Have you ever looked at your water bill and thought "There is no way I could have used that much water." This might be a reason to locate and read your water meter. You might be interested in just how much water you use in a day. Another reason is to check for leaks. Here are some hints to help you find and read your water meter:
Locate Your Meter
Your water meter is generally located near the sidewalk in front of your home in a direct line with the main outside faucet. It is housed in a concrete or polyvinyl box usually marked "water" as shown in the picture on the right. Carefully remove the lid by using a tool such as a large screwdriver. Please, do not use your fingers. Visually examine the area around the meter to make sure there are no harmful insects or other animals before reaching inside the box.
While you are approaching the meter box it is a good idea to keep an eye on it. It is dark and cool inside there and sometimes bees like to build nests in the box. If you see bees coming and going from the box do not open the lid. Please call the Utilities Department at 480-503-6800 and the Town will have someone remove the hive for you.
Don't cover the meter box
In searching for your meter box, you may discover that you are unable to locate it because it is covered by grass, rocks, vegetation, construction materials, etc. It is very important to make sure that the meter box lid is uncovered and visible at all times. This will ensure accurate reads. Also, do not plant vegetation next to the meter. This will help to keep debris and roots from entering the meter box and possibly damaging the meter or the water line.
How to read the meter and check for a leak
Most homes in the Town of Gilbert will have an Invensys, Metron or Sensus meter like the ones pictured below.
The Town of Gilbert reads the meters electronically from the round black antennae that is attached to the meter box lid. This allows the Town to read the meters more efficiently and it also eliminates the possibility for human error in obtaining the meter read. For this reason it is important that you replace the meter box lid carefully when you are done making sure that you don’t pinch the wire that connects the meter to the antennae on the lid.
In order to manually read your own meter, just subtract the visual number you obtain from the meter from what is listed on the water bill to find out what your water usage is since the last read. The Town of Gilbert bills for water in increments of one thousand gallons so make sure you are just reading the meter in thousands of gallons. Because the Town reads these meters electronically the registers will often have a layer of dirt on top of them. Simply wipe it off with a wet rag and you will be able to see the face of the meter.
Each brand of meter reads slightly differently so here is how you would read each one:
On the Sensus meter the thousand gallon increments are the numbers in black with the white background. The next two digits in white with the black backgrounds are the hundreds and the tens increments. The last digit does not turn and the dial with the red pointer records ten gallons for every revolution. The numbers on the red dial each equal 1 gallon.
If you have a ¾ inch Metron meter the black numbers with the white backgrounds are the thousand gallon increments. The white number with the black background is the one hundred gallon increments and the last two digits do not turn. The red dial on the right counts for 100 gallons every revolution. The center red dial measures 10 gallons for every revolution and the red dial on the left measures one gallon for every revolution.
For the ¾ and 1 inch size Invensys meters they will record down to the tenth of a gallon increments starting from the right side of the digits. The increments go up from there just like the odometer on a car.
The 1 inch Metron meters are slightly different. To find out what size meter you have, look on your water bill and it will be listed there. For the 1" Metron meter the black numbers with the white backgrounds are still the one thousand gallon increments but now the last three digits do not turn. On this meter the red dial on the right measures one thousand gallons for every revolution. The center red dial reads one hundred gallons for every revolution and the red dial on the left reads ten gallons for every revolution.
How to check for leaks
After you find and determine what type of meter you have, you can easily check for a leak. On the Invensys meter, the red pointer is what is referred to as the leak indicator and will move in a counter-clockwise direction when water is moving through the meter. On the Sensus meter, the small black triangle located above the numbers is the leak indicator and will move in a clockwise motion when water is moving through the meter. On the Metron meter, the red asterisk is the leak indicator and it will move in a counter-clockwise direction when water is moving through the meter.
With all the water turned off in the house, there should be no movement of the pointers or the dials on any of the meters. If you have turned off all the taps in the house, and the meter appears to be turning, you may have a leak.
What do I do if my meter box is full of water?
If you open your meter box lid and you see water in your meter box, there may be a leak. Make sure no other water source like a hose dripping nearby or your sprinkler system run-off, is draining into your meter box. If there is no explainable source and your meter box is filled with water, the Water division considers this to be an issue requiring immediate attention.
For this reason no on-line request form is available. Please call the Utilities department at 480-503-6800 (Monday through Thursday, 7am-6pm) and a customer service representative with be happy to assist. After normal business hours, you may call the police non-emergency line at 480-503-6500 and a Water Meter specialist will be dispatched.
What do I do if I can't find the leak?
Before calling in that expensive plumber you can call the Water Conservation Office at 480-503-6098 and schedule a free in-home appointment with a Water Conservation Specialist. In most cases we can pinpoint the source of the leak. Then you can decide if you need that plumber or not. Many times the leaks are easily fixed with simple tools and little cost.
What do I do if the meter tells me I don't have a leak but my water use is still high?
Call the Water Conservation Office at 480-503-6098 to schedule a free in-home appointment with a Water Conservation Specialist. The Specialist will go through all the water using fixtures of the house, including the irrigation system, and almost always come up with the answer to the question of "where is all my water going"?
For additional assistance - If you still have questions regarding your water usage, please contact the Water Conservation Office at (480) 503-6098.