Of course, there's always a way to tamper with something, as long as you know how to do it. But, is it legal?

Can You Tamper With A Water Meter?

With the water meter becoming smarter in recent years, it has become easier for hackers to break into them and misuse their electronics.

The way things are going with these upgrades from computers on board as well as wireless connectivity makes hacking even more simple than before which could prove very dangerous if not handled properly by utilities companies who need this information responsibly guarded at all times

Is Tampering With A Water Meter Illegal?

In Georgia, as in most (if not all) states, tampering with a water meter is illegal and comes with penalties.

"No person shall damage, destroy, deface, impair the function of, or otherwise vandalize any portion of the county water supply system. Sec. 25-50.7 Meter tampering prohibited. No person shall break, alter, change the reading of, or tamper with the mechanism of any water meter of the county." - dekalbcountyga.gov

Fines could be as high as $1,000 and that's in addition to criminal prosecution.

Water meters give the city a window into your household's water use and they know how much money should be coming in. If you think it's going to be free without any form of payment, guess again! The law says if someone has low usage for an extended period or there is no match between what we measure through our meter and their consumption pattern then most likely one will get contacted about this soon enough.

We all pay when someone steals our water. Do you want to protect your community and rates? Report any suspicious activity so we can get these criminals off the street!

Can Water Meters Be Manipulated?

Of course water meters can be manipulated, just about anything can be - but as we stated earlier, it's illegal and may not be worth whatever you end up saving in your water bill.

Many water companies have created algorithms to detect meter tampering so it's important for anyone considering trying to manipulate their meter and their water bill to know that they can certainly be caught, fined and prosecuted.

Can I Put A Magnet On My Water Meter?

Some homeowners have discovered information about Neodymium Magnets and their use in altering their water meter. Some have claimed that when used correctly with water or electric meters it can help adjust your bill artificially!

These magnets are 10x stronger than ordinary magnets making them very powerful.

Although this sounds like an easy and great idea - it's not for several reasons.

  • Neodymium magnets can only be safe to use if they are handled properly. Otherwise, they can physically cause harm. Imagine getting your fingers or hand caught under this magnet as it's powerful magnetism attaches to a metal object.
  • This magnet must be maintained at least 8 inches away from mechanical watches, heart pacemakers, CRT monitors, television sets, credit cards, diskettes, etc. Any object that can be damaged by magnetism should be kept away from these magnets.
  • Of course, placing this magnet (or any magnet) on your water meter to purposely change the meter reading is illegal.


Although it may be tempting to try some tricks to alter your water meter readings to save money on your water bill - in the end it's illegal and not worth the risk.

We recommend that if your water bills are high to read our article on How To Save Money On My Water Bill.

If you have any questions about water meters or are having some problems with it, call Atlantis Plumbing today at 770-505-8570. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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