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What Is Your Water Meter Telling You?

Most people don’t realize the integral role that plumbing has in the home until something goes wrong. But when you’ve suddenly got a clogged toilet or an eye-watering large utility bill, you’ll wish you paid closer attention to the warning signs.

Luckily, there’s a monitoring tool right nearby that can help out. Water meters measure how much water is flowing into your home and tell you a surprising amount about the health of your home’s plumbing. Not only that but if you learn to correctly and accurately read your water meter, you can also estimate how much your upcoming water bill is going to be – and avoid a nasty shock!

Locating and Reading Your Water Meter

Most homeowners will find the meter in a small concrete box at the front of the property, near the curb or sidewalk. Lever off the lid with a long screwdriver and you’ll be looking at one of two options:

How to Read a Digital Water Meter

These meters are often light-activated, so if any numbers don’t show up on the digital display at first, try shining a flashlight on it.

You’ll see two alternating numbers: the first, larger number is the number of gallons that have flowed through the meter since it was first installed, and the second is the number of gallons flowing through per minute.

How to Read an Analog Water Meter

Reading an analog meter is slightly less straightforward but is still not much more difficult than reading a car odometer or a clock. The large number near the center is the total number of gallons rounded down to the nearest ten, and the clock-like hand counts the single gallons from zero to 10. Simply add the numbers together to reach the final figure.

For example, if the first number reads 267,380 and the hand is pointing to 4, the total number of gallons is 267,384.

Calculating Your Water Usage

One of the main things you’ll want your water meter for is to calculate how much water you’re using per billing cycle. If this sounds like a lot of math, don’t worry! All you have to do is follow these steps:

  1. On the first day of the billing period, record the number of total gallons displayed on the meter.
  2. On the last day of the billing period, record the new number on the meter.
  3. Subtract the first number from the second number.

The figure you now have is how many gallons your household has consumed during that period of time.

Do I Have a Leak?

The other handy feature of an analog water meter is the low-flow indicator, which is generally a small rotating wheel in the shape of a crown, triangle, or star. When there’s a leak, major obstruction, or low flow of water in general, this wheel will move instead of either of the larger dials. So if you suspect you have a problem with your plumbing, this part of the meter is the one to watch.

What to Do If There’s a Problem

Whether the numbers on your meter are going up far too quickly, or your low-flow indicator has come to life, the best course of action is to immediately call one of your local plumbing companies. Then give yourself a pat on the back – you’ve just saved yourself a huge headache! Proudly serving Houston, TX, and the surrounding communities, MET Plumbing & Air Conditioning provides the best plumbing services available, from toilet repair to water heater installation. Contact us today at 281-599-3336.

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