Did you get nailed by an unexpectedly high water bill? Do you want to make sure that the bill actually matches your consumption?
Water meters could malfunction, break, or leak and cause wrong reading. However, you won’t know for sure unless you find them. But where is the water meter located?
You can find water meters in a box on the public footpath near your home. If your home has a garden, you could also find the meter box there. Additionally, the meter can also be under the kitchen sink in the case of apartments.
To make water meters easier to find, you must first understand what they look like.
What Do Water Meters Look Like?
Water meters are cylindrical devices that have the dimensions of tuna cans. These devices are connected to your main water supply, and their job is to monitor your water consumption by displaying certain numbers.
On the meter, you can see those numbers or digits commonly colored red and black. The black numbers represent the bulk of your consumption in cubic feet, while the red ones represent tens of cubic feet.
Where Is Water Meter Located?
Depending on where you live, there are a few places where your water meter could be:
In the Public Footpath
The public footpath outside your house or residence is the most common place for water meters. Just look for any pipes hanging on the walls or the meter box on the ground.
Once you find the meter box, open it, and you’ll find the device that fits the abovementioned description.
Under the Kitchen Sink
Occasionally, you may find the water meter under the kitchen sink. It could also be present near the main water tap.
The main water tap is the one that stops the water flow to your house if you close it.
In an Underground Box in the Garden
If your house has a garden, there’s a good chance that you may find your water meter buried there.
It’s not buried directly in the soil, though. Instead, look for a fuse box-like structure in the ground, and you should find a pipe inside that the meter is attached to.
How to Read the Water Meter?
We’ve mentioned earlier that water meters have black and red numbers on display in addition to a spinning leak indicator, but how do these contribute to anything?
Reading the Meter
There are 6 numbers in total. 4 black ones to the left and 2 red ones to the right. Generally, you shouldn’t bother reading the 2 red ones as they indicate minor amounts of water that won’t contribute much to the water bill.
What you should write down are the black ones. This is because the 3 black digits constitute the bulk of your water usage, and they’re the ones that decide the billing cost.
You’ll need to subtract this month’s usage from the past month’s usage to know the current reading.
For example, if last month’s reading was 10,000 cubic feet, and this month’s reading was 10,600 cubic feet, then you’ve used 600 cubic feet.
Calculating the Cost
Typically, most water meters in the United States measure using cubic feet or gallons. For reference, 1 cubic foot = 7.48 gallons.
Referring to our example, if you have used 600 cubic feet, you’ve used 4488 gallons of water this month.
Based on the average price of water in the U.S., which is $1.50 per 1,000 gallons, our example of water usage will cost $6.73 a month.
Both the water price and water consumption will vary between different states. Check this chart if you want more details.
Understanding the Leak Indicator
The leak indicator is a small spindle or triangle-shaped spinner that rotates as the water flows through the pipes.
Typically, the leak indicator rotates all the time since there’s always water flowing through the pipes. However, if you suspect a leak, this indicator can help confirm that suspicion.
Go back to your house and close the main water tap, then make sure that every water source or water-based electronic device is switched off.
Wait for 15 minutes and come back to your water meter. You’re good to go if the leak indicator isn’t spinning. If it’s spinning, then you have a leak somewhere.
What Are the Types of Water Meters?
Here are the different types of water meters you can find in the United States:
Positive Displacement Meters (PD Meters)
PD meters are most commonly used in residents, houses, and small commercial units.
These meters are designed for low to medium water flows and can accurately measure the amount of water passing through the pipes.
Electromagnetic Water Meters
Electromagnetic or mag meters are designed to have low maintenance costs. This is because they don’t have any moving parts to measure the water flow through the pipes.
Instead, mag meters create a magnetic field inside the pipe. When water flows, it creates a voltage signal which is picked up and measured by the meter.
Mag meters aren’t as accurate as PD meters, but both of them follow our tuna can description. However, electromagnetic meters typically show the numbers on digital screens.
Velocity Flow Meters
Velocity flow meters use the speed of the water to calculate the flow. In short, the faster the speed, the more water in the pipe, and the more consumption the meter measures.
There are three types of velocity flow meters; jet meters, turbine flow meters, and compound water meters.
Keep in mind that velocity flow meters don’t follow our water meter description. Instead, most velocity flow meters have a square-shaped digital screen that displays the numbers.
Ultrasonic Water Meters
Ultrasonic water meters are advanced meters that use ultrasound to measure water flow in the pipes.
These meters are the only meters that give an accurate measurement in real-time. They follow our tuna can description, but the numbers are written on a digital screen instead of an analog counter.
You’ve Reached the End
Where is the water meter? Look in the public footpath, the garden, or under the sink. The meter should look like a lid-covered tuna can connected to a pipe.
Open the lid, note down the four numbers on the left, and that’s your reading for the month.
Constantly save the readings every month to keep track of the water bills. You don’t want to pay much more than you like.