Fix a Leak Week: Read Your Water Meter to Detect Leaks

by | Mar 20, 2015 | Blog | 0 comments

This week, March 16-22, is Fix A Leak Week 2015. Started by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to raise awareness about household plumbing leaks and their negative impact on both the environment and your wallet.

The True Cost of a Plumbing Leak

As you can see from the infographic above, the average home could discretely be losing thousands of gallons of water every year.

According to the EPA:

  • The average household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year, or the amount of water needed to wash 270 loads of laundry.
  • Household leaks can waste more than 1 trillion gallons annually nationwide. That’s equal to the annual household water use of more than 11 million homes.
  • Ten percent of homes have leaks that waste 90 gallons or more per day.
  • Common types of leaks found in the home include worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and other leaking valves. All are easily correctable.
  • Fixing easily corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10 percent on their water bills.
  • Keep your home leak-free by repairing dripping faucets, toilet flappers, and showerheads. In most cases, fixture replacement parts don’t require a major investment.

The EPA is right! You can spend about 10-30 minutes going around your home fixing leaks, such as worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, loose aerators, and other leaking plumbing fixtures.

Before you begin to seal your plumbing leaks, it’s a good idea to know if you even have them. Obvious signs, such as water and drips are clear enough, but you may have other leaks that you don’t even know about. To can detect leaks in your home by doing a simple test involving your water meter.

How to Read Your Water Meter to Detect Leaks

Step 1: Find your water meter!

There are several places that your water meter could be hiding, you water meter will most likely be located in an underground box near the front curb of your home

Once you have found your water meter, you can pry the lid off with a long, strong screwdriver. Stand back because their might be some disturbed creatures trying to escape. If there are spiderwebs or other bugs, use your screwdriver to break them up. use a rag to clean off the water meter numbers and dials.

Pry Water Meter Lid

Source: prettyhandygirl

Step 2: Turn off all faucets and water-using appliances in the home.

Make sure that when you are reading your water meter for leaks that no water is flowing anywhere in or around your home. Double-check sprinklers, irrigation systems, washers, and ice-makers.

Step 3: Know how to read your water meter.

How to Read Water Meter

Source: horizonutilities

Your water meter is fairly easy to read. The three main components are your low flow indicator (looks like a star, triangle, or gear), sweep hand (usually a long red hand), and odometer (spinning numbers).  One complete rotation of the the sweep hand measures 10 gallons or cubic feet of water used. Once you know what each component of your water meter does, you can begin the leak detection test.

Step 4: Observe the water meter readings

After triple-checking that no water is being used in or around your home, observe the sweep hand – if it is moving, you have a leak. Next, inspect the low flow indicator – if it is moving, you have a leak.

The low flow, or leak, indicator moves slowly for small leaks and faster for larger ones. Very small leaks may not be picked up by your water meter. If you think you have a leak, but your leak indicator and sweep hand are not moving, write down the odometer reading and come back to your water meter in about 30 minutes to re-record the odometer reading. If the difference between the two readings is greater than zero, you have a small leak to take care of.

If you are having trouble locating your water meter or finding and fixing your leaks, don’t hesitate to give the plumbing experts at Boulden Brothers a call. We are experts in leak detection and plumbing repairs and replacements. A live support team is available 24/7 for whatever problem you have – (302) 368-3848.

If you have a running or leaking toilet, read:

How to Fix a Leaking Toilet

For more tips on finding and fixing leaks in your home, this is the best resource we found: SmartHomeWaterGuide.org


It can be a huge inconvenience when a leak springs. No matter what type of plumbing services you need, Boulden Brothers is the best choice in the Wilmington & Dover, DE area. We know bathrooms and have the skilled plumbers on staff to tackle any installation, maintenance, or repair job.

If you have any further questions on how to detect and fix leaks in your home, talk to the licensed, trained technicians at Boulden Brothers.

Visit us on our websiteFacebook, Twitter, and Google+ or give us a call at (302) 368-3848 for more information on maintaining a Green, energy-efficient home. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you might have.

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