Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It pays to read the meter

I read our meters once a week. Now some people (or most?) would think that's obsessive or just plain weird, but it does give me a good idea of when something's not right. For example if I get a spike in power use I think "did I (or Amy, more likely) forget to turn off the hot water booster"? If water use is high I wonder whether the retic settings need adjusting.

My meter reading paid off recently. About a month ago our water use spiked in a big way, using 2,000 litres a day. The mains meter kept spinning despite the rainwater tank being full and it had us stumped for a while. At last we found the leak, a faulty solenoid is causing the retic in a hidden spot to run 24/7. It's fixed now and what a relief.

Most people wouldn't realise until they get the water bill and even then they might not twig. It just goes to show that there's some method in my madness...


  1. Hi Adam. Meter reading is a great habit to get into. I read our water, electricity, and gas meters once a week on Friday evenings, and graph the results.

    I am a firm believer that if you can't measure it, you can't change the outcome effectively.


    1. Good point Gav, the whole point of reading the meter is to get a feedback loop between our behaviour and consumption.

      Good to graph too. I haven't seen any of your graphs on your blog, how come? Geek it up I say!


  2. We don't have a water meter (it's metered for the whole building and the owners pay - no water bills for the tenants) but I've decided since we moved to monitor our energy bills more closely. Well not the bills (I do that already), but the usage in-between the bills. I've just borrowed an energy meter reader thingy to see how much electricity our fridge guzzles, and anything else that we plug in whilst I'm at it. It's a project that's just starting, but I'm quite excited about it!

    Good work finding the water leak! : )

    1. Good on you for reading the meters too. Energy meters are useful gadgets. We used one once and found that our radio alarm used 0.3kW a day, which doesn't sound like much but represented 7% of our total usage! So we ditched that pretty quickly. Conversely we found that our 30 year old fridge isn't too bad, averaging 1.5kW a day. It's less efficient than a good new one, but still reasonable so we've kept the fridge for the time being.