How to choose a water meter? Do you need a plumber to help you with it?

Every building, regardless of its purpose, has a plumbing system. It’s the most important system and the absolute basis - already at the stage of finishing the building. Many important activities are impossible without having an access to water. When the plumber connects the property with a water line, one has to remember about a water meter.

A water meter is one of the most basic equipment used in water systems.
A water meter is one of the most basic equipment used in water systems.

Water systems equipment - you need a good water meter

Water meter is one of the most basic devices used in plumbing systems. Thanks to it, water use can be measured. Water use is typically expressed in square meters - marked as m3. The measuring equipment allows for the used water volume control and calculation of the cost for the user. By using a water meter, you can control the money spent on water bills.

How have the technology change over the past several years? Up until recently, every other plumber has recommended manual water meters. They are very easy to maintain. To read the value, an authorised person had to come, note the value and pass it further to charge the user. Today, more advanced equipment is available. It can transfer the data remotely to the housing community manager. A wireless water meter - that’s what it’s called - is a great improvement in these times.

Cost settlement for the water use value indicated by water meter

In large cities, water use indicated by a water meter is settled as a flat-rate. It means that the user pays a predetermined value for water. In most cases, it is included in the rent. After the settling period, the real use is settled. What does it mean for the property owner? If there was an excess payment, the further bills are lowered. In case of underpayment - they get higher.

A water meter - which model is the best?

There are several types of water meters available on the market. They differ by construction and appearance. However, those are not the most important issues. Individual parameters of a particular water meter are key.

Water flow is the easiest classification. In this regard, you can choose a mechanical or digital water meter. Each of them has its pros and cons - so there is no ultimate solution. If you consult a specialist, a plumber, you will probably hear one thing - the water meter should fit your own expectations and budget. Every water meter stands for a different price - and you should keep that in mind.

A traditional or modern water meter?

A mechanical water meter measures the water use with an impeller. The element moves when water flows through. Such models are used less frequently then the other ones, as the readings might be faulty. Nevertheless, there are several types of mechanical water meters. You can get models such as:

  • with a turbine,
  • electromagnetic,
  • single and multiple-jet.

A digital water meter is definitely much more precise, hence it’s used especially in new buildings. The water flow, in this case, is controlled by a special sensor located inside the device. Unfortunately, many homeowners consider this type too expensive, so they choose other, cheaper alternatives.

Hot and cold water - one water meter is not enough!

If you are choosing a water meter, know that the devices are classified by their intended use for hot and cold water. One device is not enough, unless you use a heater to heat up cold water. In this case, you need only a water meter for cold water.

A specialist water meter

If you need only a residential water meter for your house or apartment - there shouldn’t be a problem to find the right one. You might, however, need a plumber and their knowledge if you need a specialist water meter. You can find the following devices on the market:

  • irrigation water meter - used if there is a risk of water contamination in the water system.
  • compound water meter - used in public facilities and industrial spaces; they consist of two water meters: major and minor.
  • volumetric water meter - they are very precise but also sensitive to any contamination.
  • ultrasonic water meter - they measure water flow differently than the traditional water meters.

Ultrasonic water meters are a novelty on the market. It might be a large expense because of the advanced technology they use. That’s why it’s a rare choice among the users.

Where to install a water meter?

Are you wondering where and how to install a water meter? As every plumber would tell you, you should pay attention to several important issues, which might be helpful:

  • Choose a spot in which the water meter will not be exposed to vibrations of the water system.
  • A water meter should not be located in a place of very high or very low temperatures. In the first case it might get destroyed, and in the other - the device might freeze and crack.
  • Water meters must be easily accessible. Sometimes a water meter might malfunction. For this reason, it has to be located in an easily accessible space, so that the repair or replacement process is quick.

Do you need a plumber to install a water meter?

Water meter installation is an easy process. Of course, you have to pay attention to the measuring class, which affects its proper position - horizontal or vertical. Keep in mind, however, that a water meter installation can be performed only by an authorized person. It cannot be even a hired plumber. The law requires installation by a water authority employee.

What is the reasoning behind those requirements? When being installed, the water meter must be approved. A special seal should be placed, to prevent the possibility of a fraud. The specialist has to sign a document with the date of installation and the initial status of the water meter.

The property owner might decide to use additional accessories used during installation. Typically, a pipe union is used to attach the water meter. You might also consider a special water meter bracket which looks far better and prevents misreadings by reducing vibrations.

Registration - does it apply to every water meter?

Every water meter installed in a building needs to be approved. The process is called registration, during which the device receives a special number.

Note that registration is granted for a specific timespan. It differs between water meters for hot and colds water. After the given time range, the water meter needs to be controlled. If it’s fully functional, the period gets prolonged. If there are any signs of malfunction, one can regenerate the meter or replace it for a new one. It’s the owner’s decision.

Does a user have to take any actions when using a water meter? Not at all. Thanks to advanced technology and high-quality materials, water meters are maintenance free.


How to seal a water meter?

Only an authorized person can seal or lock a water meter. You cannot seal a water meter yourself, so if you need to do it, you have to file an application with the right municipal establishment assigned to your region.

How to read a water meter?

It's easy to read a water meter. The reading concerns black numbers on the panel - you have to note them with the zeros at the beginning. Modern models do not need to be read by the users, as the value is measured by an authorised person via a radio.

Mateusz Knapik
Author: Mateusz Knapik Sales and Customer Support Specialist at Instalguru

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