How to tell if you have a Neptune E-Coder 900 (RF-emitting) water meter in your house?

The Neptune E-Coder 900 RF-emitting water meters have two basic components. You may find one or both of these components in or outside your home, as explained below.

The first component contains the ‘face’ or digital display showing the amount of water you use. This component is about the size of a small alarm clock.  Everyone with a Neptune E-Coder 900 meter should have one of these digital displays somewhere inside their home. It may be beside your hot water heater, in a closet or almost anywhere, but attached to an incoming water line.

In any case, it should say Neptune E-Coder 900 on the front.  A picture of it is attached. It may have a clear plastic antenna that looks like a pipe cleaner sticking out, as explained below. But some versions of the meter have a black plastic attachment on top, without the antenna.

You can determine if it is digital by looking on the front of the meter. Digital meters have only numbers, like a typical digital clock. The old analog meters have small wheels which rotate, changing the numbers as the wheels turn.

Homes with newer models of the Neptune 900 meter only have this first component, which looks like a small alarm clock.  In this case, you should see what looks like a 2-3 inch plastic pipe cleaner sticking out of the top. This is the transmitting antenna.

However, older models of the Neptune Meter have a second component, which is a small gray box that may be located in or outside the house. The gray box contains the transmitter. There should be a wire connecting the display (the first component) to the gray box. But the wire may not be apparent.  A picture of the gray box is also shown below.  However, the gray box can also be a little larger than what is shown in the picture.

In all versions of the Neptune meters, the meters emit pulses of RF radiation every 12 to 14 seconds, 24 hours a day.  The radiation is transmitted from the antenna.  If you have an RF detector and want to measure the radiation emitted by the water meter, you would need to place your detector near the antenna.

If you are unable to determine yourself whether you have a Neptune RF emitting water meter, you can also call the Fairfield Water Department to check.


10 thoughts on “How to tell if you have a Neptune E-Coder 900 (RF-emitting) water meter in your house?

  1. Thanks for this invaluable information…I’m definitely going to have a look around my property and around town. How can we be a green community if things like this are allowed to pollute our environment??????

  2. If the homeowners can get their hands on an old style reader that used to be on the outside of the house? If so they could easily disable the Neptune and re-attach an old reader so at least you are still able to read the water usage. It’s your house so you have a right to do whatever you want, especially if you did not ask for or know this RF device was being installed. This is absolutely what I will do if I find one of these things on or in the house.

    • Of course, if they completely removed the old meter valve inside the house and re-installed a new one, then you might have a problem. Best not to allow anyone in your house to add any new equipment in the first place!

  3. Better read your utilities Terms and Conditions of Service, most clearly state that you must allow utility personnel access to your property to check, replace, maintain or read any utility equipment to include the meter; or your service can be disconnected until such a time you allow access.
    Tampering, disabling, removing utility equipment is a violation of these same Terms and Conditions not only can your water be disconnected for this, but you can have charges brought up against you. As far as trying to connect an old style outside reader, it can’t be done they require a pulse generating register on the water meter, this technology is obsolete and can no longer be purchased from the major water meter manufacturers any more.

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  5. Hello they install in side my house neptune r900 gray box on wall near my water meter so if i take my water meter off every other day and put back on will they no ?

    • Possibly, some meters will data log an occurrence of a meter being tampered with or disabled in anyway. Again look at my comment above about terms and conditions regarding your water service. I work for a water utility and have done a great deal of research on water meters, we actually use Neptune 900 meters in our system. The RF from these meters is far less than what you are hit with by cell phones (that you put right up to your head), and routers you encounter everywhere you go.

  6. I am trying to ascertain whether or not there has ever been a malfunction of the Neptune three-quarter inch RF type water meter. My bill has always been under 1500 gallons per month I live in a very small home no pause no irrigation and all of my plumbing is sound . I just received a bill for 77,000 gallons being used they sent a technician out to look at the Neptune radiofrequency water meter and the technician stated there is nothing wrong with it it seems to be working properly he said there are no leaks with my toilets were valves because the meter was not moving. He The technician then let my faucet drip and to my amazement it made the meter move so this verifies that the meter does work and is very sensitive. It should be noted that this Neptune water meter with radio frequency device is located in the ground outside in a cylinder that fills up with water is it possible this could affect an incorrect meter reading. . Or is it possible that the Neptune water meter can malfunction one time and show there is nothing wrong no leaks etc

    • Anthony,
      Ask if the utility if this is the style of meter that has a data log that can be retrieved. The Neptune meters we use at our utility stores the water use over the last 90 days; it can then be graphed showing daily or hourly use. That information can be used to determine when the water use was recorded by the meter. Usually we find once we present that information to our customers that will jog their memory about something being left on or it will show that a leak is not constant but happens occasionally, such as a toilet that doesn’t quite shut off every time it is flushed. As far as your meter being in a pit that fills with water, it won’t make it read more water it only measures that goes through the meter. If it is a not a meter that is meant to be in a wet location then the water will get into the meter register/transmitter (head) and “fry” the electronics and it will stop working altogether. Hope you figure out what caused the high reading.

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