How Much Does a Water Meter Cost?

Last Updated on July 12, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

All people need drinking water, but for some people, obtaining it involves quite high costs, especially if it is wasted or there are losses due to damage. Water usage for domestic purposes states its costs for collection, storage, filtration, and flow.

Suppliers have treatment and filtering facilities, water tanks for storage, and water transport pipeline systems according to the demand of each district /location, which form the water system supply.

Although the price of water is fixed and is calculated per gallon, some people could save money on water bills by installing water meters. They will only pay for the amount of water they actually use, which is measured by the water counter.

Obviously, this is especially advantageous for units where the people that live do not waste water and where consumption is low.

Water meters are necessary to properly record the consumption of hot or cold water. When they fail, recording a different water consumption or not recording at all, it is required to use the services of a professional installer.

The need for a specialist is important because the installation of water counters and their replacement must be done in complete safety.

How Much Does a Water Meter Cost?

The cost of a water meter starts at around $430 and can go up to more than $3,600, whether the expense, will be billed to the consumer or the government, or if the water meter has to be connected to a service line and the pavement will also have to be replaced. In these estimates, you get both the professional labor and the meter.

The rate to install a hydrometer will be influenced by some factors such as the professional that will do the job, the geographical location of the customer, the size of the meter, and the type of installation.

You might also like our articles on the cost of water heatersdishwashers, or the price of connecting to a public sewer.

In case the utility company allows you to replace on your property the water meter on your own,  you will have to spend only for the meter anywhere between $160 and $270, or around $510 if it is a digital water meter.

These estimates are available only for the water counter and do not include professional labor expenses. In case your utility company will recommend you a certain model of the hydrometer, then they will provide it to you free of charge.

Average Payments for the Water Meter Depending on Its Size

In the table below you will get the average prices of different types of water meters.

Meter Size Average Price
2 inch
  • $3,800 when you replace the meter and a new connection needs to be made.
  • $900 when you replace the part on an existing line.
1-1/2 inch
  • $3,300 when you replace the meter and a new connection needs to be made.
  • $750 when you replace the part on an existing line.
1 inch
  • $3,000 when you replace the meter and a new connection needs to be made.
  • $550 when you replace the part on an existing line.
3/4 inch
  • $2,800 when you replace the meter and a new connection needs to be made.
  • $500 when you replace the part on an existing line.
5/8 inch
  • $2,800 when you replace the meter and a new connection needs to be made.
  • $500 when you replace the part on an existing line.

As all the jobs are different and unique, take into consideration asking for multiple price offers from the contractors in your geographical area. They may also depend on whether you live in a rural area, or in a city.

For example, in Tucson, Arizona you will have to pay around $400 to install a water meter of 5/9 inches on an existing line, while for a two-inch meter, the costs are around $790.

On the other hand, if the new meter installation has to be connected to a service line, the costs for a 5/8-inch meter will be around $2,400, and for a two-inch meter will be almost $3,500.

According to the official website of Angel Fire Village from New Mexico, the cost of installing a water counter starts at $1,600 for a 5/8-inch sealed register and goes up to $12,400 for a compound meter. The meter box costs, the equipment costs, the labor costs, and other expenses will be included in this price.

If you are living in the Washington D.C. area, you should be prepared to spend around $200 to install a smart meter in your house, while in California the cost of a smart meter would be around $320 per household.

What are the extra costs?

In general, before you can dig a supply line in order to connect to the water main and/or tap into the city’s water system, you will need a permit. There are contractors that may include these permit fees in their estimates, but there may be some others that won’t include them, so you will have to take them into consideration as well.

Do you need to get professional help when installing a water meter?

Water Meter InstallationThe installation of the hydrometers is done only by qualified personnel in a relatively short time, so don’t try to do this job alone. Contact a professional for help. The installer must also check the plumbing system for any problems with the connections, which must be changed before mounting and sealing a water meter. In this case, the working time will increase significantly.

Sealing hydrometers is a prior and responsible measure that must be taken after each intervention on water meters such as checking, replacing, or installing.

An authorized installer will hand over to the owner/developer, at the end of any type of intervention on water meters, both installation, replacement, verification, and sealing, the necessary documents certifying that the work has been executed correctly.

The replacement of the water counters and the execution process proceeds as follows:

  • Removing the non-compliant water counter;
  • The implementation of a new water meter;
  • Changing the gaskets;
  • Sealing the water meter;
  • Performing the hot and cold-water test on the water service;
  • Handing over the authorization and the replacement and sealing report.

Detection of water leaks from the house

With the help of hydrometers, you can identify water losses at the actual address where they are located, so much damage can be prevented. Sometimes utility bills can be larger due to high water consumption, which may be due to plumbing problems and water leaks in the house.

With or without water counters, water leaks will be detected sooner or later, even by the fact that the water pressure may be lower in the water system. These occur if there are cracks in the pipes, or corrosion problems if there are defects in the taps, showers, or other damages.

Water leaks are reviewed faster with a hydrometer because increased water use and the costs associated with can be an alarm signal. This can be done simply. Read the water consumption code, then leave it for 30-60 minutes without using the water.

Then read the value from the water meter again, if it has changed, it is clear that you have water loss. All you have to do is check where the damage is and call a plumber for repairs.

The performance of hydrometers depends not only on the accuracy class but also on the way they were facilitated, replaced, checked, sealed, and especially used.

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