How to Read Your Meter & Calculate Usage
Reading and understanding your water meter is an important part of using our water resources efficiently and effectively. Accurate readings will allow you to:
- Monitor water use as closely as you like: daily, monthly, and seasonally.
- Detect leaks that may be silent or invisible.
HOW MUCH WATER IS USED?
|Inside the home……..||Outside the home…..|
|Running the tap||2-5 gallons per minute||Running the garden hose||5-10 gallons per minute|
|Taking a shower||2-7 gallons per minute||Watering 1,000 square feet of grass in summer||
850 gallons per week
|Taking a bath||20-60 gallons per bath||Watering 1,000 square feet of grass in fall||400 gallons per week|
|Washing a full load of clothes||25-40 gallons per load||Watering 1,000 square feet of low-water use shrubs in summer||450 gallons per week|
|Flushing the toilet||1.7-7 gallons per flush|
|Running an automatic
10-20 gallons per load
TO READ YOUR METER, FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE STEPS:
The water meter is usually located near the curb in front of the house or place of business. It is in the ground housed in a concrete box marked WATER. Carefully remove the meter box lid using a tool such as a large screwdriver. Visually examine the area around the meter to ensure your safety (Black Widow Spiders are known to nest in meter boxes). A cap covers the face of the meter; lift this cap to see the meter.
Reading a water meter is similar to reading an automobile odometer. Most meters have a seven-digit number on the face called the readout (see illustration). This shows the total number of gallons used since the meter was installed. When water passes through the meter, all of the numbers revolve except the last one on the right which is fixed at zero. The large sweephand registers for this last increment – revolving one time for every ten gallons used.
To calculate your water use, pick a starting point at which to read your meter; record the reading and date. A day or two later, read your meter again. Subtract the first reading from the second to find out how much water was used. For example:
Second reading ………1,168,180 gal
First reading ………… 1,167,150 gal
Water used ………….. 1,030 gal
(Note: The District charges for water by the 1,000 gallon unit. 1,030 gallons would be rounded off to 1 billing unit on your water bill.)
Read your meter on a regular basis to track water use. Keep a record of all readings. You will be able to detect trends from season to season and year to year. If your household changes in any way that affects water use (e.g. new family member, plumbing upgrade, etc.), you will be able to determine the effect of the change.
The little triangle on the face of the meter is a low flow indicator. It will rotate with even a very low flow through the meter. To check for leaks turn off all known water uses inside and outside the house. If you have an automatic icemaker, make sure it is not operating. When all water is turned off, the low flow indicator should not move.
If the low flow indicator is moving, there is water flowing somewhere on your property. Try turning off the house shut-off valve (usually located where the waterline enters the house). If the low flow indicator is still moving, there is water flowing outside the house (most likely on the irrigation system). If the low flow indicator stops moving with the house valve off, water was flowing inside the house (this could be a toilet leak, a leaky pipe, or any number of problems).
When you have finished reading the meter, put the meter cap down and carefully replace the meter box.