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It is essential to know how to read your water meter so you can monitor your water consumption, especially during the hot summer season. Another important reason why you should know how to read water meter is that it can help you detect if there are leaks in your water system. That is why it is recommended to learn this and so you can avoid potential problems. Ideally, checking your water meter should be done on monthly basis but certainly at regular intervals throughout the year. Save yourself from future expenses you may lose caused by leaks in your water system. Continue reading to learn how to read your water meter.

A water meter is a device that measures the volume of water. Some water meters measure water in gallons while others measure in cubic feet. Residential water meters, usually located near curbs and sidewalks are often placed inside a concrete box. This box sometimes has metal or plastic lid that is marked with a water meter.

If you are planning to check your water meter, it is important to take caution in opening the lid and be alert for insects and other small creatures that may live inside the box. Some water meters will have a small, hinged cover while others may not. Raise the cover and use a damp rag to wipe the face clean.

Reading Analog Display

Analog Display meterThe large sweep hand on the dial measures water use in gallons or cubic feet. One gallon or one cubic foot of water goes through the water meter as the sweep hand starting with one number then onto the next (example 0 to 1). A complete rotation equals 10 gallons or 10 cubic feet depending on the unit measured. Most of the time, analog dials have a low-flow indicator that rotates as water passes through the water meter. This normally resembles a small triangle, star or gear.

Example: The sweep hand is on “8.3” so the reading is 8.3 gallons. Notice the last number has not yet turned completely to “1” so you have to read the sweep hand. When you record your reading in the Leak Detection Test, make sure to use the number indicated by the sweep arm as the final digit.

Activating and Reading Digital Display

The digital meter needs light for activation so you may have to shine a flashlight on it. The display alternates between the meter read and the flow rate. The meter read equals the gallons (or cubic feet) used while the flow rate equals the number of gallons (or cubic feet) per minute passing through the device. Some digital meters provide a review of historical water use. This feature helps track water use trends such as when leaks are present. Check your water provider’s website for more information.