Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Ginny Macedo's Avatar
    Ginny Macedo Guest

    Default Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    We've got a water meter reading situation that I'm hoping someone has seen before or can help us to figure out. We moved into our 35yr old home 4 mos. ago and just received our first quarterly water bill showing usage of 62k gal. We called the City and while they said this was extremely high they gave me meter readings for the previous owner dating back to 2004 anywhere from 77k to 118k per quarter! (The previous owner was a very wealthy plastic surgeon and I'm guessing he just paid the bill without question). We had an extensive home inspection, have hired plumbers to determine our home plumbing has no leaks and the city agrees we have no leaks within the home BUT at the point where the water main comes into the home you can hear water running constantly. The city has determined there is a leak outside but hasn't found it yet and there is not a pool in my front yard so it is a mystery as to where all of this water is going. The shut off valve in my yard was disinigrating so they couldnt turn it off. They are coming to replace it and continue looking for the leak. Blueprints show that the sewer is directly below the water main at the street. Maybe it just leaks directly into the sewer so we never see it? Wherever the leak is outside does not explain why the meter readings are so high. Somehow the meter is registering water that is not actually passing through it into the home and its been doing so for years. The city meter reader says that's impossible yet 2 people from the city verified with their own eyes that with no water being used in the home the meter was still showing movement, but if we turn off the main inside the home the meter movement stops although you still hear water running. Any help solving this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    The water customer (you) are responsible for all water that passes through the water meter.
    It does not matter if the water is from a leak or not.
    In my area the water meter is normally located near the street. The underground water line can be 50'. 100' or even longer before it gets to the house. A leak in this underground pipe will cause a large water usage. Even if no water is being used in the home.
    You said that the meter stops when the main is shut off in the house. This makes me think that there is something leaking or using water in the house.
    Common things to look for in the home are; toilet fill valves, toilet flapper leaks, leaking water heater TPR valves, Leaking pressure relief valves. If your on a slab, there may be a leak in the water line(s) under the slab.
    Just remember, the meter does not move when water is not going through it.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    Per chance do you have a water source heat pump/AC?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
    Posts
    4,086

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginny Macedo View Post
    We've got a water meter reading situation that I'm hoping someone has seen before or can help us to figure out. We moved into our 35yr old home 4 mos. ago and just received our first quarterly water bill showing usage of 62k gal. We called the City and while they said this was extremely high they gave me meter readings for the previous owner dating back to 2004 anywhere from 77k to 118k per quarter! (The previous owner was a very wealthy plastic surgeon and I'm guessing he just paid the bill without question). We had an extensive home inspection, have hired plumbers to determine our home plumbing has no leaks and the city agrees we have no leaks within the home BUT at the point where the water main comes into the home you can hear water running constantly. The city has determined there is a leak outside but hasn't found it yet and there is not a pool in my front yard so it is a mystery as to where all of this water is going. The shut off valve in my yard was disinigrating so they couldnt turn it off. They are coming to replace it and continue looking for the leak. Blueprints show that the sewer is directly below the water main at the street. Maybe it just leaks directly into the sewer so we never see it? Wherever the leak is outside does not explain why the meter readings are so high. Somehow the meter is registering water that is not actually passing through it into the home and its been doing so for years. The city meter reader says that's impossible yet 2 people from the city verified with their own eyes that with no water being used in the home the meter was still showing movement, but if we turn off the main inside the home the meter movement stops although you still hear water running. Any help solving this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
    Do you have:

    Hydronic in-slab/in-floor heating?

    Driveway/sidewalk de-icing system?

    Landscape watering system?

    Fountains (decorative including fish-ponds)?

    Pool/spa?

    Hydromassage Tub/soaker tub? How many gallons does it hold? how often being enjoyed?

    As-of-yet possibly unidentified hose bib or yard hydrant?

