Every home and business has a water meter to measure the amount of water used by a property which is used to calculate a monthly utility bill. Meters can be located in various locations throughout a home or business, but generally will be located in the laundry room or furnace areas.
The City generally uses two types of meters in a home. The AccuStream meter has a gray top with a black body and green base. The iPerl meter has a predominately gray box with a green and black base. Both types of meters have a tan box connected by wire that will be attached to a pipe or wall in fairly close proximity.
Both types of meters can easily be read by a consumer. Each has a cover that will flip open to show a digital display. The images below show both types of meters with their covers open showing the digital display.
The City bills in 1,000 gallon increments, but the meters register usage down to 1/100 of a gallon. The monthly utility bill will only display usage in 1,000 gallon increments. A meter reading of 0,002,456.92 will be shown on the monthly bill as 2 units for 2,000 gallons used. The following month, the previously billed reading will be compared to a current reading to register usage for the month. A meter will not increment unless water is passing through it.
If the digital display is incrementing up and no one in the home is running water there is a leak in the plumbing. Since the digital display records down to 1/1,000 of a gallon even the smallest leaks can be detected. If you notice a leak, get it fixed to conserve water and avoid increases in water bills. Leaks can occur in many difference places and generally the significant leaks are not easily visible. The most commons leaks are with toilets and water softeners. Some toilet models have a rubber flapper in the tank that opens when flushed. As the rubber flapper ages it may crack or no longer seat correctly. This allows water to seep into the bowl and down the drain. As the water level drains down in the tank the toilet automatically refills. Thousands of gallons of water can be lost each month from a leaky toilet.
Another area for a significant leak is a water softener. Softeners need to be set correctly and will "regenerate" on regular basis as needed. Please refer to an owner's manual for proper settings to ensure it is functioning correctly. All water softeners will have a drain hose going to a nearby drain as shown by the diagram below. Water will typically only flow down the drain when the softener is regenerating. If the drain hose has water constantly running it is malfunctioning and needs repair. There is a potential of a very substantial amount of water that would be leaking down the drain if the softener is not working properly.