water meter??

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by jimbo, Oct 9, 2008.

  1. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Is there a device which can measure water flow through a pipe...without cutting it into the line?

    At my condo association, we are seeing larger water bills....up now to the tune of about $8k per month, instead of about $6K. Part of this is due to price increases....household water now costs us $7.31 per hcf....but we see that the usages are up based on the meter readings.

    Have tried all the usual.....no wet spots anywhere on the grounds. We have "sneaked" around after dark, trying to listen to pipes outside the buildings, with nothing obvious showing up. In the past, we have found a toilet or faucet running contiunous using this method. But nothing now.
    We would like to be able to measure the usage on each building...there are 13 buildings of 8 apts. each.....to see if we can narrow down who is using the water.

    SO. I would love to find a "ultrasonic" meter, or something, that we could temporarily measure the gph to each house over a day or week period.

    We have access outside the building to the 1½" main coming up to each building, and actually to the individual 3/4" pipe for each apt. But it would be somewhat impractical to cut in a normal meter just for testing.

    We have attempted in the past to install individual meters for each apt so everyone would pay their own bill. But in a condo the owners have to approve such changes...and they are "agin' it!"
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,651
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    meter

    Most of the electronic meters are not sensitive enough to detect small leaks. To measure those you need an inline meter with the water actually flowing through it.
  3. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    This may not be a small leak....and it may not be a leak at all, just more people living in the apartments than before. That's why we wanted to just measure the total gallons per week for each building. We have 104 units, and in the past a lot of single individuals lived here, but in the last year there are more families with kids so the usage may just be that. In fact, we think there are a roomful of illegal aliens here or there, as well. We need to know because our budget is hemoraging! I don't do any work here, because I am on the board, conflict of interest and all that! But we have a good plumber, and we may just go ahead and have him install a meter and move it around every week!
  4. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,651
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    meter

    Check with a good waterworks company. There are meters that use transducers but I am not sure what kind of physical/access connection, if any, they need.
  5. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    I do the plumbing for a 200 unit condo complex similar to what you are describing and they are having a similar problem...each building of 6 or 8 units has their own meter. They are considering a mandatory yearly check of all units for leaks in the faucets and toilets to be done by me. Because I would be doing 200 units the rate/cost would be reasonable...I could do the repairs on the spot or they would have a set time limit to have the repairs done.

    Once the repairs were done then in the dead of night when the chances were very low someone was using water the leak detectors on the meters could be checked.

    In this complex the board makes the decisions for every one.
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Cass....wanna come to San Diego!

    The problem we have here as a board is that every contractor, of any type, that we try to deal with seems to look at our check book as his ticket to nirvanha! Once, we wanted to hire someone to replace all the angle stops in all 104 units, because a lot of people still had the builder's "bob stops", the little round white handle with integral corrugated line. Everyone bid that like each unit was a service call....in other words no "volume discount".. It was going to cost like $45K! Now, I fully understand why they do that....first,they will get paid, but not for about 6 weeks. Condos are notorious slow payers, because you have to send a bill, then they only cut checks twice a month, and then they have to mail the check to ME to sign, then I mail it back to the manager to mail it out....etc. 2nd, there is the hassle of arranging access to all 104 units . Personally, I never got involved with jobs like that, and probably wouldn't bid on this one!


    We do have one good contractor we deal with all the time.....a plumber. We have given him a blank OK to respond to any homeowner calls for water leaks and drain problems. He send us the bill and we pay it. We rely on his description of the problem, and it the problem was the homeowners responsibility ( rice in the sink trap...etc.) we collect back from them. The plumber is straigtforward with us, and I have never felt from his bills that he was trying to "stick it to us" as I know that some contractors do. We have gone through several general maintenance contractors over the years, and it is very tough to find a good one in that arena.

    We don't have a meter on each building. There are 13 buildings, and 4 meters. And actually, at each of the two meter box locations, the pipe come out of the meter, go about 4 feet to an RPZ, then at the outlet of the RPZ the pipes tee together and then go into the property. You would think that at each location, the two meters would record the same readings, but they are way off. Between not balanced pipes, and possibley bad meter calibrations, they are not even close.
  7. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,651
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    system

    The only thing the two meters, (And they give you some indication of how parallel water heaters operate, or rather do not always operate as advertised), do is record the total usage. How they record it individually is subject to so many parameters that if they did record even something close to equal it would be tantamount to a minor miracle. I bill according to the invoice. IF each customer paid individually, then each would pay the going rate whether it took 5 minutes or 2 hours. But if the billing is to a central location for all the units, then it would be for the total accumulated time required. There would not be a specific "quantity discount" but since the time would be used more efficiently the bottom line would be less.
Similar Threads: water meter
Forum Title Date
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & pulsatron metering pump for chlorinator is sucking water into solution tank Jul 15, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Water Meter Yoke replacement May 16, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Help: broken water meter? Apr 16, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Need Advice/ Low water flow volume -Possible Meter shut-off Valve problem Apr 11, 2014
Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & Do the new remote read water meters have a leak tell tale? Mar 10, 2014

Share This Page