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Should My Water Meter Be Moving When No Water Is Running?

The standard water meter attached to a home is designed to precisely measure how much water is being fed through the mainline. Required for general code compliance and used to monitor and track how much utility companies should charge each house for usage, water meters can also act as a great diagnostic tool for homeowners.

The team here at Skelton’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing would like to do everything we can to make sure that our clients have the resources to understand how to take advantage of their home’s water meter to the fullest extent.

So to answer the question presented in the title: no, your water meter shouldn’t move when there is no water running in the home! If you notice your meter spinning while all of the faucets are closed, it could indicate a potential hidden water leak dripping away and causing damage in someplace unseen.

Where Is My Water Meter?

The first step in utilizing your home’s water meter to your advantage is figuring out where it’s located. Most meters are located just outside of a home, oftentimes near the curb or street. The meter might be enclosed in a metal or plastic protective box and will generally include some sort of labeling to indicate that it is a water meter.

How To Read Your Water Meter

With a little bit of information and a few key terms, reading a water meter can be as simple as reading an oven timer — and it’s the goal here at Skelton’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing to be the one-stop shop for everything you need to know.

Most modern water meters feature a simple digital readout that alternatively displays two important readouts:

  • Meter Read — Measures the total amount of water used since the meter was installed
  • Flow Rate — Measures the amount flowing through the meter at a rate per minute

What Is A Cubic Foot?

Most water meters use a unit of measurement known as “cubic feet”. Which is the amount of water that can be contained within one cubic square foot of space equalling 7.48 gallons.

How To Perform A Leak Test With Your Water Meter

Once you understand the general function of your water meter, it’s fairly simple to perform a leak test, which can be incredibly useful for identifying unseen faults in your plumbing, like a slab leak. To perform a leak test:

  • Shut off every water source, including ice makers, irrigation spigots, etc.
  • If you’re positive all water sources have been turned off, check your meter’s “flow rate”. If you’ve truly shut off every water source, any number greater than 0 will indicate a small leak.
  • Next, record the “meter read”, on your water meter. Then wait 20 minutes.
  • After the time has passed, take another reading of your water meter’s “meter read”. Subtract the 2nd reading from the 1st.
  • If the answer is anything higher than 0, this is a probable indication of a hidden water leak somewhere in the plumbing of your home.

Be Your Home’s Leader By Understanding Your Water Meter!

They say knowledge is power — and this is especially true when it comes to being aware of how much water is being used by your home. With some basic understanding of your home water meter, you move forward with confidence, knowing that detecting a potential water leak is just a simple 20-minute test away.

So when the unfortunate happens and you’ve used all of this newfound knowledge and have successfully located a sneaky leak, don’t hesitate to call the leak-detecting professionals at Skelton’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing to set you straight today!

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