Do you know what your gas and water meters look like?
They run gas and water to your house and keep your heater and hot water running, but do you know where your gas and water meters are, what they look like, and how to turn them off in an emergency? We've created a guide (with pictures!) for all these questions and more.
How do I find my gas or water meter?
Usually your water meter will be located close to the front of the property, often just inside the front fence near a garden tap.
Here is a gallery of common Australian water meters.
There is a valve next to the water meter known as the shut off or stop valve. Turn this clockwise when you need to turn all water to your house off (such as if there is a bad leak or flooding).
Your gas meter is normally located directly next to your house, normally on the front left or right of you house. If you live in a unit, apartment or townhouse, you will usually find your gas meter in the same location as your other meters, all in one central area.
Here are some pictures of Australian gas meters.
There is a valve attached to your gas meter. If the handle is inline with the pipe underneath, gas is flowing from the meter to your house. You can rotate the valve 90 degrees so that it reaches a horizontal position to turn your gas off (if there is a gas leak or related issues).
Who is responsible for the water meter?
Water retailers are responsible for maintaining the water service up to and including the property meter.
As the property owner, you are responsible for monitoring and maintaining all of the plumbing pipework and fittings on your private property (including the pipe running from the water meter to your residence, and any internal plumbing within your residence). If a leak occurs in any pipe on your property, you are responsible for having the leak fixed and for the cost of the water.
Who is responsible for the gas meter?
Gas distributors, such as the Australian Gas Network are responsible for maintenance and work on the gas meter and the gas distribution network (the pipes and mains that connect to your gas meter from the street). Gas retailers take the meter readings, but are not responsible for meter repairs or maintenance. View the list of Australian authorised gas retailers here.
As the property owner, you are responsible for all the piping down-stream (away) from your gas meter to your appliances. You are also responsible for the gas appliance themselves, and their associated fittings (flues/ducts etc). If a gas leak occurs in the piping between your gas meter and your appliances, you should contact a licensed gas fitter to arrange a repair, such as the team at Expert Plumbing (03) 9486 5907.
How do I read the water meter?
Some reasons to read your water meter include checking how much water you are using, detecting a leak, or providing your water retailer with a reading so they can send you an accurate bill.
Once you’ve located your meter, read the black numbers from left to right, which represent kilolitres.
The meters above are all showing a reading of 538 kilolitres.
How do I read the gas meter?
All gas meters have a meter number, which matches the meter number on your bill. Each meter also has a MIRN (Meter Installation Registration Number) or a DPI (Delivery Point Identifier). These numbers are assigned to each address and are used by the meter service provider to identify your property. Victorian gas meter numbers usually have four numbers and two letters e.g. 1234AB.
If your meter has digits or dials that are red they can be ignored. They are used for testing or to represent decimal places. If your gas meter is a metric or odometer meter (one with digits instead of dials), read all the digits on the display from left to right including any leading zeros.
The below example reading is 5973 milojoules per cubic metre (MJ/ M³).
If you need further assistance reading your meter you can contact your energy retailer directly or ask your local plumber.
Is my water pressure ok?
Water pressure, calculated as kilopascals (kPa) in Australia, contributes to how fast the water flows through your house’s pipes and out of your faucets or shower heads. If your water pressure is too high, you may be using too much water each day, you are at a higher risk of having pipe leaks and it can void warranties on your tap ware. If your water pressure is too low, you may be taking longer to perform basic cleaning and bathing tasks. Australian plumbing regulations state that your water pressure should be no more than 500 kPa.
Your local plumber can install a pressure limiting valve at your water meter to ensure that your water will never exceed 500 kPa, even if the water pressure in your street fluctuates. A pressure limiting valve retails for around $120.00 plus installation and is a small price to pay for peace of mind.
Before and after a pressure limiting valve is installed at a water meter.
Is my gas pressure ok?
In natural gas fuel systems the gas pressure delivered from the gas main in the street can vary widely by area, season, time of day and more. A regulator is installed at the meter to ensure consistency of gas pressure and flow rate throughout your house. A regulator is often at your cooktop/ stove as well. This is to ensure that the gas is delivered from the meter to the cooktop/stove at the proper gas pressure and flow rate specified by the manufacturer for the particular appliance.
If you're having gas issues, a licensed gas plumber can check if there are any issues stemming from your gas meter or one of your gas appliances, and can even isolate certain appliances from your gas source, so if your gas cooktop has issues, you can still use your gas heating.
Gas regulators installed at a gas meter (left) and inside a gas oven (right)
For all your water meter and gas meter questions, call the experts at Expert Plumbing & Gas. Our team of qualified plumbers can check and adjust your water and gas pressure, install a pressure limiting valve, detect and address leaks, and advise on any other issues.