What is a Water Meter?

A water meter is a device that measures the volume of water that enters your home over time. The meter is equipped with either a digital or analog display with a number on it. That number perpetually rises as water flows into your home over time. Water meters measure water cumulatively, which means that they continue to measure the volume of water that flows through the pipe leading into your house until they are reset.

Most water meters are located somewhere on or near the exterior of your home, close to your home’s outside stop tap. This allows a water meter to continuously measure the amount of water that passes into your home as soon as it enters your home plumbing system. The most common units of measurement that water meters use include cubic feet and gallons.

Why Learn to Read a Water Meter?

Many people who live in residential areas have no idea how to read their water meter and have never attempted to do so. Why is it important to learn how to read your water meter if you’ve been going along just fine so far without that knowledge?

There are actually several reasons why knowing how to read a water meter is a very handy skill to have. It is a smart idea to monitor the water meter outside your home on a regular basis and, in order to do that effectively, you have to know how to read the water meter in the first place.

Regularly monitoring your water meter helps you gain a better understanding of your household’s water usage and can help you cut down on your water usage in order to prevent water waste and lower the cost of your water bill. Plus, water meters aren’t perfect and they malfunction from time to time. Monitoring your water meter on a regular basis allows you to catch any meter malfunctions—or water theft—quickly rather than just blindly paying for water your household is not actually using.

How to Read a Water Meter

Learning how to read a water meter is pretty simple. The first step, of course, is to locate your water meter. Most water meters in residential areas are located either on the exterior of each home or inside a water meter box near the curb close to your house.

reading a water meter

reading a water meter

Once you have found the water meter that measures your household’s water usage, how you read it depends on whether the meter is analog or digital. Analog water meters feature a large hand—like the hand of a clock—that rotates in a circle marked by numbers 1 through 9. Each number represents one gallon or one cubic foot of water. Analog water meters display a number. That number is the number of gallons or cubic feet of water that have flowed into your home plumbing system since the meter was set up.

Digital water meters are even easier to read. They are designed with LCD screens that alternate between two numbers. One of the numbers is the cumulative number of gallons or cubic feet of water that has flowed into your home. The other number is the flow rate, which tracks the amount of water that flows through the meter per minute. One thing to keep in mind when reading a digital water meter is that digital meters require light for activation, so you might have to shine a flashlight on the meter’s display for its numbers to show up.

What to Do if You Catch an Error in Your Water Meter

If you notice that the number on your water meter seems incorrect—such as if the number keeps rising even when the water in your home is shut off and no water-dependent appliances are in use—it is important to address that problem right away.

One of the most common signs of an undetected water leak is a malfunctioning water meter. Your meter might not actually be malfunctioning; there might just be a water leak somewhere in your home that is causing water to flow through your home plumbing system even though your household is not actively using that water.

If you are located in Southern California, give Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing a call if you notice that your water meter displays a faulty reading. This professional plumbing company is based in the Inland Empire and serves customers throughout Southern California.

The team of professional plumbing technicians at Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing specialize in water leak detection. They offer 24/7 emergency water services, so they’ll come out to fix a water leak in your home even if it is a weekend, a holiday, or the middle of the night. Water leaks can cause major damage to your home, so it’s important to get any leak fixed as soon as possible in order to minimize that damage.

If you are concerned about a faulty water meter or a water leak in your home plumbing system, Accurate Leak Locators and Plumbing a call today to take advantage of this professional plumbing company’s emergency leak location and plumbing services.