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Canada is home to a huge amount of the world’s freshwater. Which is why, for the most part, we have the privilege of paying rock-bottom rates to keep our taps running.

But what if you suddenly received a water bill for a whopping $4,000? Or one that just seemed to be way higher than it should be? While you might not think it can happen to you, that’s exactly what city of Toronto is expecting homeowner Avra Weinstein to pay. The charges actually come from the PEI resident’s rental property, but she insists there’s no way the tenants who were living there could’ve racked up that much in water charges.

“There’s no way they were using $4,000 worth of water out of the blue,” she said. “There’s no pool in the back, there was no leak that was in evidence.”

City officials later conducted an investigation, and found the charges were valid.

“The property had continuous water consumption 24 hours a day for several months. This is usually an indicator of a faulty fixture such as a running toilet,” Anthony Fabrizi, manager of revenue services for Toronto’s utility and parking operations, said in a statement.

So how can the charges be valid when the tenants don’t remember using that much water? Well, turns out some water leaks can’t be seen or heard, but they can cost you big if left unchecked. Fabrizi hinted that it might be the toilet, and Toronto staff list the bathroom staple as one of the worst offenders for potential water (and money) wastage.

To make sure your toilet isn’t leaking, or on the verge of springing a leak, there’s a simple test you can conduct right now. All you have to do is drop a little food colouring into the toilet’s tank and walk away (do no flush the toilet). If you return an hour or so later and some of that colour has leeched into the toilet bowl, you have yourself a leak.

You should also avoid using chlorine pucks that are intended to disinfect the tank. They can actually destroy some of the rubber and plastic parts in there, which can give water room to seep out.

For more tips on how you can save on your water bill, check out tips from the city’s website or watch the video above.

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