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How to read a water meter

Types of residential water meters

The City of Calgary installs one type of water meter in residential homes. This meter is called a Mechanic Positive Displacement meter. These meters are mechanical devices and do not have electrical components. Learn more for an overview of how this type of meter works.

There are a variety of models that The City installs. All models are Mechanic Positive Displacement meters.

How The City reads your meter

The meter in your home will be read one of two ways:

Remote read-out

Homes with remote read-out technology will have a rectangular device typically located on the outside of the home where the water service enters the home. Readings are displayed on the face of this device. A meter reader then walks by your home to take the meter reading manually. No one has to enter the home to read the meter.


Remote Read-out Water Meter Example
Water meters with remote read-outs.
 
 

Encoder Receiver Transmitter (ERT)

The second method of technology used to read a residential meter is through Encoder Receiver Transmitters (ERTs).

This type of reading will not have a device on the outside of your home. Water readings for ERT equipped meters are electronically sent to the meter reader’s device as they near your home.

The City has a life cycle replacement program  for meters to ensure our metering technology stays current and efficient. All meters replaced under this initiative will have the ERT technology.

How you can read a water meter

Depending on the model of your meter, the register (or face) may look slightly different. Below are some examples of what your meter might look like.


ERT Water Meters
Water meters with Encoded Radio Transmitter (ERT).
 
 

Meters record water consumption in various units. The digits to the left of the decimal point measure water usage in cubic meters (1000 litres make 1 cubic meter).

The digits on the far right of the meter face (right of the decimal point) are measuring smaller units that make up a cubic meter (hundreds of litres, ten litres and one litre).

As an example, the digits to the far right of the decimal point on the meter pictured on the left would increase by one when 10 litres of water have been used. The digits to the far right of the decimal point on meter in the center image however, would increase by one when one litre of water has been used. When the meter registers 1000 litres, or 1 cubic meter, the number to the left of the decimal point will increase by one.

Some meters will have a sweep hand, while others may have a flow indicator/register, which looks like a round gear or a triangle.


Flow indicator

For models that have a sweep hand, one unit measures one litre, while one full rotation measures 10 litres. For models that have a flow indicator, one full rotation of the flow indicator will measure 1 litre. You can track this on your own meter by watching how the numbers increase with every rotation of the sweep hand or flow indicator/register.

Elster water meter

How to submit a reading for a water meter

There are a few circumstances in which you may need to take a meter reading yourself.

  1. To test your home for leaks.
  2. If you are moving in or out of a house
  3. You have experienced an abnormally high water consumption and bill

If you are required to submit a meter reading due to abnormally high water consumption and bill, please follow the instructions on the High Water Consumption Checklist. Once you have completed Step 5 of the checklist, you can submit your reading the following ways:

By telephone:

  • If you are unable to send a picture of the meter reading, write down the digits on the face of the meter. Take note of the digits with a white background (before the decimal point) and the digits with a black background (behind the decimal point) on the meter.
  • Call ENMAX at 310-2010. Choose 2 for “home and residential services” and then choose 3 for “City water, wastewater and waste and recycling.” You will be directed to a Customer Service Representative.

By e-mail:

  • Take a picture of the face of your water meter.
  • Send an email with the picture attached to waterconsumption@enmax.com.
  • Include the following information in your email:
  • Account number and service address.
  • Contact phone number along with best time to contact you.
  • Details of your troubleshooting findings using information gathered using this checklist.
  • Pictures reflecting water meter reading based on type of water:
  • Water meter with outside remote read out: Take two pictures. One of the face of the meter in the house and the face of the readout outside the house. Both readings should be the same.
  • Water meter with electronic transmitter - grey or black square box attached to the meter: Take a picture of the face of the meter.

Upon receipt of your e-mail, we will review your account and contact you within three business days. We will do our best to contact you during the time period you requested.