Faulty water meter?

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Last week, when I got my water bill, it was a whopping $185.00. On checking my water meter, it was spinning at the rate of about 3 gallons per minute. I checked for anything leaking in the house and didn't find anything. The same for the outside faucets. There's no evidence of water leaks outside, no damp spots, etc.
My plumber came out and checked everything, but couldn't come up with anything. I called the city water folks and one of them came out and looked all around, even using a listening device they have. He couldn't find anything, either, although he said the sounds were louder on the end of the house where the septic tank and an outside faucet are located.
I haven't been able to locate the valve next to the house that turns off all of the water, so I went home after the city water guy left, determined to dig up my yard if needed. I went to turn off the water so we wouldn't waste any more, and found that the meter was no longer running! I couldn't believe it.
I called the city guy and told him that the meter had stopped, and he could hardly believe it. We both know a leak doesn't plug itself. He had no suggestions. I was just grateful that it had stopped.
I kept an eye on the meter for a couple of hours and it didn't budge. However, a few hours later, just before I went to bed, I decided to check it again and, sure enough, it was running again for no reason.
Any suggestions or analysis would be appreciated.
David Alexander
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DAVID ALEXANDER wrote:

If it's a traditional mechanical water meter, my strong suspicion would be that the water is in fact going somewhere. These are driven only by mechanical movement caused by water flow. They could be inaccurate, but I can't see how you could get wheels spinning without water going by. If it's an electronic one, then it's at least theoretically possible for the electronics to go nuts and show water usage when none is occurring.
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checking
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Was a neighbor watering his lawn at the same time? Do you have a sprinkler system?
Bob
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On Wed, 8 Nov 2006 10:22:30 -0600, "DAVID ALEXANDER"

Water-treatement with a screwed up timer? Or something backwashing a filter? You have shut-offs inside the house, right? STart turning them off.
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Look at your toilets, flappers leak, if you have the valve type they go bad, you could put dye in the tank and see if the bowl changes color, or just turn off your toilet valve and see if it stops.
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What the others said. Unless there is a hidden leak in a wall, or underground, you should be able to find some cause. Unlikely that an underground/in the wall leak would start and stop, altho it is possible. I have a bunch of individual line shutoff valves, you could mebbe narrow the problem that way. Be careful of the hot water heater, tho, as I don't know if they are water-level protected. Most times it seems you can hear water flow. HF, auto stores have "mechanics' stethoscopes", real cheap, that might help you in your own sleuthing. A real mystery! Post back w/ the resolution!
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Mr. P.V.\'d (formerly Droll Troll), Yonkers, NY
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Any of your neighbors do any excavating lately? Road crew on your street? Etc? The fact that it stopped and then started makes me suspicious that you may have been "mistakenly" tapped or something. Let us know what you find out!
Glenn http://www.goalelectrical.com
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Of course, if the meter is IN his house, a neighbor woulda had to have tapped into proly a real skinny line coming FROM his house--hose line spigot, etc. Had they tapped into the feed INTO his house, this would be *before* the meter and would not register.
Weird, any way you look at it.
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if you catch it running again for no reason turn off the main water valve to see if it stops.
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That won't really reveal anything, except one scenario (assuming the valve is good): If he turns the main valve off, and the meter KEEPS spinning, then something is f'sure wrong w/ the meter itself.
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Proctologically Violated wrote:

EXACTLY IT elminates one failure mode, plus running water can often be heard, run valve near shut can generate more noise at least it does for me, to help narrow down the problem.
Having been a service tech since 1975 when confronted with something you dont understand try to narrow down its failure modes by changing anything.........
standing around saying I dont understand accomplihes little.
if there are some service valves try shuttling them to narrow down the problem.
I installed ball valves to all fixtures to make life easier when changing washers or if something fails.
like the nite my tub faucet wouldnt shut off:( with no valve to the bathroom ALL the water was off till it was fixed......
really inconveniuent.
that happened since, no problem valve off in basement
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replying to , william wrote: if the usage needle is moving showing water use but the triangle (indicating water flow) is perfectly still, would this indicate that the meter is faulty?
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DAVID ALEXANDER wrote:

My parents' house is vacant, and it was running 10s of thousands of gallons per month. At first I suspected an error from the meter to the electronic meter reader. Nope! Then I thought someone was stealing water from the hose so I shut off the water main to the house. Another high bill! So I have had the meter replaced (free) and old one tested (about $40 if no error found). However, I don't know how they could test such a device accurately, given how weird the problem is. In fact, I have not heard back from them in 4 monthes. I subsequently learned that my water co is running unusually high pressure in my area. Don't know if this would throw out a meter. GET YOUR METER REPLACED!

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install a new main shutoff and a new meter. if there is a buried pipe from an outdoor meter to the house, replace it. stop putting bleach dispensers in the toilet tank. replace all toilet tank fill valves and flusher fixer. see: http://www.fluidmaster.com / some briefly quoted here: " Leaky toilets waste more water than you think. Silent trickle or constant flow, every leak is a costly one. Leaks caused by old toilet parts waste water, bloat your water bills and cab trigger serious water damage. It's cheaper to fix leaks than pay for them. The sooner you detect and replace faulty tank parts, the faster you'll save water and money. Fluidmaster parts and kits make the job easy. Read on and learn how simple and smart it is to find and fix those leaks. TOP THREE LEAK FACTORS * Parts installed over five years? * Prolonged exposure to bleach in-tank cleaners? * Visible rust or warping?"
DAVID ALEXANDER wrote:

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In most cases the water meter is *not* faulty.
In some cases, one house with a garage or whatever has been split into two. Or a business with two buildings has been split into two separate properties. BUT they don't separate the water lines! It is possible that you have a water line going to a neighbor. But only if at one time the two properties were one. Symptoms of this are constantly high water bills, water use when your house is vacant. Or neighbors house is vacant, then occupied and suddenly you have a higher water bill.
Other than that, it is a leak somewhere. I would find where the water lines go, enter house, etc. and install shut off valves. When it is happening, shut off a valve to just the house for example while leaving the yard water on. Then you can eventually narrow down the leak.
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That was 10 years ago!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Some quoted text!!!!!
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On Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at 11:22:30 AM UTC-5, DAVID ALEXANDER wrote:

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Shut the main valve off in the basement. If your water meter is still spinn ing, turn the water back on, and get your video camera. Record the meter sp inning with the water on, and then keep recording when you go shut it off, and go back to it still spinning. You might need it for the lawsuit against the water company if they don't want to pony up a refund.
...but really, the odds are it's going somewhere. Sounds like A LOT too. I' d normally say check your toilets, but you may have a pipe under the founda tion or something that burst, creating a nice little sinkhole. That's not t he water company's problem.
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On 6/21/2016 1:16 PM, John D wrote:

Wonder if he found the problem, since the first post in 2006?
- . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
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On Tue, 21 Jun 2016 15:22:11 -0400, Stormin Mormon

He found it, just before he drowned.
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