where is my water meter - meter pit

Where Is My Water Meter (And How To Read 3 Different Types)?

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Where is my water meter?”, then this article is for you. But knowing where it is located is just the beginning of this important plumbing and bill device.

Here’s a tutorial on one of the unsung heroes of your plumbing system, the water meter.

What is a Water Meter?

A water meter in your house is the device that registers (measures) the total amount of water used during the utility company’s billing period. This act of measuring is called water metering. As far as the utility is concerned, gauging the cost of your water is the sole function of the meter.

But you can use it for other purposes, such as discovering if you have a leak. Or how much water you’re laundry or lawn-sprinkling is using. Of course, to do those, you’ll need to know how to read the meter correctly. We’ll get to that in a moment.

Watering the lawn can increase your water bill. You can user your water meter to see how much H2O you’re actually using each time.

Common Types of Water Meters

Like a watch wristwatch whose face can be read two different ways (with a dial or electronically), there are two common types of meter faces.

  1. Straight-reading meter. This type gives a total at a glance, with the numbers lined up in a straight row, like a car odometer or an electronic watch.
  2. Round-reading meter. This type is more complex and has usually 5 or 6 round dials that must be read separately to get the total usage in cubit feet.

Regardless of type, all water meters have a special pointer that makes a complete revolution for each cubit foot of water being consumed at any given time.

where is my water meter - types
These are the two basic types of water meters: either with round dials or a straight row of numbers (which can be analog or digital).

Where is My Water Meter?

Okay, let’s answer the question (where is my water meter?) before you get impatient with me.

Try this. Go out to the front of your yard near the street. You will probably find a round or square metal lid near the curb. If you open it (with a crowbar, pliers, or screwdriver), you’ll see that concrete pit that contains your water meter. This is called a meter pit, meter box, or meter vault. Outdoor meters like this measure all of the water coming into your home from the street.

If you don’t see it there, go into your basement or garage. In cold-weather areas, where it’s best to have the meter inside, you will find it next to the main water shutoff valve.

Some people have both indoor and outdoor meters (dual water meters). One measures the water used in the house while the other measures the water used on your property.

Keep in mind, the meter pit might have shrubs, vegetation, or grass that has grown over it. So you might have to poke around the yard to find it and then uncover the lid.

where is my water meter - in front yard
Typically, especially in more modern homes and developments, you’ll find the water meter in the front yard near the curb. In older homes or in rental units, you might also find it in the basement, garage, or even in a utility closet.

How Do I Read My Water Meter?

Water volume is measured in gallons or cubic feet. If your meter uses cubic feet, you need to know that 1 cubic foot equals 7.48 gallons.

So, if your meter registers 10 cubic feet of water, it means you’ve used 74.8 gallons. 100 cubic feet is 748 gallons. And 1000 cubic feet is 10,000 gallons.

How to Read a 6-Dial Round-Reading Water Meter

  • Start at the dial labeled 100,000 and note the smaller of the 2 digits nearest the pointer.
  • Keep in mind that the pointerss move alternately counterclockwise and clockwise from one dial to the next.
  • In the same way, read the dials labeled 10,000, 1,000, 100, and 10 in that order.
  • The 5 digits you read off each dial, written consecutively, provide the current reading on your meter in cubic feet.
  • The 6th dial, labeled “one foot,” is used only to detect leaks.
where is my water meter - 6 dials vs digital
This is the difference between a 6-dial meter and a more modern digital readout meter.

How to Read a 5-Dial Round-Reading Water Meter

  • The major difference between this meter and the one above is that the 1-cubic–foot flow is indicated by a long pointer that sweeps the outer edge of the meter face instead of by a small individual dial.
  • Otherwise, the meter is read in the same way.
  • Write down the dial figures one by one, starting with the 100,000 dial.
where is my water meter - 5 dials

How to Read a Straight-Reading Water Meter

  • Write down the number you see. You’ll need to refer back to it later.
  • Note the position of the dial. There are 9 numbers on the face of this display.
  • For every cubic foot of water that flows, the long pointer will move from one number to the next. Every complete revolution is one gallon.
  • Go back to your paper. The last digit on the display is always a zero. Its value is the number the dial is pointing to. Add this number to your reading.
where is my water meter - measure in gallons
This type of meter measures gallons.
where is my water meter - measure in cubic feet
This meter measures water flow in cubic feet.

One gallon or one cubic foot of water passes through the water meter as the sweep hand moves from one number to the next (e.g., 0 to 1). A complete rotation equals 10 gallons or 10 cubic feet depending on the unit measured. Most analog dials have a low-flow indicator that turns as water moves through the water meter. This typically looks like a small triangle (shown), star or gear.

Can My Water Meter Detect a Leak?

Did you know your water meter can help you find a leak? It can. Most people who look at their water bills closely will notice more water being used in the summer due to lawn sprinkling, swimming pools, and gardening.

But what if you’re in another part of the season, or your summer doesn’t have much of that? If you notice your bill continuing to increase, you can check the water meter for clues. Here’s how.

  • Make sure no one in your house is using water (don’t run laundry, take a shower, etc.).
  • Open the lid to your meter box. Watch out for spiders and animals using it as shelter.
  • Now look at your water meter and find the leak indicator. This is the small triangle-shaped dial or the small wheel that rotates when water is being used.
  • If the dial is moving, chances are, you have a leak.
  • Call a plumber to help you find the leak and make the repairs.

Final Thoughts

So, I hope we’ve provided a meaningful answer to, “where is my water meter?”. It could save you lots of money on your water bill.

Call 1-Tom-Plumber

Don’t hesitate to contact us here or call us at 1-Tom-Plumber (1-866-758-6237) if you have leaking, increasingly high water bills, or need a water meter repaired.

1-Tom-Plumber’s certified team of plumbers and drain technicians respond immediately to any emergency plumbing, drain cleaning, or water damage problem. We also handle the excavation of underground water lines and sewer main lines. Our immediate-response team is available every day and night of the year, even on holidays.

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