Note: In 2004, Vallecitos Water District began converting water meters to an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system for meter reading ease. Almost all meters in the District are now read electronically. The meter readers drive through each area of the District and a radio signal is sent to their laptop computers with the electronic reading. Each meter is read once a month.
To see how Vallecitos ensures that the meter readings are accurate, click here.
To learn how to read your water meter, watch this video or detailed instructions are outlined below:
Why read your meter?
There are several reasons why you will want to locate and read your water meter.
1) First, you might be interested in knowing just how much water you use in a day. By reading your meter at the beginning and the end of the day, you can compare the two totals to tell how much water you and your family used.
2) The second reason is to check for leaks. After you turn off all the taps and water-using appliances in your house, look at the leak detection indicator* on your meter. If it's turning, chances are you have a leak somewhere.
If you need help determining where water is being wasted, help is available. Vallecitos offers a free service where a water efficiency specialist from Mission Resources Conservation District will visit your home or business to perform a thorough water conservation inspection. For residential properties, the irrigation auditor can also conduct an interior survey by having all the plumbing fixtures turned off and then observing the water meter. If the meter still moves, it will be an indicator that there is a leak somewhere on the property. Types of necessary repairs can then be addressed. This can be an important step if you have recently experienced an unusually high bill. Click here for more information.
Please note that although this free service can help identify where water is being wasted, if you suspect you have a slab leak or are experiencing a very large water bill, we recommend that you contact a licensed plumber or leak detection company to stop the leak right away.
Your water meter is generally located near the curb in front of your home or place of business (as shown in photo above) in a direct line with the main outside faucet. It is housed in a concrete box usually marked "water." Carefully remove the lid by using a tool such as a large screwdriver. Insert the tool into the hole and pry the lid off. Visually examine the area around the meter to make sure there are no harmful insects or animals.
For best results, read your meter at the same time each day. Meters measure water use in cubic feet. Your water bill converts cubic feet into units. Using this conversion you can find how many gallons of water are used:
|100 Cubic Feet = 748 Gallons = 1 Unit of Water|
Looking at the meter to the right, if you used 50 cubic feet in one day, your meter reading would be "000,050.00" (do not read the numbers after the decimal point). Using the conversion, 50 cubic feet would equal 374 gallons of water or 1/2 unit.
To determine the amount of water used since your last reading, take the current meter read and subtract the previous meter read (from your water bill), which will give you the number of units used. For example, if your previous read was 001,200. and your new read is 006,200. then you have used 50 units of water since your last read. To determine the gallons used, multiply the number of units used times 748 gallons (50 units x 748 = 37,400 gallons).
To determine if you have a leak with this kind of meter, observe the leak detection indicator*, which is the red circle on the bottom right. If it's turning after you have shut off all the taps and water-using appliances in your house, chances are you may have a leak.
For customers with a digital meter, please refer to the diagram below:
1) There are 9 numbers on the digital meter at the top of the digital display. Vallecitos only reads the first 4 numbers (at the far left).
2) The last digit on the display acts as a leak detection indicator*. If this number is changing when no water is on, it's indicating water flow, and you may have a leak. Example: If the number rotates from 0 to 1, that's equivalent to 1/1,000th of one cubic foot of water flowing through your meter (which is approximately 1 ounce of water).
3) Ft3 = cubic feet (which Vallecitos uses as its units of measure).
4) Another way to check for leaks is to look at the Flow Direction / Empty Pipe Indicator. If there is a plus sign in the middle of this circle, water is passing through the meter. If all the taps and water-using appliances in your house are turned off and you still see a plus sign, you may have a leak.
Your meter is the property of Vallecitos Water District. It is illegal to remove and/or tamper with the meter. You are responsible for keeping the area around the meter clear, easy to access and free from obstructions. In the event we cannot read the meter via radio methods or your meter is not accessible, we will estimate a read based on past consumption.