Reading Water Meters is Easy, Right?
Reading a water meter looks pretty easy. You could probably read your water meter in just a few minutes. But how about over 1,700 meters? All 1,700 plus water meters in the City of Mathis are read every month.
The city is has a route for meter reading purposes. Your water meter is read about the same date each month for billing, give or take a day or two, depending on weather conditions, emergency water breaks, weekends and holidays.
If something is blocking access to the water meter box, repeat visits are made to obtain a meter reading or the customer is contacted prior to billing. If the meter cannot be read an average reading is billed. Meters are normally read between the hours of 7:30 am and 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday (Saturday occasionally). City meter readers are identified by a shirt with the city logo on it.
Maintaining Your Water Meter Box
The faster the meter readers can get to your meter, collect the meter reading and be off to the next meter, they lower the meter reading cost. There are a few things you can do to expedite this process.
- Keep items off of the meter box such as trash canisters, potted plants, vehicles and debris.
- Trim the grass around the meter box.
- Keep shrubbery and other landscaping from obstructing a clear and easy access to the meter box. The meter readers are unable to read your meter if any tree limbs or place on the meter.
Your efforts in this area are much appreciated by the meter readers, maintenance personnel and by you, when quick access to the shut-off valve is necessary.
There may be occasions when you need to turn your water supply off - when repairing a simple drippy faucet, replacing the water heater, installing an irrigation system. Most homes are equipped with interior and exterior shut-off valves for this purpose.
Most additions including plumbing additions, require a permit. Please contact Building Inspections at 361-547-2113 before beginning the project.
Interior Shut-Off Valves
These are typically found in the following places:
- Above water heaters
- Behind Toilets
- Inside bathroom and kitchen cabinets, under the sink
Exterior (Private) Shut-Off Valves
With this valve, you can shut water off for the entire house, a specific exterior faucet or an irrigation system. This value is usually located parallel to your water meter and is attached to the pipe coming from the ground to your house and near your water faucet.
Irrigation systems can usually be shut-off at two points: at the automatic control box or a valve control box. The valve control boxes are set in the ground, sometimes near the water meter. They too, are rectangular, green plastic or concrete and can be covered by a layer of dirt and grass. Inside the box there will be two wheel valves and a series of smaller bleed valves. Either of the wheel valves will shut-off the water.
Exterior Shut-Off at the Meter Box
Because the City of Mathis must meet strict environmental requirements, we do not permit anyone but a city employee to turn the water on or off at the city's water meter. If you would like a water cutoff near the meter, you can request permission from the city to allow a licensed plumber to install a separate cutoff on the customer side of the meter. Each case must be evaluated for safety before granting permission.
The city can turn off your water at the meter during normal business hours. There is a $2.00 cost recovery charge during normal city working hours and before or after working hours or on weekends.
Have you ever wondered if you have a water leak? You can use your water meter to help you find out. If you are not using any water in your home and you meter dial is spinning you have a leak.
Checking for a Leak at the Water Meter
When you open the water meter box, the meter should be in the center of the box in a level position. On occasion, you will find the meter tilted slightly. It still works fine, but it is harder to read the odometer.
If water is in the meter box, it does not mean that you have a leak in your water line. It usually comes from ground moisture due to rain or sprinkler systems. To be sure, you should dip the water out of the box. You may have to do this several times due to ground saturation.
If you notice water spewing from the meter or the meter connections (the nuts and bolts that connect the meter to the cut-of valve or your water line) call Utility Operations for repairs at (361)547-3343. If you notice a leak on the line that goes to your house, call a plumber.
Checking for a Leak Beyond the Water Meter
If no leak is detected in the meter box, your next step is to look at the water meter register. You may have to wipe the register face off with a wet towel to see the entire meter face. Do not tamper with the electronic meter reading device. Dirt usually settles on the meter from month to month due to rain, irrigation and other moisture getting into the meter box.