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Water meter reading

Different size meters indicate different resolutions of the reading. One rotation of the sweep hand may be equivalent to 10 gallons or to 1,000 gallons (1 to 100 ft.3, 0.1 to 10 m3). If one rotation of the hand represents 10 gallons, the meter has a 10 gallon sweep. Sometimes the last number(s) of the wheel display are non-rotating or printed on the dial face. The fixed zero number(s) are represented by the position of the rotating sweep hand. For example, if one rotation of the hand is 10 gallons, the sweep hand is on 7, and the wheel display shows 123456 plus a fixed zero, the actual total usage would be 1,234,567 gallons.

In the United States most utilities bill only to the nearest 100 or 1,000 gallons (10 to 100 ft.3, 1 to 10 m3), and often only read the leftmost 4 or 5 numbers on the display wheels. Using the above example, they would read and bill 1,234, rounding to 1,234,000 gallons based on a 1,000 gallon billing resolution. The most common rounding for a particular size meter is often indicated by differently coloured number wheels, the ones ignored being black, and the ones used for billing being white.