How to Read a Water Meter

Learning to read your water meter is essential to understanding your water usage, whether you have a leak or want to save energy. 

A water meter measures the volume of water delivered to your property. Certain water meters measure water in gallons while others measure in cubic feet. It really depends on what kind of water meter you have. 

How Does a Water Meter Work?

Most residential water meters are near the curb or sidewalk at the front of a property in a concrete “box.” The water meter box will have a metal or plastic lid marked “Water Meter.”

If needed, start by using a screwdriver to remove the lid. Be cautious as small insects, reptiles, or other animals can sometimes be inside the water meter box. Some water meters will have a small, hinged cover while others do not. Lift the cover and use a damp rag to wipe the face clean.

Types of Water Meters

There are two main types of water meters: an analog dial and a digital display. It’s important to determine which type you have to make this process easier, as we have instructions for both types below.

Locate Your Meter

Locating where your water meter is, is the first step. Again, residential water meters are typically found outside near the curb or sidewalk at the front of the property. Often, the meter will have a metal or plastic lid and may be marked.  If you have difficulty finding your water meter, contact your utility company for help. In some cases, you may need a screwdriver to open the lid.

Determine What Meter Type You Have

Analog Dial Meter

If you have an analog dial display, your meter will have a sweep hand that measures the water usage in either CCF or gallons. Almost all analog dials will have a low flow indicator that look like a small icon that has a small triangle, star, or gear.

To read a water meter in gallons, take note of the number at the bottom of your water meter. The number to the far right is a “standing 0,” represented by the number of gallons used as indicated by the hand.  

A Digital Water Meter

You will need a flashlight to read your digital display. Most digital displays will change between the reading (CCF or gallons used) and the flow rate (CCF or gallons flowing through per minute). 

A digital water meter will not have moving hands and includes a decimal point. When showing the rate of water used, the number on the screen is represented by gallons per minute and will be displayed on the right side of the screen. 

We Can Help.

We know this process can be confusing at times. If you have questions about your water meter, try searching your water bill or utility company’s website for more information and directions about how to read your specific meter.

If you are looking to purchase a water meter, talk to us today. We offer both water meters and meter reading systems. Contact us to learn more about what we offer.

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