I am hoping some of you can help point out any problems I may be overlooking in my latest brainstorm.
I am trustee of a piece of family property and am trying to get the utility costs under control.
82 dollars of the monthly water bill is a “ready to serve charge” for the 1.5″ water meter. If I ask them to downsize to a 3/4″ meter the ready to serve charge is approx 20 dollars/month so I would save $700/yr without doing anything to reduce water consumption.
The property is 6 acres, once used for agriculture or livestock but not in the last fifty years. It currently has a large victorian era house, an 800 sq ft guest cottage, a 600 sq ft guest cottage and a 400 sq ft guest cottage.
There is a year round creek on the property that supplies all the irrigation water for non potable applications.
The water consumption ranges from 5 to 10 “units” per month with each unit being 748 gallons so the property currently consumes between 4000 and 7500 gallons/month.
The water main for the property is approximately 1000 feet of 2″ pvc pipe and each building tees off this with a 3/4″ line. The water pressure with no flow is 95psi.
I just ran across a 500 gallon pressure tank for 250 dollars and it got me thinking about plumbing that into the water line and downsizing to a 3/4″ meter. Even though the smaller meter is only rated for 30 gallons/min and the 1.5″ meter is rated for 100gal/min I am thinking that the 500 gallon pressure tank would keep sudden demands for large volumes of water from having a huge effect on the water pressure. The largest demands I can imagine are filling the washing machine, taking a bath or showering. Anything that would really take a lot of water (irrigation, etc) would use the creek water.
The city will swap out the meter at no charge and let me go back to the 1.5″ meter, also at no charge, if I change my mind in the 24 months following the meter downsizing. After that there are apparently huge “development fees” should I ever want the larger meter back. The water dept employee wasn’t especially precise but said the fees can run tens of thousands of dollars.
I can’t see wanting the larger meter if the pressure tank works effectively to cushion any sudden drops in pressure. If I recall correctly the 3/4″ meter is considered appropriate for up to 35 units/month of the 748 gallon “units of measure” the water dept uses so I could triple the maximum consumption ever billed before the statistics started indicating need for a larger meter.
The political climate makes developing this property almost impossible so it is unlikely it would be anything other than a single family ranch/estate with potential for a few rental units.
Until some taxes returns are prepared it isn’t clear if the property will need to be sold but the ultimate goal is to keep it in some sort of family ownership for at least the next generation. If it looked like the property needed to be sold I should know in the next year or so and if a larger meter really made a difference in the sale price of the property I could request the city reinstall the larger meter at no charge.
The only other glitch I can see is needing a mechanism to ensure that my pressure reservoir couldn’t backflow into the city’s water mains in the event they depressurize their system. I would assume a backflow prevention device could do this fairly effectively.
So if the water needs can be adequately met with a 3/4″ meter and a pressure reservoir, I am hoping to save $700/yr by spending $250 on a pressure tank, an unknown amount for a backflow prevention device and an afternoon doing some simple plumbing connections.
What do you all think? Is it worth it?