How do I read my water meter?


All of the water meters in Dennis record the amount of water in gallons. Your water meter has a set of dials, similar to the odometer of a car, that rotate as water passes through the meter, whether used or lost. Most water meters are located in the basement. The little square or round black device that is on the outside of your home can only be read with computerized readers.

Simply read the numbers to know how many gallons of water you have used since the last reading. In the illustrated example, the meter indicates that 740,620 gallons of water have been used. This number represents a starting point. The meter reading you write down should be more than the reading that printed on your water bill. At the end of the day, week or month, read the meter again. Subtract new reading from the previous reading to find out how gallons passed through the meter.

The meter reading that appears on the water bill is read and billed in thousands of gallons only. The meter reading in the example below would appear as “740” representing 740,000 gallons.

The meter features include a sweep hand and the numbers 0-9 arranged clockwise around the face, as shown in the illustration. The “zero” that is painted on the face does not move. Each number on the clock face represents a single gallon. One revolution of the sweep hand represents ten gallons of water used and the first moving number will increase by one.

The small red triangle (or other small red shape) on the meter is a leak indicator. To determine a leak, turn off all water. If the triangle is moving, water is going through the meter, which indicates that a leak is possible.

Customers are encouraged to monitor their meter readings on a regular basis. To determine if there is a possible leak, write down the meter readings before going to bed at night or before leaving for a day. Include all the numbers on the “odometer” and draw a picture of the sweep hand location showing the single gallons. Do not run a dishwasher, laundry or sprinkler line or flush a toilet during the night. Write down the new reading the next morning and subtract the prior reading. If there has been any change it is probably due to a leak, most likely the toilet.

Toilet leaks usually run undetected for quite some time before a homeowner hears or sees the water entering or leaving the toilet bowl. Put some food coloring or testing tablets in the tank and then wait to see if any color appears in the bowl. If it does, the flapper valve needs to be replaced.

According to the American Water Works Association, a leaking toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons per day. That’s 36,500 gallons over a six-month period.

Please contact our office if you have any additional questions regarding your water meter readings. 508-398-3351 or on our website.