    And the most likely culprits:

    A water driven (normallly only engaged as a back-up during power outages when the electrically driven one is not functioning, i.e. a back-up float switch set at a higher level in the sump pit) SUMP PUMP(s) or sewage ejector/lifter pump? Check your primary lifter or sump pump(s) and the water-driven back-up pump systems. The water-driven (city water pressure driven) one may be drawing water nearly 24/7, this could account for a significant percentage of the measured usage (even if the fill/float valve has malfunctioned and there has been no other reason for the water driven pump to operate/draw water.

    and

    Water heating (potable or not) system (primary or supplemental - i.e. solar or geothermal heat pump, etc.) relief valves - boiler or water heater(s)? check relief valve discharge paths/outlets for drainage. This too could account for a significant percentage of the measured usage. Check all back-flow protection valves and relief valves. Most require testing/inspection/certification by a plumber every year to three years, and replacement when necessary.

    A viscous cycle when relief discharge/leak/malfunctioning water driven pump switch-valve outlet water ends up in the drain tile/foundation dewatering system and a water driven sump is the only functioning means of evacuation.

    Finally, I would recommend having a master plumber come out and investigate. You might consider reading the meter yourself daily - and detecting a pattern of water consumption. Removal of water-saving washers/restrictors from shower heads can also "blow" the water consumption budget - especially with teens in the house. Multi-head showers while luxurious - also allow much water down the drain. Large washing machines with dual rinse cycles can also consume a lot of water - summer months and new move-in as well as the seasonal change - may have triggerred lots of laundry. See if the consumption numbers drop now that the season has changed.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    It sounds like you have two water leaks, one before the meter and one after. If you know everything is turned off in the home and the meter still moves there is water leaking somewhere in the home. When you shut the valve off before the meter and it stops, but you still hear water running there is probably a leak before the valve.

    When they checked for leaks in the home did they dye test the toilet tanks? I have seen a few slow leak toilets where you can't see or hear the water flow, but once you add the tank dye if will color the water in the bowl. Otherwise, you might get lucky and hear the toilet fill up the tank for a few seconds and it might take a few minutes to hours before it will do it again.

    If there's a humidifier on the furnace, the solenoids can get stuck and the water will run through it and into the drain line for the furnace and you would never notice it.

    Was the water softener or ice maker checked for leaks?

    The leak before the meter, in the yard, can go anywhere underground. If there is sand or gravel around the water and sewer lines the water will just follow this path until it finds an easier path.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    Call a plumber that specializes in leak location. Common here since we have mostly slab foundations and leaks can be hard to locate without special equipment.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Lansdale, PA
    Posts
    876

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginny Macedo View Post
    We've got a water meter reading situation that I'm hoping someone has seen before or can help us to figure out. We moved into our 35yr old home 4 mos. ago and just received our first quarterly water bill showing usage of 62k gal. We called the City and while they said this was extremely high they gave me meter readings for the previous owner dating back to 2004 anywhere from 77k to 118k per quarter! (The previous owner was a very wealthy plastic surgeon and I'm guessing he just paid the bill without question). We had an extensive home inspection, have hired plumbers to determine our home plumbing has no leaks and the city agrees we have no leaks within the home BUT at the point where the water main comes into the home you can hear water running constantly. The city has determined there is a leak outside but hasn't found it yet and there is not a pool in my front yard so it is a mystery as to where all of this water is going. The shut off valve in my yard was disinigrating so they couldnt turn it off. They are coming to replace it and continue looking for the leak. Blueprints show that the sewer is directly below the water main at the street. Maybe it just leaks directly into the sewer so we never see it? Wherever the leak is outside does not explain why the meter readings are so high. Somehow the meter is registering water that is not actually passing through it into the home and its been doing so for years. The city meter reader says that's impossible yet 2 people from the city verified with their own eyes that with no water being used in the home the meter was still showing movement, but if we turn off the main inside the home the meter movement stops although you still hear water running. Any help solving this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you
    Over a quarter your total use equals about 1/2 GPM. So a pretty small leak can add up to a lot of water. If you shut of the main water valve and the meter stops water is leaking somewhere. Toilets can be a big source of water use. Try turning them off. Any sub-slab piping is another good possibility.


  8. #8
    Ginny Macedo's Avatar
    Ginny Macedo Guest

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Kleisch View Post
    It sounds like you have two water leaks, one before the meter and one after. If you know everything is turned off in the home and the meter still moves there is water leaking somewhere in the home. When you shut the valve off before the meter and it stops, but you still hear water running there is probably a leak before the valve.

