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.

Water Meter Problems FAQ

What are the common faults of the water meter?

Water meters can experience all sorts of problems that will affect the water pressure in your home, the amount of the water bills, and other factors.

The meter itself could develop a leak or it could become damaged due to weather or impact from another object, such as a fallen tree limb or a rock.

A clog or a leak anywhere on the main water line can also affect the water meter.

Can a water meter get clogged?

Pipes run to and from the water meter and these pipes can absolutely get clogged. A clog near the water meter will affect how well the water meter functions and could create noticeable problems elsewhere with your household plumbing.

Why is my water meter spinning when not using water?

If you are not using any water anywhere on your property but the water meter is still spinning around as if water is being used, this is a strong indicator that you have a leak. When no faucets are turned on, the water meter should be almost perfectly still or completely still.

Can a water meter be reset?

Water meters are never reset. The water meter records how much water is used on your property and these readings are used by your water company to determine how much you need to pay on your bill.

As such, resetting or attempting to reset the water meter or to change the way it records information in any way is against the law and anyone who is caught doing this could face criminal action.

Can you calibrate a water meter?

Water meters need to be re-calibrated from time to time but this is only done by water company professionals.

Homeowners should not attempt to recalibrate or otherwise change the way the water meter records information in any way, as this could be seen as an attempt to falsify readings in order to pay a cheaper water bill, even when this is not the case.