Water Meters 101: What Is That Thing, Anyway?
Basics on reading your own water meter
Likely, in the basement of your house, along the wall that faces the street, you’ll be able to find your water meter.
It is a dial with numbers that looks a lot like manual odometers in cars used to, before they went digital. Those numbers count the number of gallons you’re using, instead of the miles you traveled.
Don’t be alarmed if the number is unusually big. That meter has been counting gallons since it was installed, and that’s, maybe, several decades.
Importantly, there is a little red triangle at the left-center of the dial. If it’s moving in a circular motion, there’s some water moving through your pipes.
The red triangle will give you an indication of how much water is moving, too. The speed at which it spins indicates how much water is being brought into your house.
For example, a trickle from a sink not entirely turned off, such as in the video example, will cause the triangle to move slowly. Someone taking a shower will cause the triangle to move at light-speed.
It's almost like the second-hand of a clock, the red triangle. It causes the dial that circles the meter almost like a clock face to move around the meter, measuring gallons. Once that has moved a sufficent number of times around, the number to the far right of the meter will turn one click -- that is to say, it will move from, for example "1" to "2.'' That's one hundred gallons.
Once the hundreds number hits 9, it will turn the number to its immediate left one click -- that is, from, say, "1" to "2" -- as it turns back to zero. That's 1,000 gallons.
If all running water is off in your house, the triangle should not be moving at all. If all water use is off and your triangle is still moving, chances are you just found a leak somewhere in the system. You may need a plumber.
There are a few wires attached to the meter that will lead outside your house where they attach to the outside meter reader. That's where the township employees will affix their reading equipment and read your water meter without having to come inside.