Why does my house have a 1†water meter?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by sjb8112, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. sjb8112

    sjb8112 New Member

    Jun 14, 2005
    I just received a rate increase notice from the water company. Reading the fine print, I see that I am paying about an extra $225 per year over the ‘typical’ single family home because I have a 1†water meter rather than a 5/8†meter. My situation is:
    1" from street to my meter​
    350 feet of 1†blue plastic hose into the house​
    ¾†shutoff valve and pressure regulator inside the house​

    My questions are:
    1. Does anybody have any theories on why they used a 1†meter and is there any downside to me asking the water company to change it out for a 5/8†meter? Because of the length, I can understand using the 1†hose to the house, but not the meter.
    2. The blue plastic hose is about 16 years old now and has yet to split or give me any of the problems that others have with it. Should I count my blessings, leave it alone, and not run the risk of the water company damaging it when they change out the meter?

  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Water companies often charge for capacity, not necessarily for your actual use. A co-worker bought a condo that had a sprinkler system. They required 1.5" lines. Their demand costs were over $1,000 a year! Their normal use charge was fairly typical.

    One of the pros will have a recommendation for you. It might depend somewhat on what you've got in the house and how much is on at the same time. Sprinkler system for the lawn, house, multiple showers likely to run at the same time, etc. Do you ever fill a swimming pool?
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  4. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Change the Meter

    A 5/8" meter is rated at 10 GPM continuous flow and 25 GPM maximum flow.

    A 1" meter is rated at 25 GPM continuous and 50 to 70 GPM maximum flow.

    You have a pressure regulator so the pressure loss through the smaller meter doesn't matter.

    The only significant difference is that you will save $225 per year.
  5. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    This comment won't change your situtation, but you are being ripped off by the city if they are charging you an additional rate for the 1" meter. The 1" is a more expensive meter, but it should have been paid for when it was installed, a one time charge. Your water use is no more or less regardless of the size of the meter. The larger meter would be necessary if you were running yard sprinklers, but you don't indicate that you are. I would imagine the city will charge you big time to change the meter to a smaller size, but if they're getting you for $225 extra per year, it would be the wise thing to do.
  6. toolaholic

    toolaholic General Contractor Carpenter

    Jul 16, 2005
    Repairing and remodeling homes
    Marin Co. Ca.
    i don't know if this will work

    tell them to replace with 5/8 , makes sence to me
  7. sjb8112

    sjb8112 New Member

    Jun 14, 2005
    What about the Blue Plastic supply line?

    thanks for the replies. But what about the blue plastic supply line between the meter and the house? Will it start down the slippery slope of cracking and splitting and (eventually) forcing me to dig it up and replace it all the way down the 350 foot length to the house if we disturb it by replacing the meter? What's the story on the blue plastic anyway?
  8. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    If the polybutylene pipe breaks, it will not be because you changed the meter, it will be because it was time to break. And its "time" could be tomorrow or two years from now, but it will break unless you have a very unusual piece of pipe. Minimum charges are based on the size of the meter and have nothing to do with the amount of water used, unless it also includes a certain amount of usage until it is exceeded and then you get charged by the gallon afterwards. Many users opt to reduce the size of the meter, or even cap off a meter in the case where they have multiple meters into a manifold.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2006
  9. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Aug 31, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    The blue pipe is polybutlyene. We are all familiar with the problems INSIDE the house and all the lawsuits. Generally, none of this affected the outside blue pipe. I guess only time will tell what the longevity of the pipe is. I would not recommend replacing it "just because" .

    Most water utility companies charge a base fee based on potential demand. If they give you a 1" meter, their service must be capable of supplying the fulll capacity of that meter. Add up all the houses on your street and it might mean a larger street main or a new pump.

    At the beginning, it would have made sense to install a 5/8 or 3/4 meter and a 1¼" line from the street. If the 1" line is performing well now, you could probably change the meter and still be OK.
  10. Gary Slusser

    Gary Slusser That's all folks!

    Aug 31, 2004
    Wherever I park the motorhome.
    I've used a fair amount of blue PE pipe. It is not PB. And here on the east coast we use it down wells to 500' with a big pump hung on it and underground any distance needed. It comes in various roll lengths to 1000' with ratings up to 200 psi. We don't see it failing and (black) PE tubing has been used as I describe for 35-40 years. Of course it has to be stored, handled and installed correctly or it can fail. IMO, there is no other product that is as good on all levels of comparison for potable water use.

    A 1" line with reasonable pressure, not less than 40 psi, will supply the vast majority of houses with up to and including 4.5 bathrooms. Increasing the ID of the pipe does not increase pressure unless the present pipe is very undersized and is suffering excessive friction loss. Which usually requires excessive velocity, caused by excessive pressure, which means the pipe is/was misapplied.
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