Your water meter measures the amount of water used in your household. The readings from your water meter are used by the City to determine how much you are charged on your water bill. (Please see "How to Read Your Water Bill" if you have trouble understanding your bill). You can read the meter yourself to verify your bill, monitor your water use, or check for suspected leaks. This page will teach you how to read your own water meter and utilize the information it can provide.
First, you will need to locate your water meter. It is usually located near the street on the front of your property under a metal lid. Open the lid and examine the face of the meter. It should look similar to this:
There are several features on each meter face. The most significant feature is the digital read-out, which is what the City uses to determine your consumption. Reading this part of the meter is very similar to reading the mileage on your car's odometer. The digital numbers are read from left to right. The last two digits are usually white on a black background. In the sample picture above, the meter would be read at 532,611 cubic feet (cf). If you wanted to measure your consumption yourself, record this reading along with the date the reading was taken, then re-read the meter in a few days or weeks. The next time you read the meter, the reading should be higher than your previous reading, assuming you have used any water since the previous reading. Subtract your initial reading from your current reading to determine your consumption for the time period between the two reading dates. Note: 1 cubic foot is approximately equal to 7.48 gallons of water. If, when verifying your bill, you find your meter reading to be lower than your billed reading, call Durham One-Call at (919) 560-1200 to report a possible mis-read of your meter.
The meter also has a sweep hand. The sweep hand simply records information to the one tenth decimal place. A full rotation of the sweep hand causes the right-most digital number to increase by by one. In the sample above, the hand is just past the two, or 0.2.
The final important feature of your meter is the leak detector. In the picture above, it is a small (usually red colored) triangle, but in other meters may be diamond shaped. This detects small volumes of water that may be passing through your meter. If there is water passing through your meter, the leak detector will be turning counter-clockwise. The more water that flows through the meter, the faster the leak detector will turn. For slight leaks, you may have to watch the leak detector for a few minutes to see any movement. If you suspect a leak, turn off all the water in your home and watch the leak detector on your meter. If the detector reveals a leak, locate and and repair the leak immediately.