How to Read Your Water Meter

Reading your water meter will help you track  how much water you're using and can help identify if you have a leak. Your water meter records the amount of water you use, just like the odometer on your car records the number of miles you drive.  Water use is measured in cubic feet and is billed in units of hundred cubic feet (HCF). One HCF equals to 748 gallons of water. 

Locate Your Water Meter

Most meters are located near the curb in front of your home, usually near the curb or sidewalk. Your water meter is located inside a rectangular box, flush with the ground and has a lid labeled WATER. Be careful when removing the meter lid as an radio device may be attached to the lid and connected to the meter by a wire which could become disconnected.  Always visually examine the area around the meter to make sure there are no harmful insects or other animals.

How to Check for Leaks

Start by turning off all indoor and outdoor water using fixtures and appliances. Locate the meter flow indicator on the face of your meter and watch a few moments for any movement (the flow indicator typically looks like a small blue triangle or a star shape). 

Slow Leaks

The flow indicator is very sensitive and can often detect even small leaks, however some leaks are too slow to move the dial. Turn off the water at the meter and wait a few hours. Wait two to four hours (overnight if possible), then record your water meter numbers. If the numbers have changed water is leaking somewhere in your plumbing system. 

What to Do if a Leak is Detected

Turn off the house valve to determine if the leak is inside the house. This is usually located at a hose bib on an outside wall in a direct line from the water meter. If the meter dial still moves, you should investigate the possibility of a leak in the line between the meter and the house.

Irrigation System Leaks 

Leaks in your irrigation system won’t always show on your meter due to their separate shut-off valves. To find leaks, walk your irrigation lines. Check for unusual wet spots, leaky or broken sprinkler heads, and use your meter to measure total irrigation use. Locate all hose bibs and check for leaks or drips. Replace the washers if there are any leaks.

Toilet Leaks

Check for toilet leaks regularly. A leaking toilet is water passing through the tank continuously. Place dye tablets or a few drops of food coloring in the tank. Don’t flush. Wait approximately 20 minutes. If color appears in the bowl, a toilet leak is present.  

Meter Reader