Finding and reading your meter

How to find your water meter

Your water meter will look like this:

Image of a water meter

You will usually find it in one of these places:

  • In the path outside your home
  • In a box on an outside wall, or
  • Inside your home - either under the sink, in a cellar or in a downstairs toilet

If the meter is inside your home, it's normally where the water pipe comes into the property and usually near to the stop tap. It's always worth taking the time to find out where the stop tap is just in case of emergencies!

Find and read your meter

Watch our short video on how to find and read your water meter

How to read your water meter

It couldn’t be easier to read your water meter. Just like your gas or electricity meter, the row of numbers turns as you use more.

The black and white numbers show how many cubic metres of water you’ve used, and we’ll calculate your bill using this reading.

So you know, a cubic metre equals a thousand litres of water, which is enough for:

  • 13 baths;
  • or 14 washing machine loads;
  • or 28 showers;
  • or 33 dishwasher loads;
  • or 111 toilet flushes.

The red numbers show fractions of one cubic metre, and if you’re ever checking for leaks on your water pipes, it’s a good idea to read the red digits at frequent intervals to see if they’re going up when you’re not using any water – this could indicate a leak.

We’ll read your meter every six months to make sure you’re being billed the right amount – and if you have one of our new Automated Meter Readers (AMRs), we won’t even need to disturb you in your home to read it!

Frequency of readings

How often will my meter be read?

Usually, we'll read your meter every six months. But if you have one of our clever Automated Meter Readers in your home we’ll be able to take a meter reading remotely - leaving you in peace.

There may still be occasions in the future when we need to inspect your water meter (if it's outside, we shouldn’t need to disturb you at all), and it's important that we can access your meter at all times for any maintenance and exchange. But we always want you to feel safe and happy if one of our team knocks on your door. That's why we offer a Password scheme which helps you to know that the person at your door is genuinely from United Utilities.

If, for any reason, we've been unable to read the water meter, we will leave a card explaining what to do next. You can call us with your reading on 0345 672 2999 or text phone 0808 143 1195. It’s also really easy to enter your reading online, using our form.

Remember, an actual reading, taken either by us or by you will make sure you receive an accurate bill.

It is a requirement from our regulator Ofwat that we bill you for services based on your own meter read or a read taken by us, at least once a year. It's also a regulatory requirement that we take a reading at least once every two years.

When will I get my first bill based on my use?

We'll send you a bill every six months for water and wastewater services you have already used. The date you receive your bill depends on when we read the water meter.

Your first metered bill could arrive at any time up to six months after the water meter has been fitted. If we have been unable to get either our own reading or a reading from you, we will send you an estimated bill instead.

If you've got any questions at all about your meter reading, just give us a call on 0345 072 6065.