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Why is my home water use suddenly high?

From a toilet leak to visiting house guests to watering the garden, there are many reasons why your home water use might be higher than normal. Here are some questions that can help you locate the cause.

Could you have a leak?

High water use could indicate a leak in the home. To determine if a leak is present, start by asking yourself these questions:

Do you hear the toilet run (yes, even just a little bit sometimes)?

Leaking toilets are one of the biggest causes of high home water use. Toilet leaks can be silent too, so it's always a good idea to check. Check out our guide on how to check for a toilet leak and make simple repairs.

Learn how to check for toilet leaks

Do you notice any dripping faucets?

If your faucet is dripping, you might be able to fix it yourself. Check out our guide on how to fix a leaky faucet to learn more.

Learn how to fix a leaky faucet

Do you suspect you might have a leak in your pipes?

If you think you have a leak but don't know where, you can do a shutoff test to isolate the leak. Visit our guide on how to check for leaks by reading your meter and performing a shutoff test.

If you think you have an underground leak, you may want to hire a professional leak detection company to pinpoint its exact location and a contractor to perform the repairs.

Learn how to check for leaks

Home water use

Unexpectedly high water use doesn't always mean a leak is present. Outdoor irrigation or inefficient fixtures can be another cause of higher than normal water use.

Do you water a garden or lawn at your home?

Watering a lawn or garden generally causes home water use to increase during the summer. Try comparing your water usage to the same season in past years to determine if your use is abnormally high.

Check the schedule of your irrigation controllers and make adjustments if needed. Careful time management of drip systems or soaker hoses can also help reduce your total use. We also offer rebates for new WaterSmart-labeled irrigation controllers and multistream rotator sprinkler nozzles.

Tips on how to save water outdoors

Apply for an Outdoor Irrigation Rebate

Is your use higher than other homes in Portland?

Average residential water use in Portland is about 47 gallons per day per person. Older or inefficient fixtures can also keep home water use up. Installing new aerators on older faucets and using a high-efficiency showerhead can help reduce total use for your home.

Learn how to save water at home

We can help!

Water Efficiency hotline: Do you have other questions or need help? Contact Water Efficiency by email or call 503-823-4527. We can walk through your past water use and discuss your options.

Water Leak Repair assistance: Leak repair assistance is available to income-qualified homeowners.

Request a bill adjustment: Fix a leak? Let us know. You may be able to have your water bill lowered.