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Thread: Submetering

  1. #1
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    Default Submetering

    I have a 2-flat that has separate electrical service, but the water and gas are shared. I'd like to sub-meter both water and gas to more accurately charge for this in rent. Does anyone know about the options for this? Have you used submeters yourself? A quick search found this for water:

    http://www.jerman.com/dljmeter.html

    and this for gas:

    http://esubmeter.com/store/product_i...products_id=51
    Regards, Barry

  2. #2
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    I don't know this brand you are looking at Barry. I have only worked with and for water utilities and their standards are usually Badger or Neptune meters. Probably more for reliability than anything else. Not that this one you have here isn't.

    As far as the installation goes, you would only want to install a meter large enough so that you don't cause a flow restriction that would cut their line pressure. Most home connections from the utilities use a 3/4" meter. If your house lines are 3/4" then I would use a 3/4" meter, no less than 5/8".

    Something you may want to check into however is your states regulations. Most states have guidelines that define what is constituted as a water purveyor. By metering and selling water to individual customers, you by definition become a "purveyor" which compels you to follow state and EPA regulations for protection for your customers. Which means backflow prevention and periodic water quality testing and certifications for operating staff (being you). In other words, it is as if you where purifing the water yourself as any treament plant would do and selling it to your customers.

    Every state and EPA have guidelines like I said that determine if you qualify for those requirements. It is usually determined by a set number of customers you provide water to and or where your water comes from, i.e. wells or water utility. It really is something that varies from state to state and there are no hard and fast rules that they all follow. You could probably contact one of your local water treatment plants in your City or Town where your water comes from and talk to any of the licensed operators. They should know what those regulations are and let you know quickly if you have anything to worry about.

    I don't work directly with the water treatment folks over at the Jardine Plant in Chicago, but I'm sure I could get answer for you if you would like?

    Gas Your on your own....... I know nothing other than it goes BOOM
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  3. #3
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    Default

    Barry,

    Just take an average of the use of both flats, split it 50/50 then add on 25%. Save time and equipment and keeps you from paying out of pocket.
    Life is tough, but it's tougher when you're stupid.” John Wayne

  4. #4
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    Barry

    In my area the water company will not allow 2 meters on one service.
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bizzybee View Post
    By metering and selling water to individual customers, you by definition become a "purveyor" which compels you to follow state and EPA regulations for protection for your customers.
    Really?!! One can't simply install some sort of metering device within their own house that determines usage by the two different parties without it being a major issue? I'm already "selling" them water by charging them a flat fee within their rent. I want to monitor it so that the monthly bill can be split up between the two units more equitable. It also provides an incentive to not waste.

    I don't work directly with the water treatment folks over at the Jardine Plant in Chicago, but I'm sure I could get answer for you if you would like?
    Sure. I'd rather find out about this through other sources than asking my local city department and open a can of worms, if you know what I mean.
    Regards, Barry

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by alpha6 View Post
    Just take an average of the use of both flats, split it 50/50 then add on 25%.
    Yea, but if the tenant knew they were being charged on actual usage, there is an incentive to conserve and not waste, and if you do waste, THEY are the ones paying for it, not the other one.
    Regards, Barry

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by honeyman46408 View Post
    Barry

    In my area the water company will not allow 2 meters on one service.
    Why? Can you expand on this? Even a privately owned meter for the use of verifying usage? I don't get it.
    Regards, Barry

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Why? Can you expand on this? Even a privately owned meter for the use of verifying usage? I don't get it.
    there is a device available you can install on an existing electric meter to feed back usage levels to a PC. They are supposedly sensitive enough to give you the monthly power usage cost on you electric tooth brush charger. However you are still left trying to divide the indivisible. The suggestion to split the bill 50/50 and add a 25% surcharge to each half sounds best.

    I see you live in Chicago, I would be afraid to install separate gas, water, and electric meters for each apartment, you may end up greasing more more palms than Jergens lotion.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  9. #9
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    barry, in massachusetts, you cannot charge a tenant for utility usage unless they have their own services on their own meters with their own accounts (with the utilities, not with the landlord).

    in fact, this can lead to 3x damages for the entire rental period for anything that is used but not under the control of the tenant.

    for instance, if there is a light in the basement (even a small flourescent one) that is on a tenants service, and the switch is in a public area of the building (where others have access), you are libel for three times the tenants total electric bill for the entire time this has been the case..and any doubt is likely to go the tenants way....this is not just theory, this happens.

    you cannot "split a furnace" or water heaters between apartments, even if you meter them...you need separate furnaces, separate water heaters, separate electrical and gas service

    we have a 3 familly with 3 separate heating systems, 3 water heaters, 3 gas services and 4 electrical services (1 for each apt, and one for the house common). water must be paid for by the landlord.

    mass is very difficult for landlords, and things may be different where you live. at least here, we have a good "landlord book"...and having a good lawyer who specializes in this before you run into a problem is key.

