By The Town Of Queen Creek

The best way to know how much water you use, and to determine if you have a leak, is to read your water meter. Over-watering, broken pipes, excessive water use habits and leaking appliances, valves, and landscape systems can all wreak havoc on your daily water use.

Follow these steps to learn how to read your meter and perform a home water audit. 


Begin by making sure no water is being used inside or outside your home. Make sure your drip system, evaporative cooler, water softener, ice maker, reverse osmosis system, automatic pool fill, etc. are not running.


Locate your water meter box, which is typically located at the front of the property in the easement.


Carefully lift the lid using a large screwdriver. Be cautious of insects. If you see bees going in and out of the meter box, call 480-358-3450 and do not proceed until bees have been removed.


Clean out any debris inside the meter box to uncover the water meter. The Town uses two different styles of meters.


Record the numbers on the meter from left to right. This is the first read.


Wait at least one hour and read the meter again. This is the second read. 


Subtract the first read from the second read to determine if there is usage. Usage, or if the sweep hand on the leak indicator or the black triangle in the middle of the Invensys meter has moved, you may have a leak. If there is no movement on the leak indicator and the numbers for the first and second read are the same, your high usage could be due to a problem with your irrigation system, excessive consumption or something that runs in a specific cycle like the malfunctioning of an automatic pool fill or over cycling of a water softener or reverse osmosis system. 

Valves and fittings can become corroded or brittle after a period of time if they have not been used. Do not use excessive force.

  • Check for dripping faucets at sinks. 
  • Check under the sink for leaking pipes or leaks at RO tank (if applicable).
  • Check for leaks at the ice maker.
  • Check the overflow tray under the refrigerator for unnecessary water.


  • Check for dripping faucets at sinks and in the shower.
  • Check under the sink for leaking pipes.
  • Check the toilet for leaks.
  • Remove the toilet tank lid.
  • Remove any in-tank cleaners or disinfectants.
  • Flush and wait for tank to refill.
  • Check the overflow tube to make sure the water isn’t going over the top.
  • Drop in two dye tablets or several drops of food color.
  • Wait 15 minutes.
  • If color from the dye tablets or food color appear in the toilet bowl, you have a leak. Check your flapper and valve seals for wear. (Be sure to flush the dye out of the tank and bowl to avoid staining).


  • Check for dripping faucets at sinks.
  • Check under the sink for leaking pipes or leaks at RO tank (if applicable).
  • Check for leaks at the ice maker.
  • Check the overflow tray under the refrigerator for unnecessary water.

Finding outside leaks:


The most common problem with a pool can be the automatic fill valve. Often times this valve will become stuck and not shut off thereby constantly filling the pool. Occasionally there will be a crack in the pool surface that can go undetected. To test this, turn off the auto-fill, place a bucket on the top step of your pool. Fill the bucket with water so that the water level inside the jar is the same as the level of water on the outside of the bucket. Do not cover the bucket. Check the bucket in several hours. If the water level on the outside of the bucket is lower than the water inside the bucket, you probably have a leak and will need to call a pool company for repair. Also, do not overfill your pool. This will help minimize water loss due to splashing. Evaporative losses are normal. Use a pool cover to control evaporation and keep dirt and leaves out of your pool. This will reduce the need to backwash as often. When backwashing, only do so until the water runs clear. If you do need to have pool repairs made, find a reputable pool company that can do the repairs without draining your pool completely.


Fountains or water features can be a beautiful addition and good at masking the noise of traffic. Wildlife may also enjoy the benefits. Although not always a friend to water conservation, you can make your fountain more efficient by adjusting the float to avoid overflow, turning the fountain off on windy days, and installing a timer so that the water is running only when someone is home to appreciate it. When you perform a backwash on your fountain, make sure the excess water is directed to a turf area if possible. Check your fountain or water feature routinely for leaks.