencies however they are the usual “talking heads” spouting all the latest propaganda. Of course the downside is, no local news is available that I am aware of.

    Your best bet for that is probably the antenna you spoke of in an earlier post!

    I didn’t know that about the white vinegar! Have to tell my wife.

    • Jamie says:

      I can watch shows like John Stossel that is Fox Business and I enjoy his reports. I fell in love with several shows like “Yes, Minister” the “Good Nieghbors” and “Red Dwarf” when they were on PBS years ago. I need to try out the youtube channel that has the show “Connections” on the Roku 3 and see how that works out.
      I enjoy more history and science rather than “reality or mainstream TV so that gives me a kind of wealth of riches to choose from since they aren’t big money makers or have a huge demand.

      • Dannyboy53 says:

        Yes there is much to find to most people liking. It’s just a matter of browsing around until one finds their interests. Mary and I watch a lot of documentary programs and have much the same interests as yourself, such as history and Stossel. We too avoid the reality and mainstream shows, we watch nothing that has a “laugh track” in it!

        Jamie i do hope your water problems turn out to be something simple and easily adjusted, that’s an awful lot of money.

      • Jamie says:

        Danny, I hope it’s just a billing error but “Life” sometimes has a strange sense of humor.
        Overall I’m in good shape to handle this problem if it turns out I have a leak. I can turn off the water for a few days with a little extra work and I have good Start on the emergency fund as well as a little silver I could sell if it is a big problem.

  2. Marilyn says:

    If the vinegar doesn’t work try an extra large dose of borax in just enough water to soak the items. Let soak for 10 or 15 minutes, then contunue on with the normal wash cycle. I sometimes get that problem in winter and I have decided it is because we don’t use the furnace much and the towels aren’t drying out after use in a cool bathroom.

    • Dannyboy53 says:

      Marilyn I had forgotten about Borax until you mentioned it. I remember when I was a young boy seeing my Grandmother use that old “Twenty Mule Team” borax in her ringer washing machine.

      Thanks for the tip, and for bringing back some pleasant old memories!

    • Jamie says:

      Marilyn, I have tried the Borax but I just added it to the normal wash, didn’t let it soak. I tested a couple of dish rags (vinegar) and one was a little musty smelling but the other smelled much better so It might take a couple of treatments. I like how much softer the clothes felt coming out of the dryer.

      I don’t know if it makes a difference but I’m using cold water for washing and rinsing with my older Maytag washer.

      • Marilyn says:

        Sadly the only way I seem to be able to clear up a smelly dish rag is by soaking in a bit of Clorox water. Not fond of using much Clorox but sometimes it’s a must.

        Dannyboy53, the borax is a water softening agent and that is probably why your Gmother liked using it in her wash. That is what I used before we installed a water softener. Soft water = whiter! softer clothes! Thanks for bringing up the wringer washer. I grew up helping my mother do laundry with one of those. Great memories!

  3. I don’t see how you could have a leak that big and not find some indication of it. I’m sure it’s just some dim wit made a mistake and worried you needlessly.

  4. Soffitrat says:

    check your toilets. Not kidding…

    • Dannyboy53 says:

      Good idea ‘rat. Sometimes one can not see or hear a sign the toilet is leaking but if you turn out the light in the bathroom and shine a flashlight into the toilet bowl you can see water moving if it’s leaking. It’s surprising how much water can be lost.

      I’m hoping it’s like Harry says, “some dim wit made a mistake”.

    • Jamie says:

      rat, I got some food dye so I can check the toilet for leaks from tank to bowl. I don’t hear any water running or leaking from the toilets so I don’t think that is it. I don’t have any dripping faucets and I don’t even run the water when i brush my teeth so I’m leaning towards human error in billing.

  5. Rob says:

    I wonder if your bill was estimated. It happens here in MN all the time. Someone doesn’t want to walk around reading meters. If its est. then they should credit your bill, which should cover the rest of the year and then some. Our first bill was under $10 for 2,900 gallons.

    • Jamie says:

      Rob, I don’t think there is any way just one person can generate $400.00 plus of sewage which is what had jumped ip the bill.

  6. Emily Summer says:

    I have used white vinegar in the final rinse of all my clothes for many years, Fabric softener is a waste of money and toxic. My mother in law used to use so much fabric softener on her towels that they were water repellant. I used to bring my own towels when we went to visit her. We had an elevated water/electric bill, too. Shut off the valve to the garden and chicken house and that stopped the pump running all the time, Will have some digging to do this Spring….if it ever comes.

  7. Karen says:

    My water/sewer/garbage bill comes quarterly, and when I didn’t get it, I asked the neighbors, and they all had theirs-so I stopped in and asked-they said the person who stuffs the envelopes noticed my bill was $67,000 so they decided not to send it! Of course, they eventually sent me a bill-hoping yours is also a mistake that nobody caught.

  8. LeeAnn says:

    We had our water bill make a big jump. What we did was shut off all faucets and then dh went down to the basement and watched the meter to see if it was moving. It was. We had a toilet running so slightly that we couldn’t visually see it. Fixed toilet, problem solved. Well, we had to pay the bill! Do you have a meter you can watch? Where is your meter? If its in your house, then a leak in the yard should not show on your meter. A small leak doesn’t take long to add up because each gallon of water used also generates a sewer charge.

    The last time our bill made a huge jump the city added the cost of digging a new well to our bill. To date they’ve dug 3 dry holes so that doesn’t bode well for city water situation.

  9. kymber says:

    Jamie – back in the city we got an outrageous bill as well. we checked everything, toilets, sinks, faucets, etc. and couldn’t find the leak. we had an underground water irrigation system that had been installed by the previous owner and we never used it. however, it sprung a leak at some point, we didn’t know and received a ginormic bill that we were able to get cut in half after turning off the water to that area and explaining to our water company that we didn’t even know about it!!!!

    but Soffitrat is correct – check those toilets – they sometimes leak in a way that isn’t directly noticeable. as well, check all of the washers on all of your taps and faucets – they can do a slow leak without your noticing it as well. i had a plumber tell me to change all of the washers on taps every 2 years!

    hope this helps Gurl…but you got a lot of good information in the above comments. good luck fixing this problem. it is probably a bad estimate on the part of your water company!

    your friend,

    • Jamie says:

      kymber, It could be something like that but Dad is coming over and will give things a look. One toilet did show an intermitent bit of blue dye via the test so I adjusted the float and that seems okay. I don’t think that is the cause of the big bill!

      The gal athe Water Dept. told me the meter guy turned off the water and there was still flow. I didn’t really catch that when we were talking but Dad said if the water is off to my house and water is flowing it sounds like a problem with the meter or at city level and not my home. Dad worked for the local power company for 40 years and he knows a lot about utilities and the city departments and not just being a lineman so he should be able to help me out.

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