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What they are and how they work

Your water meter is an instrument that continuously measures and records the volume of water passing through it, therefore your water consumption. It lets you see what you use and how much you pay - just like your electricity bill.

Water meters need water to pass through them in order to record consumption, such as from a tap being turned on or a toilet being flushed. They contain a disk that revolves inside a chamber and as the water passes through that chamber, the disk turns to track your water use in cubic meters. Water meters are mechanical devices and have no electrical components inside them. They either record consumption accurately or start under-registering with age.

The following video also explains it very well: Water meter mechanism

As for your internal main water shut-off valve’s, its purpose is to allow you to shut off the water in your building for several reasons, including emergencies, repairing leaks, taps or toilets and when leaving home for an extended period of time.

There are 2 common types of main water shut-off valve’s – the gate valve and the ball valve.

Older buildings will often have a gate valve. This type of valve features a circular “wheel” handle, which is turned to open or close the water.

Newer buildings will most likely have a ball valve. This type of valve features a lever handle that has 2 positions – On and Off. Today, the ball valve is frequently recommended as it is more effective at forming a tight seal and has more reliability and longevity than gate valves.

Location and Responsibilities

Here’s a very important question for every property owners. Do you know where your water meter and internal main water shut-off valve are located in your building? We are not expected to be plumber experts but by knowing where these are located, it can minimize or prevent problems.

Your water meter is generally located in your basement, along the front wall and near the floor, after your main water shut-off valve. If you don't have a basement, look for it in a crawlspace or on the main floor.

Water meter location english

Water meters are the property of the Town of Hawkesbury. However, you are responsible for taking care of it and all your inside plumbing, including pipes and water shut-off valves.

Always maintain clear access to the meter and provide adequate heating to prevent damage during freezing winter temperatures. Likewise, your internal main water shut-off valve should always be accessible and ready for use in case of an emergency.

If your water meter is damaged or frozen because you didn’t take proper care of it, you will have to pay for the meter replacement.

Reading and Billing

The town reads your water meter on a monthly basis, through battery electronic radio transmitter technology. This technology uses a mechanism that is connected directly on your water meter where it transmits data from your meter over to a device hand-held by a town employee as they drive by your residence.

As all meters have a unique identification number, this device will match your meter’s identification number and will record its reading only. At the end of the day, the handheld device transfers the information into our billing system.

High Water Bill

If you see a sudden rise in your bill and you have not changed your water usage, this is a sign that you have a leak in your plumbing system. A sudden increase in the amount of your bill could be due to several reasons:

  • Plumbing leaks in toilets, taps, pipes, garden hoses
  • An increase in the number of people living or working in your residence
  • A hot and dry summer, resulting in higher water consumption
  • Renovations, recent landscaping or filling of a swimming pool

Before contacting the Town, check if you have a leak. Here are few easy ways that can help you confirm the presence of one, which does not need the assistance of a plumber:

  • Toilet check: Because the first common reason for a leak is caused by toilets, this is the first thing you want to check out. Simply add food colouring in the tank and let it sit for about 20 minutes. If the colour shows up in your toilet bowl, this means you have a leaking toilet.

You can also look inside the tank. If the water is flowing into the overflow tube once the tank is full, you have a leak.

  • Leaking Faucet or hose - Unlike a leaky toilet, a leaky faucet is easy to notice because of the sound of dripping water. Take a walk through your home and backyard to check for leaking faucets.
  • Water meter check: Turn off all water faucets in your home (but not your main water shut-off valve) and make sure no appliances are using water, such a washing machine and a dishwasher. Locate your water meter and make a note of the numbers you see. Wait an hour, preferably longer if you can, and check the numbers again. If the numbers have changed, there’s a leak somewhere.

Who to Contact

If the water meter is leaking, please contact the Town of Hawkesbury as soon as reasonability possible to prevent property damage and water loss.

The Town is not responsible for leaks to your internal pipes or your main water shut-off valve. Contact a plumber if one of these is leaking.

For questions related to bills, please contact the Finance Service by e-mail at .

For questions related to the purchasing and acquisition of water meters, please contact the Buildings and Inspections Service by e-mail at .

Did you know?

A continuous water leak can waste the following amounts:

Ruler english

To prevent these sudden rises, check for the presence of leaks at least once a year. Also, you should close your internal main water shut-off valve when you go on vacation or away for a long time. This can limit the possible water damage if a pipe breaks or if your house loses heat (e.g., power outage) and the pipes freeze.