Your water bill probably isn't your highest monthly expense, but it's never the wrong time to save some cash. Higher usage can mean more costly payments at the end of the month, but an increase in your bill doesn't always mean that you're intentionally using more water. Instead, you may have one or more plumbing issues that are wasting water and draining your wallet.

Of course, not all plumbing issues will lead to several inches of water across your basement floor. Hidden leaks and other small problems can waste surprising amounts of water, especially over months or years. Below you'll find three ways that plumbing problems you may not even be aware of could be costing you cash.

1. Running Toilets

When you flush your toilet, the pressure of water rushing out of the tank pushes waste from the bowl and refills it with clean water. Your toilet should only run for long enough to fill the tank, after which the flow of water should immediately stop. The water should only run for 3-4 minutes after flushing. Any longer, and you likely have a problem.

A toilet that runs too long isn't just annoying. The water that leaks into the bowl will push more water down the drain, ultimately running up your utility bills. You can sometimes solve a running toilet by adjusting the height of the tank float. If this doesn't work, you may need to replace the float, the flapper valve, or the fill tube.

2. Leaky Faucet Handles

It's easy to spot a dripping faucet, but it can be more challenging to notice a slow leak near one of the handles. Many people mistake water near the base of the handles for water that splashed up onto the counter. Although leaks of this type do not tend to use much water, they can cause the handle to corrode over time.

Leaks at the base of the handle usually stem from failed O-rings. In some cases, the cartridge in the handle may also be leaking. You won't need to replace your entire assembly, however. A plumber can easily disassemble your faucet handle to replace the affected parts.

3. Broken Hose Bibb

Hose bibbs typically break or leak as a result of freezing temperatures. When winter arrives, it's a good idea to shut off your outside faucets and turn the water off from inside the house, as well. When a hose bibb fails, it may spring a catastrophic leak, or you may face a slow dribble of water that can go unnoticed on snow and ice-covered ground.

While these three problems rarely cause extreme amounts of water damage, they can lead to costly water bills if left unaddressed. If you notice that your monthly water charge seems to be increasing for no reason, it may be a good idea to contact a plumber in your areato uncover the underlying issue.