Checking Your Meter for Mysterious Leaks

meter with notes

When water is not being used, nothing on the meter should be moving. Most meters also have a fine flow indicator that senses the lower volumes of water common with leaks. The fine flow indicator is usually a small triangle or diamond on the face of the meter. Follow these steps (on the next page) to use your meter to help find leaks.

Turn off all inside and outside water faucets.

Check the meter. Watch for 10 minutes. If the fine flow indicator moves clockwise, then leaks exist on your property and need to be located. In some cases, it may move back and forth slightly as water pressure in the street fluctuates. Check the main meter reading (numbers) including the location of the sweep hand, and come back an hour later after you know no water has been used. If there is a higher reading, there is a leak.

Locate the source of the leaks.

Your water meter tells you how much water you are using each month. You can monitor your meter yourself to check for leaks in your water system.


Water meters are located underground beneath a round or oval lid. Your meter may be found in a variety of locations. The most common place is between the hose bib (faucet) at the front of your house in a direct line to the street. If the house is on a corner lot, the meter could be on the side of the house. Alley locations are common in certain parts of the city as well. Remember, this is South Texas so watch for spiders and ants when opening the lid.

Your water meter has a glass face with a sweep hand and a series of numbers similar to an odometer on a vehicle. When the sweep hand makes one complete circle, then the last number in the series turns over (this represents 1 cubic foot of water or 7.48 gallons). Your water is billed in 100 cubic foot increments and that is the number (consumption) that will be reflected on your monthly bill.

Read your meter from left to right. The numbers to the right with a black background are not used in the calculation and should be disregarded. Subtract the previous meter reading (for this example, 585) from your current reading (for this example, 600). The result indicates the amount of water used (in hundreds of cubic feet) since the last meter reading. To convert this usage to gallons, multiply by 748.1.