High Usage

If your water bill unexpectedly increases, but your water usage patterns have not changed, following some of the simple steps below may help determine why.

First locate your meter in front of your home/business by the street in a black or concrete box. Verify the reading on the meter. The reading should be equal to or slightly higher that the reading on the most current water bill. If the reading is less than on the bill, please contact our office at 205-620-6420. If the reading is higher let’s move on to the next step.

Determine which type of meter you have.


Analog water meter with explanation of how to read it

  • A leak indicator is positioned between the 7 and 8 on the dial.  The indicator will vary in shape and color.  If it is moving when no water is being used in or outside the home/business that indicates water loss.  The indicator may be turning very slowly if it is a small leak.  If it is not moving continue on.  Record the reading from your meter, do not use water in or outside your home/business for at least 2 hours and check the reading again.  A change in the readings indicates water loss.
  • Water loss could be inside or outside the home/business.
  • Check toilets. If the leak indicator is turning, turn one toilet off and recheck leak indicator for movement and continue until all toilets been checked. A dye test can also be performed by flushing toilet and while tank is filling  add two or three drops of food coloring to the water in the tank. Wait 15 to 30 minutes. If water in the bowl changes colors, then the flapper needs replacing. Be sure to flush and clean the bowl of food coloring to avoid stains. 
  • Check faucets, under sinks in kitchens and baths.
  • Check Ice Makers.
  • Check Water Heaters.
  • If all inside sources have been checked you may need to go to outside sources; faucets, irrigation systems or water lines between home/business and meter. Turn the valve off to the home/business located in a garage, basement, where the water enters home/business and meter. If the leak indicator continues to move, that would indicate a leak on one of your outside sources or in the service line from the meter to your home. 


picture of a digital lcd water meter reading

  • Customers can determine if they have a leak on their side of the water meter by looking at the bottom of the LCD display on the meter. If they have had continuous usage in the last 24 hours without one 15 minute interval of no flow, the status will automatically show the leak alarm.  The alarm looks like a faucet that is dripping. 
  • If this indicator alarm is displayed the customer has had continuous water usage and this could indicate that the customer has a leak. 
  • Review the steps for trying to locate leak from the steps listed above under Analog Meter.

If leak is detected, customers may contact the Water Department at 205-620-6420. 

Water Leak Adjustments
If you believe you require a water leak adjustment, visit our Water Leak Adjustments page.

water loss chart