How To Read Your Meter
General Water Meter Information

Water usage is billed by how many units are used during the billing cycle (A billing unit is 100 cubic feet of water, or about 750 gallons). Knowing exactly how much water you use on a regular basis could help you significantly reduce your water usage. Once you know how much you’re using, you're able to use that data to make meaningful changes in your consumption.

The first step in reading your meter is to locate it in your house. The meter is usually located whenever the water service enters the house and generally in the basement or a utility room. KCWA has two kinds of meters. Open the cover to determine if you have an analog or digital meter. Once you have located your meter, follow the steps below to read your meter. After you read your meter, remember to carefully replace the meter box cover.

If you’ve ever read a car odometer, you have a head start on how to read your water meter. Regularly reading your meter can help you catch and stop costly leaks, gain insight into how much water individual tasks use and estimate your water use for a given week or month. Helpful tips for reading your meter include:
Analog Displays

Read your meter left to right, like an odometer on a car.

The white numbers on the “odometer” measure water in cubic feet. KCWA bills by the cubic foot of water used. One cubic foot of water is about 7.5 gallons. The white numbers are what you are billed for. The numbers in black measure in units smaller.The numbers in black measure in units smaller than one cubic foot. The black numbers on the dial are not used for billing purposes but are helpful in measuring smaller water usage or leaks.

Locate the decimal point. The numbers to the left represent the total cubic feet of water and the numbers to the right represent the partial cubic feet. The numbers in the sweep hand are placed last. The meter shown here reads 2.5288 cubic feet. Use the sweep hand to determine small water leaks. First, turn off all the water in the house. If the sweep hand is moving, you may have a small leak.

The most common type of small leak is in a toilet. To learn about testing for a leak, read our Conservation Page regarding how to test for a leak.
Digital Displays

Located on the face of the meter is a solar panel and display. Shine a flashlight on the solar panel to wake up the meter. (The flashlight function on a cell phone is not strong enough to activate the display.)

The meter serial number will display first, then after a few seconds the meter read will show. The display will cycle between the current read (in cubic feet) and the flow rate (in gallons).

To check for hidden leaks, such as a leaking irrigation system, shut off all the water in your house and yard. Look at the upper left corner of the meter display. A graphic of a faucet may be displayed as highlighted in the image.

If the faucet is flashing indicates that water was being used during 50 of the possible 96 15-minute recorded intervals within the last 24 hours. This does not necessarily indicate that a leak is present but shows the frequency of water use. If the faucet is solid (not flashing), it indicates that water was being used continuously over the last 24 hours. Also, in the display, the flow rate should be 0 and the current usage should not be changing.

The most common type of small leak is in a toilet. To learn about testing for a leak, read our Conservation Page regarding how to test for a leak.
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  Phone: (401) 821-9300
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PO Box 192
West Warwick, RI 02893-0192
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