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How to Read Your Water Meter

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It's a good idea to become familiar with your water meter.  The meter measures the amount of water you have used.   Below are pictures of the two different water meters in use and how to read them. 

Analog Display Water Meter

Located on the face of this meter is a red dial that spins when water is being used. Just beneath the red dial is the usage indicator, which looks very similar to the odometer on your vehicle.

Water Meter

How to Read Your Water Meter

You can take regular readings of your water meter to check how much water you are using. It is best to wear gloves anytime you check the water meter. Usually, the water meter is enclosed in a concrete box located near the street, between the curb and sidewalk. Remove the concrete cover carefully to avoid injury and damage to the lid, and then set it aside. Be careful to watch for insects, especially spiders. Write down the number showing on the meter, and then replace the meter box cover.

Water usage is billed by how many units are used during the billing cycle.

  • A billing unit equals 100 cubic feet of water
  • A 100 cubic feet of water equals 748 gallons

Read the first four digits on the left of your meter again in approximately 30 days. To find out how many billing units of water have been used during that time period, subtract the first meter reading from the current reading. To find out how many gallons of water have been used, multiply that number (hundred cubic feet) by 748.

Checking for Leaks

To check for hidden leaks, such as a leaking sprinkler system, shut off all the water in your house and yard. Open the water meter box and look at the red dial, it should not be moving. If the dial is spinning you may have a leak. If you believe there is a leak, you should contact a competent plumber for further investigation.

Digital Display Water Meter

Below is a picture of what your water meter looks like.  Located on the face of the meter is a solar panel and a display.

  • Shine a flashlight onto the solar panel to wake up the display
  • The meter serial number will display first, then after a few seconds the meter read will show
  • The display will cycle between the current read (in cubic feet) and the flow rate (in gallons)

 

Water usage is billed by how many units are used during the billing cycle.

  • A billing unit equals 100 cubic feet of water.
  • A 100 cubic feet of water equals 748 gallons

Read the first four digits on the left of your meter again in approximately 30 days. To find out how many billing units of water have been used during that time period, subtract the first meter reading from the current reading. To find out how many gallons of water have been used, multiply that number (hundred cubic feet) by 748.

Checking for Leaks 

To check for hidden leaks, such as a leaking irrigation system, shut off all the water in your house and yard. Look at the upper left corner of the meter display. A graphic of a faucet may be displayed here looking like this.

 

A faucet that is flashing indicates that water was being used during 50 of the possible 96 15-minute recorded intervals within the last 24 hours. This does not necessarily indicate that a leak is present but shows the frequency of water use.

If the faucet is solid (not flashing), it indicates that water was being used continuously over the last 24 hours. If you believe there is a leak, you may decide to contact a competent plumber for further investigation.

Remember to carefully replace the meter box cover when your inspection is completed.