  10. #10
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    Some crazy rules and regulations out there. Who knows when or why some of them were written.

    As a rule every state water resources department or (EPD) follows the standards set by the EPA and must meet or exceed their requirements. The EPA has been changing and tightening the regulations and acceptable contaminant levels for the past 15 years to some crazy levels. The catch being that they pass the burden down the line to the purveyors to foot the cost. And they set different requirements on different purveyors depending on capacity or number of customers. That being done in a effort to hopefully not bankrupt the smaller entities and leave folks without water at all.

    Anyhow............ I'll be talking to the folks up in Chicago today anyway about some upcoming work there they need. I'll have them put me on somebody in plant operations and chat with them a little. Let you know what I can find out.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 11-12-2008 at 04:34 AM.
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Why? Can you expand on this? Even a privately owned meter for the use of verifying usage? I don't get it.
    This is a company rule.
    To give an example, I worked for a pipeing contractor that had a 6" water service and on the property they had another company ( some owner just different names) the service had one 2" "tap" and they wanted to add another and worked a deal with special permision and I had the task of makeing the 2nd "tap" and a company rep came out and took pics of my work.

    Durring our conversation he told me I could not "steal" water while taking the pics of my work that had been done under preasure and could have been done without their knowing.

    Ther have been different rules from different areas posted about this subject and most are to protect the public but some are just silly

    Ed da X plumber
    Ed, KA9CTT profanity is IGNORANCE made audible
    you can`t fix stupid not even with duct tape

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    barry, in massachusetts, you cannot charge a tenant for utility usage unless they have their own services on their own meters with their own accounts (with the utilities, not with the landlord).
    This is semantics. I don't charge the tenant separately for water and gas, it's "included" in the rent, it's "free." Reality is, I'm charging them for water and gas by including that cost in the total rent amount. The metering is so I can more fairly break the total usage charge between units. This 2-flat was operating this way long before I bought it. The furnace is shared also. As I said before, the only totally separate service to the one unit is its own electrical service. Everything else is shared.
    Regards, Barry

  13. #13
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    ...such semantics don't fly around these parts. ...and the threat of triple damages is enough to deter anyone that knows what the law is....but again, you might have different laws where you are.

    deknow

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by deknow View Post
    you might have different laws where you are.
    That's apparent. Another factor in all of this that probably has some bearing is that the 2-flat is a single family home converted back in the 60's, so there is the grandfather clause that comes into play.
    Regards, Barry

  15. #15
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    Proof positive that God lives in the details.........
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  16. #16
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    What else do you need to know?!
    Regards, Barry

  17. #17
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    Well apparently as far as the City of Chicago is concerned. Anything done behind (their) meter is not a concern of theirs. As long as plumbing codes are followed and health hazards are not caused by your actions then they will assume all risks as they are currently responsible for. They will have no interests in any disputes that arise between yourself and renters as far as any charges ($) are concerned as long as your obligation to them is met by paying your bill.

    So I guess it would be a good thing if your provider in the burbs takes the same position?

    Chitown can be such a cool place! I've always enjoyed working with those folks up there. Not usually a bunch of bull to deal with, tell it like it is. Fine people up there in the midwest! Only if it weren't so blasted COLD BRRRRRR!!!
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bizzybee View Post
    Chitown ... up there in the midwest!
    LOL.

    Is Chitown even west of mid?

    I once got excited about a major walleye tournament circuit introducing a western division. When it finally came to be they didn't even get as far west as North Dakota.
    JohnF INTP

  19. #19
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    From here it's half way to west..........
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  20. #20
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    Barry- here's another way. Talk to your HVAC buddies and ask who of them uses Writesoft® for sizing HVAC systems. Get them some details- wall and other dimensions; window types, orientation, insulation values; general construction details and they can whip it up and be pretty darn close. Have them draw in each unit as a 'zone', go to Sales Report, Cost tab and you can get a comparison of each unit to overall usage. Multiply that by total usage, assign actual costs to it and you're done. Writesoft will estimate water heating based on occupant numbers in each unit.

    This is something I do almost every day. If you're not in a big hurry, get me that data & I may just do it for you.

    Most utilities do not want sub-metering. It places the meter owner in the position of being a "utility" and that opens a lot of potential liability issues for both of you. Othes do not so much care.

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