What Does A Water Meter Look Like?

Do you have a water bill that you can’t get your head around, or do you want to be more conscious of how much water you use?

You could be searching all around the outside of your property and have no idea where it is or what it looks like.

What Does A Water Meter Look Like

Most homes should have one fitted to the water supply, and it is compulsory in some areas for houses built after a certain time to have one fitted.

It can even be helpful if you don’t use much water and want a breakdown of exactly how much you’re using, so you can avoid any unmeasured charges, and no one likes that.

This guide will show you how to locate your water meter and how to read it and will hopefully provide some answers to some of those burning questions you may have.

How To Locate Your Water Meter

This can vary from some house and are usually found near the curb in front of your home, although in some areas that are generally colder in climate, it may be inside your home, usually in the basement.

If your meter is outside, it will be housed in a concrete box that usually has “water” written on it or will be in a meter pit with a cast iron lid. 

Once you’ve located the box, you’ll need to open it with a large screwdriver or a pair of pliers, and once inside, you’ll have to clear the area around the meter so no insects or dirt are in the way.

Now you’re inside, what is it you are looking at exactly? 

What Does A Water Meter Look Like?

A standard water meter looks like a small dial that is usually the same size as a can of corn. You’ll notice that it has a row of black and red numbers and a watch-like dial that surrounds the row of numbers.

As you use water, the black and red numbers will move and if you’re still unsure of what type you have, below are the two most common types of meter you’ll see.

  •  The straight-reading meter is the most common type, which resembles an odometer in a car. This can make it easier to read the meter if you’re interested in how much water you use daily.
  • The round-reading meter has several separate dials, making it a little more difficult to read because you have to read each number on a separate dial.

How Do I Read My Water Meter?

Water meters in the US typically measure volume in gallons or cubic feet.

To make it easier to read or differentiate between the two, 1 cubic foot equals 7.48 gallons, and 100 cubic feet equals 748 gallons.

Water charges are typically based on 100 cubic feet or 1000 gallon units, so you may want to check the unit of measurement given by your last water bill, and if this fails, give them a call. 

You want to focus your attention on the row of numbers that stand out from the dial around the meter.

It could read something like 81710.03, which is the total number of cubic feet of water recorded since the meter was installed.

If the utility bill is in units of 100 cubic feet, it would read this meter as 817.

To determine your water usage, you’ll want to read your meter at the beginning and at the end of the particular cycle you want to track.

What Does A Water Meter Look Like (1)

If you read your meter today and the figure comes to something like 336,000, and the last reading you did was 330,000, your consumption for that billing period would be 6,600 cubic feet or 66 units of water. 

Your water provider will usually provide this information alongside your consumption history so that you can contrast your current usage with earlier billing periods.

If you happen to find a discrepancy in your bill, you need to contact your provider so the issue can be resolved.

What If I Don’t Have A Water Meter Installed?

If you’re unfortunate enough not to have a meter installed, you may want to consider how much you could lose in your water bill.

If you don’t have a meter, you may be paying a fixed price for your water, so it stays the same regardless of how much or little water you use. 

You can normally request a meter to be installed, or your provider will advise you to have one installed as a fixed rate can vary depending on the size or the number of people using water at your home.

Do I Need To Have A Water Meter?

It makes more sense to have one, so If you have a meter at your home and are insistent on it being taken out, it’s likely your request will be denied.

Water meters are becoming industry standard in some areas, and if you don’t want to miss out, then you can contact your provider, and their customer service can calculate how much you could save by having a meter at your home. 

In some cases, your water provider might contact you if they notice you’re on a fixed rate bill and suggest that one be installed, but be aware that you may be charged for the installation and any other plumbing issues that may arise when installing it.

The Bottom Line 

Now you know where your water meter is and are confident in your reading, you can begin to make your own comparisons at home to determine how much water you’re saving or losing and could potentially lower that water bill.

After all, no one likes higher bills if there are things they can do to reduce them, and checking your meter regularly could help you to determine if you have a leak or not.

All you have to do is turn your water off, and if the meter still goes up, you may have a leak somewhere.

Mike Noren