Water main inspection

Is it typical for a home inspector to locate the main water meter and inspect it? If it is not located, does anyone contact the utility company for the location?

I would locate the meter for two reasons.

  1. To see if any water is running thru meter (leak detector on meter).
  2. Identify the meter as a water shut off location.

If I could not locate the meter, I reported that and stated the buyer should contact the seller or water authority to learn the location.


Thank you. I appreciate the quick response.

What State are you in? They may have Requirements (which supercede Internachi’s also)!!


I’m in Idaho which does not have any requirements. I do inspect the main water shutoff in the home but don’t inspect the water meter. I had a client question that and I wanted to get opinions from other inspectors on whether they try to locate the main water meter. Plumbing 3.6 discusses the main water shut-off valve. Is that at the meter or in the home InterNACHI is referring too?

Most of the water meters around me are at the curb stop (36 inches below ground). Inspection of these meters requires removal of the weather cover (typically overgrown with grass) with a five sided socket.


IMO… the Main is the location that shuts down the Utility Service to the Property.
All other shut-offs are secondary.


I don’t include the location of the water meter in my reports, they will only make the report if I find that the connections are corroded or leaking (in the house). And like Bob mentioned above, many times they are buried in the yard somewhere and and I for one am not digging them up.


The client had a leak at his meter and blames me for not finding it. A plumber found it after calling the utility company asking the location of the meter. I did report a leak in his crawlspace but he is requesting a refund because he “claims” finding the location of the meter is in the InterNACHI SOP’s. His basis is an article he found on the website that says we as home inspectors should take 3 pictures of the meter. I don’t locate meters because most of the time because they are too difficult to find and I don’t call the utility company either. He apparently thinks I didn’t do my due diligence as an inspector. This house in question was built in the 1940’s.

The main water shutoff referred to is in the home. This is the one the homeowner can access to turn off his whole house. The “curb stop” is designed to be more difficult to access. Three foot hole with the water meter out by the curb in my area.
Don’t worry about the water meter, it is utility property and you don’t need to inspect it. In the few installations where it is in the house it is usually adjacent to the main water valve the homeowner can access. What’s to inspect? If it doesn’t leak your good to go.

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Then you’re covered (the meter is in the crawlspace?). You don’t have to diagnose the leak, merely report it as needing correction. Three pictures is not in the SOP.

The meter was not in the crawlspace. I didn’t locate the meter. Yes, the three pictures article is just what is is, an article, not the SOP. Apparently there was a leak at the meter and he claims I should’ve located the meter. I appreciate all of the responses.

Send him the actual SoP. Tell him there are lots of inspectors writing lots of articles on InterNACHI’s website (like me) that say lots of things, but it is the SoP that is the baseline for inspections and inspecting the city water meter is not required.


The majority of homes I inspect in my area are on a well system. I try to identify the main shut off being inside or outside of the house. The few that are public with a meter, I will try and locate, access if I can, but note in the report whether location was found or not, or if access was available. The SOP doesn’t state that you have to find a meter…


Thank you Lon. I appreciate the response.

Thank you Thomas. If I don’t find the meter, I’m going to start reporting that. I currently only say something if I see it.

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The main water shut off valve is always at the meter around here.


I use the InterNachi SOP. I define the main shut-off in my narrative since it is ambiguous.

The main water shut-off device was located in the garage. An additional shut-off is at the roadside meter.


The main water shut-off device was located in the garage. I was unable to locate the water meter. I recommend you ask the seller or the service provider for the meter location.


I never locate or inspect the exterior city meter and city meter pit. While there is frequently a meter in the house, the city water pit is not something I look for. Years ago, during the HUD foreclosure years, I turned the water on to inspect these houses, so I have the 5-sided socket set to access the pits. Back then, I had a master key to open the city’s padlocks, but today, as just a home inspector, I am no longer authorized by the city to open them, and that is that.

Just curious if the SOP requires locating the water main to locate the GEC connection for the grounding electrode.