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How to Read Your Meter

straight meter readingWe use two types of water meters: the straight-reading meter which resembles the mileage odometer in an automobile, and the round-reading meter which has clock-like dials. Both record water use in cubic feet. We bill in units of 100 Cubic Feet; 1 UNIT EQUALS 748 GALLONS.

Straight-Reading Meter
Reading this type of meter is simple. The numbers area read from left to right. The last two digits ON THE RIGHT, whether movable or painted on the face, are rounded off to the closest unit. IN FIGURE #1, THE METER READS 817. The large sweep hand is used only for testing purposes and leak detection. If you used 10 units of water over the next billing period, the next meter reading would be 827, as shown in Figure #2. Your bill would be based on the difference between the two readings.

Round-Reading Meter
The round-reading meter has several dials in a circle and is a little more difficult to read. The dials are in multiples of ten and are read much like a clock, except that the hand on every other dial turns counterclockwise. To tell which way one hand goes, look to see which way the numbers are printed around the dial.

round reading meterTo read the meter in Figure #3, begin with the "100,000" dial and read each dial around the meter to the "1,000" dial. The "100" and "10" dials are rounded off. The "One" foot hand is a test hand and is not read. If a hand is between two numbers, use the lower number. The meter is Figure #3 reads 806. If you used 15 units of water over the next billing period, the next meter would be 821, as shown in Figure #4.

Use Your Meter to Check for Leaks
With all your water fixtures shut off, watch the "one" foot hand (on the round-reading meter) or the large sweep hand (on the straight-reading meter).

  • If there is movement, water is going through the meter.
  • If the water usage is intermittent, this usually means the flush ball in your toilet leaks.
  • If there is continuous usage and all of your water fixtures are shut off, shut off your main house valve. Often the house valve is located just inside your basement in a straight line from the meter.
  • If the hand continues to move, you may have a leak in the housepipe between the water meter and your house valve.

Repairs of leaks on the property are the customer's responsibility. For further assistance in reading your meter, please call (415) 551-3000.

Last updated: 6/16/2011 12:30:23 PM