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Here are a couple of helpful tips from your friends at Leak Detection Pros.

How to Check Your Water Meter

There are several reasons why you'd want to be able to locate and read your water meter. First, you might be interested in just how much water you use in a day. By reading your meter at the beginning and the end of the day you can compare the two totals tell how much water you and your family used. The second reason is to check for leaks. If you turn off all the taps in your house, look at your meter and it is still turning, chances are you have a leak somewhere. Here are some hints to help you find and read your water meter:

STEP 1: Locate Your Meter
Your water meter is generally located near the curb in front of your home although in some areas (usually cold climates) it may be inside your home usually in the basement. Outside meters are typically housed in a concrete box usually marked "water" or in a meter pit with a cast iron lid. Carefully remove the lid by using a tool such as a large screwdriver or pliers. Visually examine the area around the meter to make sure there are no harmful insects or other animals.

STEP 2: Read Your Water Meter
Water meters in the U.S. typically measure volume in gallons or cubic feet. One cubic foot = 7.48 gallons and 100 cubic feet = 748 gallons. Water charges are typically based on 100 cubic feet or on 1000 gallon units.

There are two basic types of water meters -- the straight-reading meter which resembles the an odometer in a car, and the round-reading meter which has several separate dials. The "straight-reading" meter is by far the most common.

Straight MeterHow to Read a Straight-Reading Meter

In the meter at the right, the reading is taken from the figures shown under the words CUBIC FEET. The meter reads 81,710, which is the total number of cubic feet of water recorded since the meter was installed. Because our charge is based on units of 100 cubic feet, the meter reader discards the last two numbers (the ones with the black background). So, this reading would actually be 817.

So, if by the time the we read your bills the next time you had used 1,200 cubic feet of water, the new reading would be 82,910 (81,710 plus 1,200). Again, we'd drop the last two numbers and your official reading would be 829. Your bill would be figured by subtracting the old number (817) from the new number (829). You would then be billed for 12 units.

It's important to note that the large sweep hand is used only for testing purposes.

Round MeterHow to Read a Round-Reading Meter

The meter in right is an older style and is much less common, however there are still some of these meters in service. This type of meter has several small dials and is a little more difficult to read than the straight-reading meter. The dials are marked off in divisions of 10, and are read much like a clock, except that the hand on every other dial turns counterclockwise.

To read this meter, begin with the 100,000 dial and read each dial around the meter to the one foot dial. If the hand is between numbers, use the lower number. Therefore, the dials at right register 806323.

Information courtesy of H2ouse.org

How to Detect a Water Leak

Flow IndicatorYour water meter is an important conservation tool. In addition to providing you with information about how much water you are using, reading your meter can also help you detect leaks in your household plumbing.

1. To check for a leak you must first turn off all faucets inside and outside of your house. Be certain the toilet is not flushed and the automatic ice cube maker is not operating when performing this task. All water-consuming appliances must be off.

2. When the water is turned off, the low flow indicator should not move. Depending on the type of meter you have, the indicator is a black, blue, or red triangle. If the indicator is spinning, you have a leak.

3. On a meter without an indicator, note the position of the meter hand and wait 15-20 minutes. Check the meter again. If it has moved, you have a leak.

Swimming Pool Bucket Leak Test

Bucket TestEvaporation is dependent on a variety of environmental and pool related conditions, (wind, water temp, dew point, barometric pressure, and other to a lesser extent). Because of this the evaporation rate can vary greatly from day to day and even pool to pool.

Before becoming too concerned about a leak you can do a simple test to determine if water loss in your swimming pool is due to a leak or is just evaporation. This simple test is called the bucket test.

Basically, the bucket test exposes water in a bucket to the same conditions as those affecting your swimming pool. By comparing the water loss in each, it is possible to determine if the pool is leaking or if supposed leaks are just the result of water being lost to the air.

Bucket Test Procedure:

  1. Bring the pool water to its normal level
  2. Fill an empty bucket with pool water to about one inch from the top of bucket. (By filling the bucket close to the top you are ensuring that air movement over the surface of the bucket will similar to that of the pool.)
  3. Place the bucket on the first or second step of the pool. To keep it from floating away it may be necessary to place a few bricks or rocks into the bucket. (By placing the bucket in the pool water you are ensuring that the water temperature of each will be similar).
  4. Mark the water level inside the bucket.
  5. Mark the water level of the pool on the outside of the bucket, on the pool wall, or skimmer face plate.
  6. Operate the pool for 24 hours as it had been operated when a leak was first suspected.
  7. After 24 hours, compare the two levels. If the pool water (outside mark) goes down more than the inside water level, there is probably a leak.