As the highest cost utilities are generally electricity and heating, most companies do not spend a lot of time reviewing their water cost. For most retail locations, the only water usage would be in a lunchroom and staff/public washrooms and therefore it is not generally a major concern. The old adage however, “that little issues left over time can become big ones”, is very true and this case study verifies just that.


Through the audits that we run as utility bills are being processed, 3 locations were flagged for high water consumption. These audits compare current usage against previous usage for each location and as water usage is generally consistent from month to month for retail locations, an increase is usually a symptom of a maintenance issue onsite. Sometimes these issues are known and have not yet been corrected of they can be “hidden” problems.

Action Taken

  1. An investigation was launched into the source of the water consumption increase.
  2. We worked alongside our client in order to get the maintenance issues properly fixed as quickly as possible to limit the over usage.
  3. Once the issues were fixed, accounts were monitored to confirm the return to normal usage.

Results of Investigation

For these particular locations, maintenance issues were found at each location and plumbers were dispatched to perform the necessary repairs. After calculating the cost difference between the regular usage and the high consumption, we were able to provide our client with a combined total annual cost avoidance of approximately $16,000 for the three locations.


Most companies feel that as water is generally a small cost to them, it is not worth monitoring, but we have found the opposite. Since there are many “mechanical” issues that can occur with water lines and fixtures, it is the one utility where over usage can be discovered rather quickly and repairs made to avoid future cost increases. An example to use as a benchmark is a running toilet which can cost as much as $300 – $500/month. For this reason, managers should be vigilant in having these issues corrected as soon as possible. Could you currently be flushing money away? Contact us and let Powerhouse help you regain peace of mind.

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