- What does a water meter do and how accurate is it?
- How often will I receive a metered water invoice?
- Where is my water meter located?
- Who owns the infrastructure of the water meter?
- My bill seems high; can my water meter record more water than what I actually consumed?
- Is it possible for my meter to begin to fail?
- What happens if my meter is not registering?
- What might cause an increase in water consumption?
- What impact could a leak have on my water bill?
- Can I request a meter reading?
- What are other possible causes of leaks?
- Are there any reductions that I can apply for in the event that there is a leak?
- How can I check if my toilet is leaking?
What does a water meter do and how accurate is it?
Water meters measure and record the consumption of water that flows through the meter and water line. They have an accuracy of 98.5% - 101.5%. The consumption is recorded in cubic meters.
How often will I receive a metered water invoice?
Utility bills for metered water are issued quarterly; you will receive bills four times a year.
Where is my water meter located?
Water meters are most often located at your property line. It is important to ensure that the location of your water meter is clear of any obstacles.
Who owns the infrastructure of the water meter?
The City owns the water meter infrastructure. A water meter repair and rental fee charge is included on quarterly billings to account for the costs involved to maintain, service, and replace water meter infrastructure.
My bill seems high; can my water meter record more water than what I actually consumed?
No. Water meters have been designed to read and record water consumption when water flows directly through the meter itself, they cannot register consumption that is not there. Water meters do not over read (more than 101.5% accuracy).
Is it possible for my meter to begin to fail?
Yes, as meters age they can begin to fail. In the case that a meter begins to fail, it will begin to under read as it has less than 98.5% accuracy. This is reflected as savings to the customer as the utility bill will not accurately reflect the total water that was consumed during the quarter (it will reflect less water than what was actually consumed). Water meters do not over read (more than 101.5% accuracy).
What happens if my meter is not registering?
As stated in City Bylaw No. 1673, Amendment Bylaw No. 2845, Section III, Appendix I, Part 2, Item (c):
“Where a meter is found not to register, the charge shall be computed on the basis of the amount of water used during the time the meter was working, or from any other information or source which can be obtained, and such amount so composed shall be paid by the consumer.”
In most cases, when a meter is found not to register, the computed charges will be based on actual consumption that occurred during previous quarters. Once the meter has been repaired and is registering again, consumption charges will be based on actual consumption registered by the meter at that time.
What might cause an increase in water consumption?
The #1 culprit of increased water consumption is leaking toilets. It is a common misconception that a leaking toilet can be identified as leaking through sight and/or sound. The only accurate way to determine whether or not a toilet is leaking is to use food colouring. Flush the toilet and wait for it to settle. Add a dark color of food colouring (red or blue) to the back of the toilet tank. Do not flush the toilet and wait at least 10 minutes. If the food colouring appears in the bowl of the toilet, there is a leak. In most cases, it will require an adjustment to the float rod, replacement of the float rod and/or float ball, replacement of the flapper valve and/or valve seat. This is typically an inexpensive test and fix that can save water consumption and dollars. Occasionally, water height in the toilet tank can also be an issue. Please have a look at the high water consumption checklist. The best option is to contact a certified professional to rule out any uncertainty and to ensure that the leak is fixed.
Leaking faucets can also be a culprit of increased water consumption. In most cases, leaking faucets are easily identified. There are four types of common faucets: compression, ball-type, cartridge, and disc. For more information on what you can check for your leaking faucet, please refer to the high water consumption checklist. If your building has many faucets and toilet facilities, you may want to carefully inspect each one to ensure that no leak is present or contact a professional to inspect this for you.
The #2 culprit of increased water consumption is an underground leak. If you suspect that you have an underground leak or any other leak that is not appearing on the property line, have a certified plumber come in and run a pressure test on your water line.
What impact could a leak have on my water bill?
Even the smallest leak could cause an increase* in your bill.
*All figures approximate, actual figures may be higher:
Leak Size Cubic Meters/Day Cubic Meters/Month Monthly Cost Quarterly Cost Dripping leak 0.06 1.70 $2.38 $7.14 1/32" leak 1.00 29.98 $41.92 $125.95
3.57 107.13 $149.72 $449.17 1/8" leak 14.41 432.29 $604.30 $1,812.89 1/4" leak 57.64 1729.18 $2,417.50 $7,252.50 1/2" leak 230.53 6915.95 $9,669.36 $29,008.08
Check out the high water consumption checklist for possible reasons why your consumption has increased.
Can I request a meter reading?
Yes. As per Amendment Bylaw No. 2873, 2017 Section III, Appendix I part 2: One meter reading is available free of charge. If access has not been provided and the water technicians are required to attempt to complete the meter reading again, a charge of $35 is applicable. Any additional meter reading requests received after the first call are subject to the $35 charge.
What are other possible causes of leaks?
Possible cause of leak Intermittent leak Continuous leak Outside faucet, garden or sprinkler system leaking X X Toilet valve not sealed properly X X Toilet running X Faucet in kitchen or bathrooms leaking X X Ice maker leaking X Soaker hose in use X Leak between the water meter and the house X Washing machine leaking X X Dishwasher leaking X X Hot water heater leaking X Watering yard for more than 8 hours X X Continuous pet feeder X Water-cooled air conditioner or heat pump X X Filling a swimming pool X Any continuous use of water for 24 hours X
Are there any reductions that I can apply for in the event that there is a leak?
As stated in City Bylaw No. 1673, Amendment Bylaw No. 2845, Section III, Appendix I, Part 2, Item (e):
“Where it has been determined that a water leak has occurred during the last billing period on the buried portion of the service between the water meter and the point where the service pipe enters the building, a maximum one time rebate of 40% of the metered water utility fee to compensate for the water leak will be made at the discretion of the Finance Officer based on the following:
i. The leak occurred on the buried water service;
ii. That a leak of that nature would have caused the volume of excess water usage;
iii. The leak did not occur as a result of negligence of the owner;
iv. The owner has provided satisfactory evidence that the leak has been permanently repaired.”
As this rebate is one time only and is attached to the property and not the current owner, careful consideration should be taken prior to applying for and using the one time only rebate.
Rebates only apply to the portion of the service line aforementioned in the bylaw. Rebates do not apply to internal leaks, leaks on irrigation systems, or leaks on private lines (past the buried portion of the service between the water meter and the point where the service pipes enters the building).
How can I check if my toilet is leaking?
Toilets are the #1 cause of high water consumption.
To check if your toilet is leaking:
- Remove the toilet tank lid
- Add several drops of food colouring (red or blue) into the tank and do not flush
- Wait at least 10 minutes
- Look into the bowl of your toilet. If you see the food colouring, there is a leak.
- Inspect (or have a plumber inspect) your flapper valve (C) and valve seat (D), float rod and float ball (J and B), and the water level of your toilet tank (high water levels can cause the water to continuously spill into the overflow tube (A), ensure that your water level is accurate. Most toilets require the water level to be one-half to one inch below the top of the overflow tube)