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Thread: Water Service Meter Dial

  1. #1

    Default Water Service Meter Dial

    We just had a house inspection and the inspector found that the dial on the water service meter turns when all water appliances and fixtures are turned off. He said this was an indication of water loss in the distribution system. My question is: what do you think might be causing the service meter to turn when the water is turned off? Our water bill has remained constant over the past 2.5 years (since we bought the house). There has been no spike in water costs.

  2. #2


    When I see a moving meter I check to see how many gallons per hour based on a 20 to 30 minute timeframe. When I enter the house it usually turns out the homeowner has the dishwasher running, the ice maker has filled once or there is a toilet valve leaking. It could also be a dripping faucet inside or out.
    Pull the meter lid and mark the dial and check again in 30 minutes after checking all of the above. The big bad news is it could be a plumbing leak under the slab. It happens but the other little things are a higher probability.

  3. #3


    Oh yeah! Do you have a sprinkler system? Open the little green box by the water meter and see if it is leaking. It doesn't take much to make the little dial spin.

  4. #4


    Thanks for the info.. We hadn't thought about the ice maker. A county water plumber came out this morning and told us that we're losing about 1 gallon every 20 minutes. Seems like a lot, but apparently it's not (?).

    When we turn off the main shut off valve and then turn it back on, there's a "whizzing" sound and the amount of water starts out high (with the dial spinning madly) but then it goes back to slow spinning almost immediately. Could this mean that the leak (if there is one) is close to the shut off valve?

  5. #5


    The time it takes for the water to fill the line does not indicate the location of the leak. Try this little test on the toilets....Put about 6 drops of red or blue food coloring into the tank (where the flush valve is located) wait 15 minutes and look to see if the toilet bowl has colored water inside. If so, the toilet is loosing the water in the tank and then refilling. $15 dollar Home Depot flush kit.

    I think 3 gallons per hour is a lot of water.

  6. #6
    Plumber, Contractor, Attorney LonnythePlumber's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Wichita, Kansas

    Default 70 gallons a day

    I don't think 70 gallons a day is a lot. A toilet just barely running can do that. Probably doesn't even cost a 50cents a day. If the main shut off you are referring to is at the house then the leak is on the inside of the structure. If you are referring to the one at the water meter then you still need to determine if it's your water service or inside piping.

  7. #7
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego

    Default in the living room!

    70 gallons a day may not seem like much unless it is in the attic or the living room! After 2 years they probably would have noticed. Works out to about 3 Hundred Cubic Feet, at about $5 per hcf, about $15 per month. Needs to be found!


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