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Subject: Sub Metering Water Usage
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MelW
(New Hampshire)

Posts:2


04/25/2021 7:05 AM  
I am a Board Member of a Condo Complex, 16 buildings, 8 condos in each. As Board Members we have found that each of our condo buildings vary in public water usage of which the Association has to pay. Each Condo building has 1 (one) water meter for the entire building. Could we use a sub meter for each of the 8 units in a building attached to the 1 meter per building? We would like to try this on a "test" basis on one building to see if this may give incentives to owners to cut back water usage. The Condo Complex is diverse - many retired, many working couples, many with families. Any suggestions/thoughts/idea would be very helpful.

Thank You.

Sincerely,

MelW
AugustinD


Posts:313


04/25/2021 7:25 AM  
Posted By MelW on 04/25/2021 7:05 AM
I am a Board Member of a Condo Complex, 16 buildings, 8 condos in each. As Board Members we have found that each of our condo buildings vary in public water usage of which the Association has to pay. Each Condo building has 1 (one) water meter for the entire building. Could we use a sub meter for each of the 8 units in a building attached to the 1 meter per building? We would like to try this on a "test" basis on one building to see if this may give incentives to owners to cut back water usage.
The topic of sub-metering comes up from time to time here. One has to get practical real fast. The first huge questions are:

-- Does each individual condo unit have its own water supply shut-off valve (supplying ultimately both the hot water heater and the cold water spigots)?

-- If each individual condo unit does not have its own water supply shut-off valve, would it be possible to install such a valve? If it is possible to install such a valve, then sub-metering should certainly be investigated more.

-- Else the cost of re-plumbing is typically massive. A condo association without ready shut-offs (or the potential to install ready shutoffs) for each condo unit is stuck imposing water conservation measures. E.g. bi-monthly checks for commode leakage. The latter is a huge source of leakage. Or the condo can possibly monitor water usage (sometimes with specific high tech help from the city) and narrow down which building is using a lot of water and whether it's on account of a leak.
CathyA3
(Ohio)

Posts:1888


04/25/2021 8:26 AM  
We looked into issue in my community since our condo buildings have single meters. What you need to think about:

* Money. This will depend on how much it will cost to retrofit the system. It also depends to some extent on the cost of water. If it's expensive where you live, or if you have issues with people not paying their assessments, it may make more sense to get this item out of the assessments and onto individual homeowners.

* What do your CC&Rs say about utilities as part of the assessments? The CC&Rs may or may not need to be amended to reflect this change, so add in the cost of the amendment if it's needed.

* Right now homeowners who live alone or who are frugal are subsidizing water use by families and those who waste it. Separate meters are definitely more fair and will encourage more responsible behavior. If you do need to amend your CC&Rs to allow water to be individually metered, you can assume that those who won't benefit will vote against the amendment. Hopefully this won't be an issue for you.

* Malfunctioning water softeners can run up water usage. Ditto leaky toilets. Our property manager monitored water usage in our buildings, so she knew when usage suddenly spiked and could contact homeowners in that building to track down the cause.

* If you do move to separate meters, you need to make sure there will still be some outdoor water spigots in each building that are not charged to individual homeowners (watering grass and other maintenance items).
MaxB4
(Maine)

Posts:214


04/25/2021 8:35 AM  
I used to own a sub metering billing company until I sold it. Most units are going to have a shutoff valve before it enters the house, so that shouldn't be an issue.

How are units billed for utilities, equally or per square foot or number of bedrooms or some other formula. The most equitable way to bill is to install a sub meter and bill each unit for their actual use. Unfortunately, the cost would be prohibitive. The other issue is what your governing documents say about how costs are shared amongst units.

One suggestion is to use RUBS (Ratio Utility Billing System). Tis can be accomplishing by factoring in either sq footage or # bedrooms. Each building has a meter. Read the meter for the billing cycle and bill each owner per a formula.

At the end of the day, for the size of your complex, is it really worth it? I ma guessing your water bill per month for all units is between $4K and $5K. That would also include water for common area, which is equally shared by all units.

My opinion, not worth the time or investment.
JohnC46
(South Carolina)

Posts:10952


04/25/2021 11:02 AM  
Mel

Remember that Mel is in NH so the water pipes are below the frost line (4 feet) so installation of sub meters can get tricky. I have seen it done in a townhouse complex where the new meters were installed in the basement and read remotely via a hand held scanner.

Bottom line it can it be done? Probably. Could it be costly? Probably. Get costs first to compare with.
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:1163


04/25/2021 4:46 PM  
I lived in a mobile home park that switched to individual home teetering for water.for me, it was a significant savings not being lumped in with water wasters. There are just some fools that turn the garden hose on and let the water trickle down the driveway, down the curb and into the sewer.
JeffT2
(Iowa)

Posts:617


04/26/2021 7:51 AM  
Some good suggestions here:


https://www.hoatalk.com/Search/ForumSearch/tabid/87/forumid/1/postid/270645/view/topic/Default.aspx

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