STEP 1 Locate your meter box, generally found towards the front of a property, near the street. The box is typically in a direct line with the main outside faucet. It is housed in a concrete or plastic box usually marked "water". Remove the lid by using a tool such as a large screwdriver. Insert the tool into one of the holes and pry the lid off. It is always wise to locate and mark the location of your meter.
STEP 2 Once you open the meter box lid, lift the protective cap on the meter. On the face of the meter, there is a large dial and a display of numbers. For the residential meter, each rotation of the dial measures 10 gallons. Read the number display from left to right. Be sure to include the stationary zero. This is your meter reading. Meters measure water in gallons or cubic feet. Compare that reading to what your bill states as your current or present reading.
STEP 3 Keep in mind that you might be checking your meter on a date different from the one used for billing. This could result in a difference in the amount you find, compared with the amount on which your bill is based.
Your water meter may also be used to check for invisible or unnoticed leaks. Turn off all water outlets and water using appliances. Read the dial on the water meter and record reading. After 15 to 20 minutes, recheck the meter. If no water has been turned on or used and the reading has changed, a leak is occurring somewhere in your plumbing system. The services of a plumber are often required.