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Meters and Backflow Prevention

Water Meters 

Water MeterThe Borough of Somerset uses Sensus Metering Systems water meters. All residential and commercial customers have a meter installed at the premises where it connects to the service line. Almost all customers have some type of remote reading device installed to allow the meter reader access the the water meter readings without going inside the the home or building.

 We are currently installing MXU's for remote reading. An MXU is a device that is connected to the water meter inside, allowing the meter reader to read the meter by way of radio communication. The other devices that we use are remote registers and ECR pads that are mounted to the outside of the home or building.

Tips on How to Protect your Water Meters

Inside MeterDuring Winter Months, we asked that you take special care to protect your water meter from freezing. This will not only help us by not having to send an employee to repair the frozen meters, but is beneficial to you as the owner/tenant of the property are responsible for for paying for the frozen water meter and for the labor for replacing it. Some tips on preventing damage caused by frozen meters:

  • Locate the meter in a place that is heated and out of the wind and weather (like a basement or crawl space).

  • If the meter or water lines are not in a properly heated area, wrap your meter and water lines with insulation and/or heat tapes (Available at local hardware stores).

  • In extreme cases of cold, let one of your faucets run very slowly. A slight increase in your water bill may be better than the costly task of replacing frozen meters, water pipes, or property damage.
Leak Detection

Leak DetectorCheck to see if your meter has a "leak detector" on it. A leak detector is very useful in problem solving, if you suspect you have a leak in your home or business. When you are sure that nobody is using water, check the red dial. It should not be turning. The slightest movement means that water is being registered by the meter. A meter can not turn without water flowing through it.

Start with the toilet. You can turn the valve off at the toilet, then check the red dial. Continue isolating areas until you have narrowed the leak down.

Another way to check a toilet for a leak is by placing a dye tablet or food coloring in the tank. Let it sit for a while then look in the bowl. If you see coloring, the toilet is leaking through. Dye tablets are available free of charge at the Water Office.

Pool Meters

The Borough of Somerset offers “pool meters” to our customers that have pools to fill this summer. Please call the Water Office at 443-2661 when you are ready for a meter. The purpose of obtaining such a meter is to have the sewage amount adjusted from your monthly bill, which is determined by the usage registered on the pool meter. We have a limited supply of these meters on stock, so plan ahead when you need to fill your pool.

When you are filling your pool, please take caution to not allow for cross-connection problems. A cross connection is any potential connection between our water supply and a source of contamination. The primary way to avoid this is to allow an air space of at least two inches for the water to run into your pool

Backflow Prevention

All customers are required to have a functioning backflow prevention devices located downstream of the water meter. This backflow valve is part of the homeowner’s private plumbing. We want to take this opportunity to forewarn you that there is a possibility that the backflow preventer may cause your water system to "pop-off", due to thermal expansion. Most often this causes your hot water tank to pop-off and discharge through the relief valve on the tank. In certain cases the thermal expansion may affect, and damage, other parts of your plumbing susceptible to high-pressure. The control of thermal expansion is the responsibility of the individual homeowner, as it is caused by the homeowner's hot-water tank. In some cases, where the hot-water tank overflow pipe is properly drained, the occasional and small amount of "pop-off" water is acceptable to the customer. In other cases bursting pipes or excessive "pop-off" warrants a customer installing one of the thermal expansion control devices, typically a thermal expansion (diaphragm) tank.

To learn more about thermal expansion and how to address this problem, please see below.

Thermal Expansion Graphic

More helpful information is available at the website links provided here for brief videos explaining the relief valve on the water heater and the installation of an expansion tank.