How to Read a Digitial Water Meter

Written by jennifer lyons
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How to Read a Digitial Water Meter
Water meters typically measure in cubic feet, cubic meters or U.S. gallons. (water drops enters into water image by Denis Tabler from

Digital water meters are tools for measuring the amount of water used. They are common in both residential and commercial buildings to determine the course of the water through the building. The two primary ways of measuring flow in water meters are positive displacement, which records filling and displacement of water in measuring compartments, and velocity, which equates measurement of the velocity of water in a specified area with volume of water. Most water readouts are done by your water company, but you may want to begin tracking your own water use.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Water meter
  • Calculator
  • Pen
  • Paper

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  1. 1

    Locate your water meter. Water meters are can often be found outside the house in a concrete box marked "water." This is called a curb stop. You can remove the lid of the box using the leverage of a crow bar or large screwdriver. Simply insert it into one of the holes on the side and use the tool to pry the lid off. Water meters may also by located on the exterior wall of your house. Most city water meters are not digital and are owned and read by a public water provider. If this is the case, you may want to purchase your own.

  2. 2

    Purchase a digital water meter. You can find digital water meters in most home improvement and hardware stores, but if you are having trouble locating one you can order it online.

  3. 3

    Draw a graph. Decide if you plan on reading your water meter daily, weekly or monthly. Make a simple graph that has three columns; label one "Date," one "Readout" and one "Difference." Keep the graph near your water meter with a calculator for ease.

  4. 4

    Read the meter. Digital water meters are simple to read. The numbers displayed on the readout is the number of cubic feet of water. Jot this number next to the date in the "Readout" column. For the next allotted period of time, write down the date and readout number in the next row. Then simply subtract the second readout from the first readout and write it down in the "Difference" column. This is the amount of water per cubic feet you have used over that period of time.

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