Troubleshooting Common Water Meter Problems

A water meter

Problems with water meter readings and function can stem from a variety of sources. It is important you are aware of your regular water consumption for such activities as running the dishwasher, laundry, showers, and watering your lawn or garden to help you detect problems with your water meter. Learn how to monitor your water meter to detect and correct problems with it quickly from the tips below.

Know Your Water Usage in Gallons and Cubic Feet

Your water meter will show on its measurement gauge whether it reads in cubic feet or gallons. If your water meter measures in cubic feet, multiply the meter reading by 7.48 to convert to gallons. Run your water hose and watch the water meter at the same time to determine how much water you use to water your lawn in half an hour. Check the water meter when someone in your house is taking a shower, and when a load of laundry is done from start to finish, to work out your average water consumption. Check each flush of each toilet, as they can use a great deal of water in a day. Add these water amounts up for a week, and then check the water meter again to see how close you were to estimating your water usage.

Check for Leaks in Your Water System

Most water meters have a leak gauge that you can check. To perform a leak test, shut off all the taps, and ensure no one is using the washing machine or dishwasher, or flushing the toilet. Make a note of the position of the "leak triangle" on the water meter. Make sure no one uses any water in your home for 20 minutes and check the water meter leak gauge again. If it has not moved from its first position, your water system has few or no leaks. If you note that it has moved, you will need to check all pipes, taps, and hose connections for leaks. Don't forget the toilet tank.

Other Causes of Water Meter Problems

Many other reasons besides leakage can cause problems with the water meter reading. These include low water pressure, sudden surges of water pressure, air in the water pipes, or a problem with a valve in one of your plumbing fixtures. There may also be a fault in the pressure regulator in the water meter itself. This usually shows up as very low pressure in all fixtures in the house, or if the pipes make a clanging noise or rattle when water is turned on. The public utility or water department in your municipality is responsible for the water meters, so contact them if you have these problems.

Water Meter Readings

Make sure your water meter is easily accessible to the reader. It should be clear of trees, shrubs and long grass, and should not ever be under a trailer, truck, or car in your driveway. Keep it clear of snow and ice in winter, and contact the public utility department at once if the clear plastic cover ever breaks.