If you receive a water bill and you're a bit skeptical about the reading, worried you may have a leak or you're just curious, you may want to take a look at your water meter. It might look a bit complicated to interpret at first glance; however, once you understand how to read it, you'll be able to better monitor your household's water usage. Keep in mind, they don't reset it each month, so if you want to track monthly usage, you must compare it at the end of each month.
1. Remove the Cover
If your water meter is protected by a concrete box, you'll need to remove the cover using a screwdriver. Slide the tip of the screwdriver into one of the small holes on the lid and pry it up until you're able to open it the rest of the way with your fingers. If you have a cap over the meter, you'll need to lift the cap.
2. Reading the Meter
The next step to reading the meter is to actually read it. On the front of the meter, you'll notice a large dial that has a group of numbers, which are used to track the amount of water you used since your last meter reading. The units used to measure water are either gallons or cubic feet in the United States. When you read the odometer, the last two numbers represent the tens and ones place. They're usually written in white with a black background. The dial that rotates indicates the partial units. The number on the dial stands for a tenth of a unit while the tick marks determine what the hundredths unit is.
A small gear or triangle-shaped dial will appear on the face of the meter. It's an indication light to alert you if there is a suspected leak in the lines. The only way you'll be able to detect a leak is to shut off the water and notice if the dial continues to move, even when the water isn't on.