Meter & Leaks

Where is my water meter?

The water meter can be located inside the home (usually in the basement or garage) or outside the home in a meter pit. If the home has a basement, you should check inside the basement on the outside wall facing the street. For some homes, the water meter will be located outside in a meter pit.

What does my water meter look like?

There are three basic models of water meters used for homes. They are all manufactured by Sensus – SR, SR-II, and IPerl. The pictures below will help to identify which meter you have.

Enlarged version of the Sensus Display on the Meter.


Picture of Sensus “iPerl” Display and Meter


How do  I read my meter?

Locate your water meter – The meters shown in the pictures above are typical for most homes in our service area.  The older meters are bronze in color.  The iPerl meters are gray with green and black on the bottom.  The meter will have a straight-read dial, like an odometer in a car.

Read your water meter – Always read the dial from left to right.  We bill in units of 1,000 gallons.  Your water bill is determined by subtracting the last reading from the current reading.

Water Leaks

Repairing water leaks is a great way to reduce the use of water that’s being wasted.  

It’s Only a Small Drip…Right?

Slow drips of water can add up quickly.  A toilet that “keeps running” after you flush or a sink that drips after it is turned off can waste thousands of gallons of water a year. If the drip is hot water, you are paying for wasted energy too.  Fix leaks as soon as you find them.   

A “Running” Toilet Leak

Toilet leaks can range from small to large, constant or random.  Many are even silent. Even a small, silent leak can easily waste $50 per year in water and sewer costs.  Large leaks can waste much more. Fortunately, most toilet leaks are relatively easy to fix.  In a properly functioning toilet, no water should move from the tank to the bowl, unless the toilet is being flushed.  A leaking toilet loses water from the tank to the bowl without being flushed.

Checking for a leaky toilet:

Remove the tank lid.  (This is clean water until it enters the bowl.)

Add some food coloring, cup of black coffee or a dye tablet to turn the water a different color.  Put the tank lid back on.

After about 30 – 60 minutes, look in the bowl. If you see colored water, you have a leak.  If the water is clear, water is not leaking from the tank to the bowl.

If you do have a leak, there are a number of possible causes.  If you remove the tank lid and can easily identify the cause, correct the problem and try your leak test again. Consider that “fixes” such as bending the float back to shape, or adjusting how the rubber flapper falls, often end up failing soon afterward.  In most cases, you will simply want to replace the toilet flapper (the rubber thing at the bottom of the tank that keeps water in the tank) and /or the filling mechanism.  These are available at hardware stores and home centers for about $8 each.

Leaking Faucets

A leaking faucet is frequently the result of a bad rubber washer. The washer on a sink is typically located under the handle.  A washer is relatively easy to replace, if you have the right tools.  It does require shutting off the water under the sink, and removing the handle.  

Check local home centers or the Internet (keywords “repairing leaky faucets”) for instructions on how to repair faucet leaks.  If you don’t feel comfortable doing the repair yourself, a plumber may be your best option.  Remember, even if you have to pay a plumber to fix the leak, you will end up saving money in the long run.  

Have a High Bill, But Don’t See a Leak?

You may have a leak and not know it.  The best indication will be a high bill compared to your previous usage.  There are often two reasons for mysterious water leaks: a leaking toilet or a leak between the meter and the house.  A leaking toilet is the most common cause.  Outdoor leaks are rare with the exception of an outdoor faucet that may have frozen over the winter.  The first step is to determine whether you have a leak, or are you using more water than you expected.  Many customers are surprised how much water can be used for activities such as watering the lawn or washing the car.  Below are instructions for checking for mysterious water leaks.

Checking Your Meter for Mysterious Water Leaks

Locate the water meter.  It is usually located in the basement of a dwelling. The water meter is your indicator of water use.  When water is not being used, the numbers on the meter should not move.  Most meters have a small “leak detector” arrow, which senses the lower volumes of water common with leaks.

Turn off every item which uses water inside and outside the home or building.

Check the meter.  Watch the meter for a minute or more.  If the leak detector dial or arrow is moving, you have a leak.  You may want to check the main meter reading (numbers) at a set time, and come back an hour later, after you know no water has been used.  If it has a higher reading, there is a leak. If you suspect a toilet may be the culprit, turn the water off from the toilet shut-off valve.

Confirm the location of the leak.  If the main shut-off is closed and the meter has stopped, the leak is not between the meter and the building.  If the meter still runs with the main water shut off, your leak is between the meter and the building.  Since outdoor leaks are relatively rare, be sure to double-check that all indoor fixtures and outdoor hose and irrigation lines are off.  Call a plumber to fix underground leaks.