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CityLink Seattle

Use Your Water Meter to Check for Leaks

Your water meter doesn’t just track the amount of water that flows into your home—it’s also a great tool for finding leaks in and around your home.

Follow these easy steps to determine if you have a leak in your home or yard:

Determine if you have a leak

1. Turn off all water-using appliances 

Turn off all water-using appliances and fixtures (faucets, dishwasher, washing machine, etc.) in and around your home.

2. Locate your water meter

Water meters are housed in meter boxes, usually in the parking strip or sidewalk near your house. They are covered with a metal lid marked with the initials CWM (City Water Meter).

To view your meter, carefully lift the lid. (Pro tip: insert a pen or screwdriver in the small hole to pry the lid up.)

In order to read your meter dial, you may need to wipe it clean with a damp cloth or spray it with water.

3. Find the low flow indicator

Remove the meter box cover to reveal a round meter dial. Locate the low flow indicator, usually shaped like a small star, triangle, or gear. If the low flow indicator is moving, you have a leak.  

 

.

.Locate the leak

1.  Close the main water shut-off valve for your home

The shut-off valve can usually be found in a basement, crawlspace, or garage.

2. Check the low flow indicator

If the low flow indicator stops moving, your leak is indoors. (If not, see step 3.)
For helpful step-by-step videos on finding and fixing common household leaks, go to www.seattle.gov/util/fixaleak.

3. Outdoor leaks

  • If you do not have an irrigation system, your leak is on the water service line between your meter and the house.
  • If you have an irrigation system, shut off the water to the system and check your meter. If the low flow indicator stops moving, your leak is in your irrigation system. If not, your leak is on your water service line.

For all outdoor leaks, SPU suggests you contact a professional plumber.

Find a how-to video on using your water meter to detect leaks on our Youtube channel.

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