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Get information on how to read water meters, how water meters work, water meter accuracy testing, and permits.

A water meter is a device that measures how much water you use. Water meters are typically located in the lowest level of the residence, where the water service line enters your home, and right next to the main shut-off valve.

The water meter mechanically measures how much water is used in your home. This information is used to determine your water bill. Water use is measured in cubic metres with one cubic metre (1 m3) equalling 1,000 litres.

Residential water meters rely on water flowing through the meter to physically move the measuring element in direct proportion to the amount of water that passes through the meter. This action drives the register that records the water use.

A reading device (called a touchpad) normally located on the outside of your home is connected to the water meter via a communication wire. In order to obtain a read from the water meter, the meter reader must walk by and make direct contact with this device using special reading equipment. It is important that the reading device is accessible to the meter reader in order to obtain a read.

You can find your water meter in the lowest part of your residence, in your basement or crawl space. The meter is next to the main water shut-off valve in your home.

Analog (dial) meters

Get to know your meter. Your water meter has a series of dials and hands. The dials measure the amount of water you've used in your home over time and are used to calculate your water bill.

  • The sweep hand measures water flowing through the meter. As it completes a full circle, it causes the dials to turn once.
  • The flow indicator measures any leaks in your home. The flow indicator moves counter-clockwise whenever water is moving through the meter.
  • If either the low-flow indicator or the sweep hand moves when you believe that you are not using water in your home, then you might have a leak.

Digital meter

If you have a water meter with a digital display, here’s how to read this meter.

  • Continually shine a bright flashlight over the solar panel (found on the register) to activate the LCD display.*

*Note: When the register display first comes on via a flashlight, all icons will be briefly displayed followed by firmware information. The register display will then change (every eight seconds) to show the reading and then the flow rate. The flow rate is per minute. When the display shows “RATE," the flow rate is being displayed.

  • The 9-digit LCD shows your meter reading in cubic metres (1 cubic metre equals 1,000 litres. The last four digits of the reading are decimal points (e.g., 26.3987 cubic metres).

Flow indicator

The flow indicator shows the direction of water flow:

  • ON – water is in use
  • OFF – water is not in use
  • Flashing – water is running slowly
    • (–) means reverse flow
    • (+) means forward flow

The accuracy of the water meter can be requested by a Resident to be tested. The test is performed by a third party and a fee would apply if the meter accuracy tests higher than AWWA (American Water Works Association) accuracy standards.

Customer must complete the Water Meter Testing Request Form (PDF file) to order the test.

Halton’s Water Meter Replacement Program

If you have received a letter from Halton Region, your water meter has been identified as old or inefficient and must be replaced. Please book your meter replacement appointment with Halton Region as soon as possible.

To book your appointment:

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