    When they checked for leaks in the home did they dye test the toilet tanks? I have seen a few slow leak toilets where you can't see or hear the water flow, but once you add the tank dye if will color the water in the bowl. Otherwise, you might get lucky and hear the toilet fill up the tank for a few seconds and it might take a few minutes to hours before it will do it again.

    If there's a humidifier on the furnace, the solenoids can get stuck and the water will run through it and into the drain line for the furnace and you would never notice it.

    Was the water softener or ice maker checked for leaks?


    The leak before the meter, in the yard, can go anywhere underground. If there is sand or gravel around the water and sewer lines the water will just follow this path until it finds an easier path.
    Well 2 leaks would explain it but... We've done the dye test on the toilets, have no water softener, checked the ice maker, checked the a/c, and water heater, sprinkler system is completely shut down. No water running anywhere. We have a full basement so have access to everything. If we shut off the main valve inside the house the meter does not run but if the main valve is open the meter starts registering usage even when everything is off. To register numbers like 62K over 90 days we'd see some water somewhere. If the avg family of four uses 300 gal/day (there are only 2 of us here) and let's say we had a leaky toilet (which we don't) causing 200 gal/day usage that would still only add up to 500 gal/day which is 45K / 90days. The City did determine that the leak is between the shut off in the front yard and the street. Still no explanation for meter readings. I'm looking for someone who has seen water meters working improperly, maybe registering backflow? or a vacuum from the leak at the street main or something. I know it doesn't make sense but that is what is occurring.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    It is simple, you have a leak on your side of the meter as confirmed by stopping the meter when the main valve is turned off. If you have a leak through a fixture or shutoff valve to something connected to the sewer, you will never see the leak.
    Valve off everything at the service valves and you may be able to isolate the leak.
    Bottom line, unless there is some kind of magic going on, the meter registers usage and stops measuring when you valve it off. There is a leak, not a defective meter. This is child's play for any competent plumber.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  10. #10
    Ginny Macedo's Avatar
    Ginny Macedo Guest

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    It is simple, you have a leak on your side of the meter as confirmed by stopping the meter when the main valve is turned off. If you have a leak through a fixture or shutoff valve to something connected to the sewer, you will never see the leak.
    Valve off everything at the service valves and you may be able to isolate the leak.
    Bottom line, unless there is some kind of magic going on, the meter registers usage and stops measuring when you valve it off. There is a leak, not a defective meter. This is child's play for any competent plumber.
    Update: the leak is in the service main in our yard. They are still digging and water is flowing. Ughh! We do not have a leak inside the house. Not magic or child's play. We have hired a competent plumbing company. If you or anyone is familiar with an ABB C-700 oscillating piston type meter and how it could malfunction if it is continually getting pulses of pressure that would be helpful.
    Thank you


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Columbus GA
    Posts
    3,746

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    Glad you found out what it is.
    Don't be surprised if there is more than one leak.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Plano, Texas
    Posts
    4,170

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    Do a pressure test on your side of the meter. This is a simple yes or no confirmation of a leak. If it holds pressure with the system disconnected from the meter and capped and all service valves open then no leak.
    If the pressure bleeds off then you have a leak.

    This will be something you can hang your hat on to show to the water company to get them to test and/or replace the meter. Without a positive pressure test everything else is just supposition.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    274

    Default Re: Hello-Water Meter mystery brought me to this site

    Quote Originally Posted by Ginny Macedo View Post
    Update: the leak is in the service main in our yard. They are still digging and water is flowing. Ughh! We do not have a leak inside the house. Not magic or child's play. We have hired a competent plumbing company. If you or anyone is familiar with an ABB C-700 oscillating piston type meter and how it could malfunction if it is continually getting pulses of pressure that would be helpful.
    Thank you
    You said it is a 35 year old home, is this the original meter? Did they put a different meter in to see if it still reads? See if the water dept. will test the meter, you could have an issue where the meter is out of calibration and reading 1.1 gallons for every actual gallon used. But, it still does not explain why the meter runs, or if the replacement one runs, while everything is turned off in the home, which takes us back to a leak.

    Meters still rely on water flow to measure the usage. Pulses in the system should not affect these meters, otherwise every time the washing machine runs, dishwasher runs, or faucets being turned off quickly would cause issues. Usually, when meters fail, they fail to read and that causes a prompt call from the water department to find out what is wrong.



Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •