Meter Reading and Leak Detection

Reading your water meter can help you determine if you have leaks that are wasting water, and adding unneeded dollars to your water bill. Follow these steps to read your meter if you suspect you have a leak:

1. Locate Your Meter

Your water meter can usually be found in front of your home, or in the utility easment at the back of your property. Start by following a direct line from your main outside faucet towards the street or the back of your yard. Most meters are housed in a concrete box marked “water.”

2. Remove Water Meter Cover

Carefully remove the lid using a large screw driver or similar tool. Insert the screwdriver into one of the holes and pry the lid off.

Note: It is dangerous to use only your fingers to open a meter cover – please use caution!

3. Turn Off Water

Shut off all faucets and water-consuming appliances, including evaporative coolers and ice-makers in refrigerators.

4. Read the Meter

For Analog Meters: Note Needle Position and Time

Check the needle’s position on the meter dial and note the time. Check again after 15-30 minutes. If the needle’s position has changed, you may have a leak.

For Digital Meters: Check the Flow Rate Display

A digital meter will cycle through four display screens: two screens display the current meter read, one screen displays the size and model of the meter, and another screen displays the rate of water flow through the meter – this is the one to check. When checking for leaks, look at the flow rate not the meter read display. Any flow rate reading above zero (0) indicates a leak.

5. Where's the Leak?

There are a few extra steps required to determine if the leak is inside your house, or between the water meter and the house.

  • Turn off your house valve.
  • If the needle on the water meter dial continues to move or the flow rate is anything other than zero, you may have a leak between your house and the water meter.
  • If the needle has not moved or the flow rate is zero, you may have a leak within your house.

6. Replace Cover

When you've completed your investigation of the meter, carefully replace the cover.

7. Next Steps if You Detect a Leak

If you think you have a leak, check hose connections, faucets and the toilets for water leaks.

If you have everything turned off and are sure the toilets and connections aren't leaking and yet the dials are still turning, you may have a hidden leak in an underground pipe. If you believe this is the case, you may need to call a plumber for assistance.

Locating Your Water Meter

Water meters can usually be found by following a direct line from your main outdoor valve towards the street, or towards a utility easement at the back of your property.

Locating Your Water Meter

An example of an analog water meter.

Locating Your Water Meter

An example of a digital water meter.