Every home connected to municipal water has a water meter. Your local municipality uses that water meter to measure how much water you are using, and you are billed based on the reading from that meter. Most cities measure your water usage quarterly and will bill you accordingly. All municipalities charge you for the water being supplied to you during the quarter, and some municipalities also charge you for processing the wastewater.
If you look carefully at your water bill, you might see one, two, or three designations of what you are actually being charged for. In the Pittsburgh area, usually about half of your bill is for processing sewer water, and the rest is for the clean water delivered to you by the municipality.
Water meters usually have two shut-off valves. The first one is on the “street side,” which is the water coming into the meter. The other valve is on the “house side,” the water leaving your water meter and serving your house.
When you need to turn the water off, you can do so at either of the valves. If you turn one of the valves off and it seems like the water is not slowing down after a bit, then turn the other valve off as well. It will not hurt anything to turn both valves off.
Many of the older style valves are wheel-shaped or have round-handled valves, and they turn off by turning clockwise, from left to right. Most of the newer valves are ball valves with a single lever, where you only have to turn that valve 90 degrees from a horizontal position to a vertical position, and the water is fully turned off. Sometimes these valves are a little sticky, and you have to provide some elbow grease to get them to turn, whether they are the wheel-handled valve or the lever-handled ball valve. This is especially true if they haven’t been turned on or off for a while.
If you don’t get your water from your local municipality, you likely have a well on your property. If you have a well connected to your house, you will have a pressure tank with one valve beside it in the house’s basement.
If you have a plumbing emergency, you can always go to your water meter, turn the valves off, and then call your local plumber to come out and help you assess the problem.
Often when Super Terry technicians respond to an emergency, they will get the customer stable, doing what is necessary to restore running water to the home, and then they can return later to work on the repairs that need to be done. Usually, even if the repair is major and the plumbers have to come back the next day to complete the job, they will leave the homeowner with running water to use in the meantime. Nobody likes to be without their water.
We at Terry’s Plumbing recommend labeling your shut off valve so that when you’ve got trouble, it is easier to remember what to do. Our techs can and will assist our customers by putting a tag on the water meter valve, describing what it looks like, what type of valve it is, and how to shut it off.
If you have any questions about your water meter or are just looking for a quality plumber in the greater Pittsburgh area, send us a message or give us a call today!