How long water meter runs


  #1  
Old 12-09-22, 10:57 AM
J
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How long water meter runs

Hi folks,

So our water bill is typically around $35 per cycle (three months). The last bill was over $100, implying I have a leak somewhere. Iíve checked toilets, sinks, and everything else I can think of, but I canít find the leak. Iíve taken it a step further to monitor the water meter numbers when flushing a toilet or running the faucet to see what happens.

For one toilet, the water meter runs at a decent speed when the toilet is flushed. The toilet runs for about one minute and 30 seconds, and the water meter will run at a decent pace for about 2.5 minutes. It will accumulate approximately 4 gallons on the dial, even though the toilet says 1.6 gallons per flush. After the toilet stops filling, the water meter still runs at a slow pace for another 4-ish minutes, which seems odd to me.

I still have some investigating to do, but I figured Iíd start with this.

thank you!
 
  #2  
Old 12-10-22, 10:07 AM
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I don't have much to add other than I'm jealous of your water bill. I typically pay $50+ per month. After the monthly fee it's a penny per gallon
You could shut off the water going to the commode and see if that stops the meter.
 
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Old 12-09-22, 11:02 AM
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Where is your water meter ?
Are you on a slab with water pipes in the concrete foundation ?

When no water is used it should stop turning.
It should not be spinning 4 minutes after the toilet flushes.
 
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Old 12-09-22, 03:59 PM
J
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The water meter is in a closet in our basement. I ďthinkĒ the answer to your question about concrete slab is ďyesĒ. The floor of our underground basement is concrete.

Hereís some more details:

14:45:00 - toilet flushed (meter=34,736.1)

14:45:12 - water meter starts running

14:46:41 - toilet stops running (the meter slows down but keeps on running) (meter=34,739.7)

15:00:00 - meter finally stops (meter=34,740.7)

If youíre REALLY interested, hereís a video. The times above are based on the time in the lower right corner of the video (not the timing of the YouTube video because I sped it up at the end).

https://youtu.be/-puWJ_whHwM
 
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Old 12-09-22, 05:01 PM
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Ok..... here's the thing.
Since the meter is in the house.... if the meter is moving.... you are using water.
Leaks between the street and your meter are ignored by your meter.

Leaks in the concrete are very common.
A leak in the hot water side can be very expensive.
You should read the meter when you go to bed and then when you get up.

You should check the water heater outgoing hot line first thing in the morning.
It should be cold several feet from the tank. If it's hot.... you may have a hot water leak under your home.
 
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Old 12-09-22, 06:22 PM
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Thank you. Iím just not following that last line ďIf it's hot.... you may have a hot water leak under your home.Ē What do you mean by ďunder your homeĒ? I would think the only lines that are under my home (or at least in the ground) are the ones that come from the street to my house. But once that happens, arenít all of the water lines then just running throughout the house?
 
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Old 12-09-22, 07:03 PM
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After the toiler tank fills, is the tank float or tank refill valve sitting ajar for several more minutes before it finally shuts off completely? aFTER THE TPOILET TANK FILLs do you see water flowing into the (typically 1 inch diameter) overflow tube in the middle of the toilet tank for severao miuntes?
 
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Old 12-10-22, 01:51 AM
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Wow.... my bad. I read concrete slab but missed basement.

The meter was spinning awfully fast to be the toilet still filling.
 
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Old 12-10-22, 07:45 AM
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I think replacing the toilet fill is an inexpensive possible solution. I've seen toilet fills 'stop' filling, but then trickle for a while longer, which sounds like what you're saying. Some can be adjusted or cleaned, or just replaced for about $15.

Using 3x as much water definitely indicates a leak. Another option would be to track usage for a few days while using that toilet, and compare it to a few days not using that toilet (if possible).

Lastly, read your bill a bit closer and compare the actual gallons/ccf used as opposed to the price. Also confirm that your water company actually reads your meter each month/quarter as often the water usage is estimated by them, and can cause a few lower or higher bills since their estimations are rarely accurate. Also check your meter read against the bill. It's less likely, but errors do happen where a number is transposed or not read correctly. No need to track down a leak if it's just a billing issue.
 
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Old 12-12-22, 10:25 AM
J
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Thanks for all of the replies and tips. One piece to add here is that we have two toilets. When you flush one toilet, and it finishes filling up, the meter continues to run, although at a slow pace, for minutes later. The second toilet also causes the meter to continue running, but not as long. Wouldnít that imply that I donít have a toilet problem? Or perhaps I have a problem with both toilets lol.

How to answer AllenĎs question below, no, the fill valves seems OK.
 
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Old 12-13-22, 09:56 AM
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Since the two toilets behave differently in the amount of time after they supposedly finish refilling and then the water meter stops, that would be a toilet issue, as opposed to a leak issue If you really had a leak under the slab or wherever, the water would keep flowing, not stop X minutes after the toilet has supposedly refilled.

Do any toilets come to life and re-refill (top off) every 20 minutes or every 2 hours or something like that)? That would be a leak from tank to bowl. Dropping some food coloring or a piece of an Easter egg color tablet into the toilet tank, and waiting several hours, will test for this.

Something else to consider.

Depending on the water usage pattern for the previous 5 minutes, an expansion tank (usually above the water heater) will rebalance itself after all water usage is finished, and this might take a minute before the meter finally stops running.

Correctly the expansion tank should be precharged with air (with main water shut off and a cold faucet left open) to approximately the system water pressure (that would occur with main water valve on, water heater kicked off, and slightly after that all usage finished and faucets off). When this is done, water through the meter will stop almost immediately after any additional water usage is finished.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-13-22 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 12-13-22, 12:47 PM
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Try running the tub water for a few minutes and see if the meter still runs after shutting off faucet. If it does then it is not just the toilet causing the problem. I think Allanj may have something with the expansion tank theory.
 
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Old 01-09-23, 06:04 PM
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So the saga continues...still having the same problem where the water meter continues to run after the toilet (or faucet, etc) are done.

Today the town came out to double-check the water meter. He didn't really do much other than check that each toilet was functioning properly, and he also witnessed how the meter continues to run after the toilet (or faucets, etc) are done. He was pretty sure the meter wasn't the problem. When he closed the shut off valve before the meter, as well as the shut off valve after the meter, then the meter stopped running. So for whatever that's worth, I think he was ruling out the meter.

Another thought he had was perhaps the pressure reducer was bad. Back in March our water meter broke and leaked everywhere. The town came out and replaced it. Our main shutoff valve didn't work, so we also had to call a plumber out to replace that. I had mentioned to the plumber that our water pressure seems low, so he increased the pressure at the pressure reducer. We never had this meter problem before all of these "repairs" lol.

One other note regarding AllanJ's theory about the expansion tank. I feel like I'm narrowing it down to either the expansion tank or the pressure reducer. Is there any way to test either of these or do you just to replace them and see what happens? I always thought our expansion tank was weird because it's not near the water heater. The water supply comes into our house on one side of the basement (where the water meter is, pressure reducer, and the expansion tank). Then the pipes travel to the other side of the basement where the water heater is. I guess I'm just used to seeing the expansion tank right near the water heater. Just thinking out loud.

Thanks!
 
 

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