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How to Install an Abatement Meter

Ed Del Grande explains why installing an abatement meter, used to monitor water flow that doesn't enter the sanitary system, is a good investment. Use these instructions to get the job done.

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Step 1: Install an Isolating Valve, and Tap the Line

The first step will be to install an isolating valve. Shut the water off at the main; then open a faucet on the lowest level of the house to drain the plumbing system.

Use a razor or knife to remove any insulation from the existing pipes.

Use a pipe cutter to tap into the line (Image 1) that runs to the outside sillcock (Image 2).

Step 2: Clean and Apply Flux

Using basic soldering techniques, clean the cut line and the ball valve; then apply a generous amount of flux to both and solder the valve to the line.

Step 3: Prep the Water Line

Turn the isolation valve to the off position and then turn the water back on at the main.

Continue prepping the water line as follows:

  • Clean and flux a 1/2" piece of copper pipe and slide it inside the open end of the isolation valve.
  • Apply flux to the lower end of the copper pipe and the female adapter and attach the two together.
  • Carefully solder all the joints and make certain the connections are secure.
  • Wrap several layers of Teflon® tape to the threaded end of the meter coupling and screw it into the female adapter.
  • Make sure the connection is snug by tightening the coupling with two adjustable wrenches.

Step 4: Hang the Meter

First, make sure the meter is going in the right direction. Most will have an arrow to tell you the direction of the flow. You want the arrow and flow to point downward.

Remove any insulation from the remaining copper water line, test-fit the bottom fittings to get a measurement and cut the line.

Using the pipe cutter, remove the excess section of pipe. Remember, always cut a little less than you will need if you have any doubts about the measurement.

Remove the fittings from the meter; clean and flux the female adapter and copper line thoroughly.

Slide the female adapter (Image 1) onto the copper line and carefully solder it in place (Image 2).

Step 5: Attach the Male and Female Adapters

Wrap several layers of Teflon tape to the threaded male meter fitting (Image 1). Screw that fitting into the threaded female connection and snug it up with a pair of adjustable wrenches (Image 2).

Finalize the connection by inserting the rubber gasket between the meter and the union. Make sure the connection is tight.

Step 6: Secure the Meter

Technically the meter is installed and you can turn the water on, but first make sure it's secured tightly in order to prevent leaks. Use 2x4s and clips to secure everything to the wall.

Measure the area where the support beams will be installed; then cut the 2x 4s to this length.

Locate an area where the 1/2" copper straps will fit over the 1/2" water line and use a drill to mount the support beams to the wall.

Place a 1/2" copper strap over the water line and secure the meter to the 2x4s.

Step 7: Finish Installation

Turn the isolation valve to the on position and check for any leaks.

Attach a hose to the outside sillcock, turn on the hose and check the meter to make sure it's functioning. This is also another opportunity to check for any hidden leaks.

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