How to Read Your Water Meter and Detect Leaks

How to Read Your Water Meter

Your water meter measures the amount of water used in your household. The readings from your water meter determine the amount you are charged every month on your water bill. You can read the meter yourself to verify your bill, monitor your water use, check for suspected leaks or experiment with efficient landscaping procedures.

  • Step 1: Locate Your Meter

Your water meter is generally located near the curb in front of your home or on the property line. Meters are typically housed in a concrete box. Carefully remove the lid by using a tool such as a large screwdriver or pliers. Visually examine the area around the meter to make sure there are no harmful insects or other animals.

  • Step 2: Read Your Water Meter

Water meters in the District measure volume in Cubic Feet. Water charges are based on 100 cu. ft.. The water meters used by Ventura River are straight-reading meters which resemble the odometer in a car. The last two digits on the right are not used.

The reading is taken from the figures shown above the words Cubic Feet. The meter reads 516396 which is the total cubic feet of water recorded since the meter was installed. VRCWD bills in 100 cubic feet increments therefore the read on this meter would be 5163. Reads are in 100 cubic feet. Thus, the nine (9) and the six (6) on the far right are not read.

Note: The size of the meter is usually printed on the dial. The meter shown here is a 3/4‚ ù meter. The small triangle (can be red, blue or white) is the low flow indicator. This indicator will spin if any water is flowing through the meter and can be used in leak detection.

Water Meter Leak Detection

First it is important to understand how to read your water meter. To check for leaks follow these steps:

  • Method 1

Turn off all water taps inside and outside your home. Record the meter reading and return in 20-30 minutes to check for movement. If the meter reading has changed, you may have a leak.

  • Method 2

Many meters have a small triangle (red, blue or white) on the meter face, designed to detect even small leaks. If this triangle is moving when you have all water off inside and outside your home, you may have a leak. Common sources of leaks are a toilet that is running, a constant drip in a sink or outdoor faucet, a loose or dripping washer connection, a home water treatment unit, an evaporative cooler or an irrigation drip system.

  • Method 3

Turn water off at the main supply to house (usually the gate valve by the hose bib). If the meter is spinning, the leak is between the meter and the house in the water supply line.