Read My Water Meter?

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Knowing how to read your meter can help you detect leaks in your home, measure the amount of water used in your household, and understand your water charges.

The following steps walk you through the process.

 two water meter boxes side by side
If you see more than one meter near your property, call us at (425) 398-4403 to verify which meter number is yours.
 Water meter face with labeled parts
Every full rotation of the red sweep hand records one cubic foot of water used. The blue leak indicator dial spins when water runs continuously. When it spins and you aren't using water on purpose, this can mean a leak somewhere.


Water meters are usually installed near the street in the right of way just at the boundary of your property. 

The meter is protected by a concrete box with a lid. Use a screwdriver to lift the metal lid. You may have to dig away some dirt - used for insulation.

The face of the meter may be covered by a black circular lid - lift this to expose the register. 

2. FIND YOUR STARTING NUMBER.  Write down the black numbers on the white background. (Ignore the last two digits on the right - the white numbers on black background.) This is your starting number.

3. WAIT A DEFINED PERIOD OF TIME, THEN TAKE ANOTHER READING. You may want to know how much you use during your home's morning/evening rush, or during periods of outdoor watering, or a longer period like every two weeks. 

Are you checking for a leak?  One hour is a good frame of time to use.  But if checking for silent toilet leaks, you may want to wait a couple of hours to account for this on-again off-again type of leak.

4. SUBTRACT YOUR NEW READING FROM YOUR STARTING READ. Next time you read your meter, subtract the starting number from the new number shown on your register. The difference between the two numbers is your household water consumption. Ignore the last two digits to see your use in 100's of cubic feet (ccf) - NUD billing units.

What are ccf units?  NUD bills in ccf units, corresponding to the white numbers on your meter register. One hundred cubic feet of water, or 1 ccf unit, equals 748 gallons.  To find the number of gallons used, multiply your recorded water consumption by 748.


  • On the first day of the month, your meter reading is 030000 (This means 300 ccf units of water have been used since the meter was installed). 
  • Twenty days later the reading is 031500.  Your household consumption during that 20-day period was 15 ccf units, or 11,220 gallons of water (15 ccfs x 748 gallons). 
  • To determine your average daily consumption, divide the number of gallons by the number of days between the meter reads (11,220 gallons / 20 days = 561 gallons per day).


5. USE YOUR METER TO CHECK FOR POSSIBLE LEAKS.  Once you understand how to read your meter, it is very easy to check for leaks in your home. 

  • First, make sure no water is running anywhere in your home, inside or outside. 
  • Check your meter.  The blue "snowflake" dial on the register face moves when water passes through the meter. 
  • If the dial is moving or spinning, there is a leak somewhere on your side of the meter. The leak should be addressed as soon as possible to reduce the amount of water loss - and the extra water costs on your bill.

More detailed information about how to find and fix leaks is available here.

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