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Reading Your Water Meter
Why Read Your Water Meter?

Your water meter can be an excellent tool for conserving water and keeping your bills as low as possible. Reading your water meter will allow you to detect potentially expensive leaks, learn about your water usage, and help to conserve our community’s precious water resources. It also allows you to monitor your water use between bills so that you can better anticipate the amount of your next bill.

Finding Your Meter

  • Your water meter is typically located in the ground, near the curb or sidewalk, within a concrete “box” of about 15 inches by 20 inches.
  • Use a screwdriver or other tool to lift the lid of the “box” and access your water meter.

How to Read Your Meter

  1. Your water meter reads like the mileage indicator on your car. Your meter's counter displays six numbers. The four numbers on the left of the counter are a record of your water usage in Hundreds of Cubic Feet (HCF or CCF). One HCF is equal to 748 gallons, and is the unit of water that appears on your water bill. The two numbers on the right side of the counter do not appear on your water bill, but are useful for observing water use.
  2. To determine your water usage, subtract the previous reading from the current reading.
Water Meter

For example,
   
Today's reading:   142
Previous reading:
 -122
Total Usage since previous reading    20 HCF

To convert HCF into gallons, multiply the number of HCF by 748 to get the number of gallons used.

For example,
   
20 HCF x 748 gallons per HCF =  14,960 gallons

How to Use Your Meter to Check for Leaks

  • If you would like to check for leaks, turn off all water indoors and outdoors, including all water-using appliances, before you begin.
  • Near the center of the display is a colored triangle or asterisk. This triangle or asterisk is a leak detector because it turns whenever water is running through the meter. Observe your leak detector triangle or asterisk for five minutes to see if it turns.
  • If it turns while no one is using water at your property, you have a leak. Arrange for repairs as soon as possible. If the triangle and dial hand do not show any movement, there are no leaks on your property at this time. Good news!
  • Visit our leaks page to find out how to detect water leaks and improve water efficiency in your home.
      

Measuring Your Water Consumption

  • You can use your meter to determine how much water it takes to water your lawn, wash your clothes, take a shower, etc.
  • Write down the meter reading, including all digits on the meter, before starting the water using activity you would like to measure.
  • Conduct the activity you wish to measure, making sure that there are no other water uses occurring at the same time.
  • When the activity is over, read your meter once again.
  • Subtract the old meter reading from the new meter reading.
  • The difference in the two meter reads tells you how many cubic feet were used by the activity.
  • To convert that figure to gallons, multiply by 7.48.

For additional questions on reading your water, please contact your water retailer. To look up your water retailer, please visit our water retailer look up tool.

By measuring the amount of water used in various activities you can learn how to best to save water and reduce your bills.

Watch this San Jose Water Company video to learn how to read your meter.