Any issues in putting 1-1/2" Meter on 2" pipe?

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Tom from PA

New Member
Thanks for looking at this situation.
I am the manager of an apartment building wherein I do a lot of little plumbing, but leave the big stuff to the experts. This question is more theoretical, so I am throwing it out to as many people as I can to see if there's agreement that this can be done, before investing in the parts/work.
Background: In addition to being the maintenance guy (and trash man and parking police, etc), I am also the bill payer for the building. Our water/sewer bills are reflective of the amount of water we use - that makes sense and I am totally in agreement - but the bill start out with a flat-fee-charge for the size of the water meter. Because the building is 3 stories tall and has 17 apartments, there is a 2" main coming in from the street, and a 2" meter is hooked to it. Makes sense, but when the bill comes, I am charged about \$250 for having that size meter, before we use a gallon of water. Then on the Sewer side of the bill, I am charged almost \$270 for having that size meter. So before we use or flush a gallon of water, my bill is \$520. After the month is over, we go through about 19,000 gallons (average) so that adds another \$270 to the bill for an average of about \$790 for water and sewer. To make a comparison, we use about 5x more water than a big household (say 5-6 people using an average of 3500 gallons a month), but since we have a 2" meter, we pay about 8x more on the bill. It is mostly because of the \$520 flat-fee-charge that comes with that 2" meter. So I am looking to replace the meter with a 1-1/2" meter. It will save me \$213 per month (\$101 on water and \$112 on sewer) right off the bat.
The main question here is (finally, right?!?): Can I do this replacement without negatively affecting the water pressure for the apartments? I want to put a reducer on the main, to go down to a 1-1/2" flange which a 1-1/2" meter will bolt to, and on the other end the meter will bolt to a 1-1/2" flange that is hooked to an adapter to take it back to the 2" pipe that then goes up the middle of the building. Will this 3-feet of 1-1/2" diameter significantly hurt the water pressure anywhere in the building?
That's the dilemma - can I do it and be safe?

The water department guy said the flow for a 2" meter is 150gpm (max) and for the 1-1/2" it's 100gpm.
Our pressure on all 3 floors is Great(!) right now - maybe too good - even though the 3rd floor is about 45 feet up. I don't know exact numbers, but the showers and faucets on the third floor blast pretty good... no worries about lack of pressure. Most of the hot water heaters have 3/4" copper going into them; some have been downsized in recent years with no issues. The sinks have regular copper piping going to their supply hoses or copper connectors, again, no issue with pressure. I have all 1.5gpm faucet aerators in the kitchen sinks, plus 1.0gpm aerators in the bathroom sinks. Most of the showerheads are 1.75gpm, although some tenants switch them out for a little more flow, but no 'rain' heads or jacuzzi-showers. There are 2 washers in the building, both front-load/high-efficiency, one on 1st floor, one on 2nd. The only things that use water at a huge volume are the bath faucets (1980's Delta ball diverters = ??gpm), but not many people take a bath these days, and if they do, they stop when the tub is full anyway, so that's a finite usage. I guess I am saying all this to show that we can't use too much water at any given time.
Ex: 17 showers @ 2gpm = 34
17 bath sinks @ 1gpm = 17
17 kitchen sinks @1.5gpm = 26
2 washers @ 7+gpm(?) = 15
Total possible usage at once = 90gpm

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Reach4

Well-Known Member
No Replies on here
I messaged you Wednesday. Click Inbox above.

I am not a plumber, and my opinions are not authoritative.

Terry

The Plumbing Wizard
Staff member
An IPC chart for PEX which is smaller than copper.

Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx
Does the meter also supply fire sprinklers, or does that tap off before the meter?

One thing that happens when you reduce the size of the pipe is the velocity increases. That can cause noises, and result in friction, but can also literally wear things out in the extreme.

hj

Master Plumber
There should be little, if any, problems, since it is highly unlikely you have EVER had enough demand to need that 2" meter. Normally, YOU do not get the reducers the utility is the one who replaces the meter.

Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx
One condo association a past co-worker lived in had a similar question...they had the 2" lines to support their fire sprinklers, and no, the town would not let them downsize their meters. If you have no sprinklers, or if they are not metered, it's a different story.

Dj2

I would take the calculations to the local water supplier for review. I think that they would agree to replace the meter and connect the new meter to their main coming from the street, but you will have to do the plumbing to fit from the new meter to the bldg.
Many water companies are now in the process of replacing meters. Some of the new meters have remote reading, saving the water companies on labor.

Tom from PA

New Member
Thanks, all, for the input.
The building is from 1885, and when they renovated in 1985, there were no sprinkler laws so it does not have them...
There will only be a few feet of 1-1/2" and that's the flanges and the meter itself - all other piping is 2" until it gets up to the floors where it splits off to the different apartmetns - that's 3/4"...

The water dept. supervisor said he could put in the meter if I get someone to put flanges onto the current plumbing.
The meter is \$943 and I figure a couple hundred for the plumber and parts.
So by saving \$213 a month (plus maybe a little more if we save some water in the process), it will be paid off in 6 months and then forever after that I save the \$2bills...

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Hey, wait a minute.

This is awkward, but...

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