Your water bill is a little high this month? Not sure if the kids are taking long showers, or maybe you watered the lawn more than usual. There is only one way to know for sure if you have a leak. You have to clock your meter.
Clocking your water meter is a relatively simple process that just takes a bit of patience.
Step 1: Turn everything that uses water, off.
Step 2: Identify the location of your water meter. If you are reading this, you most likely live in a detached single family home. With that in mind, your water meter will be located somewhere near the street, with a rectangular top made of metal. If it is buried, then you can usually identify it by the location of less vegetation, or use a metal detector.
Step 3: Open the water meter box and find the actual water meter. Be careful, this is a great spot for Black Widows and snakes to hide.
The vast majority of meters these days are read using remotely by public works employees who drive around kind of like the Google street guys, only not as cool. So it most likely hasn't been opened in a while.
The actual meter is usually round with a head that looks like a clock. It can have a hand like a clock, or just have a digital read out. The water meter display is almost always powered by a small solar cell, kind of like your calculator. Shine a flashlight on the solar cell to get the display to kick on.
Step 4: Read the numbers. Write them down. Wait 15 minutes.
Step 5: Read the numbers again. Write them down. Compare.
Step 6: Math. Do all the math. If your meter moved, you have a leak somewhere.
Step 7: If you have an interior house shutoff, turn it off. Repeat 4-6. If your meter moved, your leak is in the yard. If it didn't, your leak is inside.