How to Read Your Meter

To help you understand how much water your home or business uses, you will want to know how to read your meter. Reading your own meter helps to conserve water, detect leaks, and even determines the amount of water used by your outdoor sprinklers.
At right is a photo with callouts showing a typical water meter face. We encourage everyone to locate their meter and check for leaks at least once a year. Meters are typically located near the public right-of-way line in an at-grade concrete or plastic box with a hinged meter reading lid in the center of the box cover.
Water Meter
Water Meter Measurements
(A) These are tenths of a cubic foot.

(B) Sweep hand: one revolution equals one cubic foot of water used.

(C) Reading a water meter is similar to reading an automobile odometer. Most meters have a multi-digit number on the face called the readout (see illustration). This shows the total of water used since the meter was installed. The 1st digit to the right is 1 cubic foot. The 2nd digit from the right is 10 cubic feet.

The next 3 are 100, 1,000, and 10,000 cubic feet and are the numbers that are printed on your bill to the right of "Present". The number to the right of "Used" is the previous reading subtracted from the present reading. Water charges are based on increments of 100 cubic feet of water delivered, or what we call a billing unit. One unit equals 748 gallons.

(D) This triangle (sometimes a star on other brands of meters) is called a leak detector. The smallest flow through the meter will cause this to turn. If all water is shut off in the house and the triangle is turning, this indicates a leak. To check for leaks if your meter does not have a leak detector, note the reading of the meter when you leave at a time when no one will be at home. When you return re-read the meter. The number should be the same.

Low Flow Indicator
If the low flow indicator is moving, try turning off the house shut-off valve (usually located where the waterline enters the house). If the low flow indicator is still moving, there is water flowing outside the house (most likely the irrigation system). If the low flow indicator stops moving with the house valve off, water is flowing inside the house (this could be a toilet leak, a leaky pipe, or any number of problems).

If you have trouble locating your meter or have any questions please call the City Maintenance Shop at 360-825-5541.