How to Read a Water Meter for Leaks: Your Complete Guide

How to Read a Water Meter for Leaks
  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: August 21, 2023
  • Updated On: August 21, 2023

Do you suspect you might have a plumbing leak in your home? There are a bunch of different ways in which you can confirm your suspicions.

For example, you might be able to see a plumbing leak with your own two eyes. If you have seen a leaky faucet or leaky pipes in your house, that’ll be all the evidence you need.

You can also consult your water bill when you’re wondering, “Is there a leak in my home?” It might suggest you have home leaks.

Learning how to read a water meter for leaks is an effective way to identify the presence of leaks, too. As long as you know what you should look for when reading your water meter, it can be a very useful tool.

Here are several water meter reading tips that’ll help you utilize your water meter in your search for plumbing leaks.

Locate Your Water Meter

Do you know where the water meter is situated in your home? If not, the first thing you’ll need to do is find it. More often than not, it’s going to be set up in a basement or utility closet or hidden away in another part of your home.

As a homeowner, you should try to figure out where things like your water meter are as soon as you move into a house. You’ll likely need to look at it from time to time. So it’ll be good for you to know where it is to put yourself in a position to get to it quickly when necessary.

Turn Off the Water in Your Home

Once you’re able to find the water meter in your home, it should be simple enough to figure out how to read a water meter for leaks. But before you begin trying to read it, you’ll need to make sure you don’t have any water turned on in your home.

You should walk around your house and see to it that there aren’t any faucets turned on. You should also turn off things like your washing machine and tell everyone in your home to avoid flushing any toilets for the time being.

If there is any water turned on in your home while you’re reading your water meter, it might lead you to believe that you have a leak when you really don’t. See to it that you’ve shut off all the water in your house before proceeding.

Look at the Flow Indicator on Your Water Meter

After you’ve turned off all the water in your home, you can make your way to your water meter to start reading it. Once you’re standing in front of it, you should look for the flow indicator on it.

Oftentimes, the flow indicator will be a small triangular gauge that will spin around when there is water moving through the plumbing pipes in your home. Ideally, you’ll want to see your flow indicator sitting still when all the water is turned off in your house.

If you see that this flow indicator is still spinning even though you don’t have any water turned on, that means you likely have a leak somewhere in your plumbing system. Even if it’s only spinning a little, this isn’t going to be a great sign.

Figure Out How Quickly Water Is Leaking

In addition to reading your water meter to see if you have leaks in your house, you should also try to get a sense of how much water might be leaking. You can do this by seeing how much water your plumbing system uses over the course of about an hour or so.

There should be a set of numbers on your water meter that show how much water your system has used in gallons. Jot down that number and then walk away for approximately 60 minutes before coming back to see where that number is at now.

You should be able to do some simple math to see how many gallons of water are leaking in your home per hour. Hopefully, this number won’t be too high. But even if it’s on the lower side, it’s still going to suggest that you have a leak that should be fixed fast.

Arrange to Have a Plumbing Leak Fixed ASAP

If you’re able to figure out how to read a water meter for leaks and see that there seems to be a leak in your plumbing system, fixing it right away will be your only option. If you fail to fix even a small leak, it could eventually lead to damage being done to your home. It could also result in mold and mildew growing in different parts of your house.

Contact these local plumbers for all your leak detection needs. They’ll be able to find the source of your plumbing problem so that they can make the necessary repairs right away.

Continue to Check Back on Your Water Meter

Since you’ll know how to read a water meter for leaks at the end of this process, it would be worth getting into the habit of doing it routinely. Every so often, you should sneak down to wherever your water meter is located and take a quick look at it when you know there isn’t any water running in your home.

If your flow indicator is still, you’ll know you don’t have any home leaks to worry about. But if it’s spinning around, it’ll indicate you need to bring plumbers back out to your home to help you again.

Knowing How to Read a Water Meter for Leaks Is Important

Now that you know how to read a water meter for leaks, you should prepare to use it to your advantage all the time. It could help you stop a small plumbing leak from turning into a big one.

It could also help you keep your water bill under control. You won’t have to be worried about getting hit with a huge water bill anymore.

Read more interesting plumbing-related articles by browsing through everything else our blog has to offer.

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.