Water meters with real-time capabilities are an increasingly demanded part of building operations. Property managers are tapping into their existing utility meters or installing new ones to gain real-time insights to their water consumption. There are four major reasons why you, too, should consider getting more from your water meter:
- Fault Detection: Identify malfunctions in your system before they become a problem by analyzing your collected data. Real-time alerts will help you address the problem immediately.
- Tenant Billing: Water submetering will show you how much water your tenants are consuming, so you can properly bill them for water use instead of charging them per square foot.
- Operational Improvement: Often, machines are running when the building isn’t in use. Metering water will show you when and where water is being consumed at off-hours so you can shut down unnecessary appliances.
- Save $$$: If your cooling tower is not operating correctly, or it’s running when it doesn’t need to be, you can save on consumption costs. In some places, rebates are given for cooling tower water consumption. With a water meter, you’ll be able to prove the rebate you deserve.
But, how do you find the right meter for you?
Utilizing Existing Infrastructure
If you have a utility meter that’s pulse-compatible, or a meter with a pulse output, you can use the existing infrastructure. There are two common meters you can utilize.
Utility Water Meter: You can connect your building’s water meter to a resource management platform. This requires the permission of the utility company and requires a utility company site visit to oversee the implementation. This method will take the pulse from the utility meter and connect it to a pulse sensor, which will then relay the data to a web-enabled platform. Using this method is inexpensive and non-invasive; you don’t need to shut down the building’s water supply to install this type of pulse sensor.
Existing Non-Utility Meter: You can tap into an existing non-utility meter that transmits a pulse by connecting it to a pulse sensor which will relay the data to a data-analysis platform. The register of the water meter might have to be replaced with a register with pulse capabilities, but this is much easier than installing a new meter and shutting off the water supply.
Installing A New Water Flow Meter
If your building doesn’t yet have water submeters, then it’s time to start metering your water use. As technologies are developed, two viable meter options have emerged on the market.
Inline meters: These are accurate and provide a pulse that can easily be read by a pulse sensor. Installing it requires actually putting the meter inline with the pipe–thus necessitating a water supply shutdown.2. Ultrasound Meters: These non-intrusive meters use ultrasound waves to measure water flow. While the meters don’t require the pipe to be cut and the building’s water shutoff, installation still requires a plumber and the hardware can be expensive. Also, the accuracy is highly dependent on calibration and proper maintenance.
Other Water Meter Factors To Consider
Before you buy, you should properly understand your building’s needs. Know what you want submetered (i.e. tenant spaces, mechanical appliances, etc.) to direct your search for the best provider. The cost of installing meters increases exponentially with the size of the pipe. You’ll also need to dedicate time to assessing your data to make sure your building is running most efficiently.
That being said, the savings experienced through proper water monitoring and management will outweigh the installation costs. You’ll be able to avert severe water damage through real-time alerts, provide your tenants easy and efficient bill-back, and streamline your operations. So, what are you waiting for?