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Old 11-16-2011, 07:23 PM   #1
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Having a sprinkler meter installed


I think I want to have a sprinkler meter installed. I realize this is a DIY forum but I imagine there are some professionals who could help me. The purpose is so that I stop paying my town sewer rates for water that is used by my irrigation system.

I don't have the knowledge (or interest) to do this myself so would I be better off contacting a plumber or an irrigation company for the work? Am I likely to need a permit from the town? Also, approximately how much should something like this run me to have done professionally?

Thanks.

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Old 11-16-2011, 07:55 PM   #2
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Having a sprinkler meter installed


I am confused about your inquiry but will try to help. We Chicagoans have to stick together.

Your home has a water meter that reads all water you use for home and irrigation use. Are you saying you do not trust its readings? Or your water bill has suddenly soared? Or you just want to separate and know what your water bill for the house is vs yard and all?

If you call them, or better yet your Alderperson, the City will come out and check their water meter. In five states and working around such things at times over 30 years, I have actually encountered 2 somewhat wacked City water meters. Their defects never showed up as major billing issues though.

Together we can certainly find a plumber willing to install a separate meter for your irrigation system. Could be cool. In all my years I have never been asked to install a meter on an irrigation system. I smell photo op. You will have to read it though. The City will not.

Everything plumbing wise beyond the City meter and water service to your house and property is and has always been your responsibility. Here in Chicago. Everywhere. Hate to break the news but if you cracked something in an irrigation line? Up to you to source the problem and fix it.

Please describe your problem in a bit more detail? Don't quite get the other part of this. Are you saying you are being charged additional sewer rates for irrigation run-off because you have a nicely designed sprinkler system and not some hose end crappy things you drag around all day? Please tell me this is not why you posted. I promise not to laugh if I think, as you must, you confirm what I suspect.

There is an easier way you know. I can tell you exactly what your sprinkler system is doing and how much more damaging the fools near you dragging around a sprinkler on the end of the hose are.


Last edited by user1007; 11-16-2011 at 08:09 PM.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:24 PM   #3
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Having a sprinkler meter installed


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdsester View Post

Please describe your problem in a bit more detail? Don't quite get the other part of this. Are you saying you are being charged additional sewer rates for irrigation run-off because you have a nicely designed sprinkler system and not some hose end crappy things you drag around all day? Please tell me this is not why you posted. I promise not to laugh if I think, as you must, you confirm what I suspect.

There is an easier way you know. I can tell you exactly what your sprinkler system is doing and how much more damaging the fools near you dragging around a sprinkler on the end of the hose are.
I'm actually in a suburb of Chicago.

I pay sewer rates based on my water meter. So when I run my sprinklers I use more water and my water rates are higher as expected. However my sewer bill goes up significantly b/c the town is assuming that all the water I'm using is being removed through the sewer system. I should only be paying sewer rates based on the water being used inside my house. A separate meter will indicate what water is being used inside vs. outside.

I missed the end of your post before. Yes I do have an underground "nicely" designed sprinkler system. I have no idea how smart it is. I turn the system on at the control box and it cycles through my zones (I think 11).

Last edited by ks-man; 11-16-2011 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 11-17-2011, 07:06 AM   #4
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Having a sprinkler meter installed


Some cities permit a sub-meter downstream of the water company's meter and you usually read the sub-meter yourself and you pay sewer charges on the difference between the two meters.

Installing the sub-meter is generally the same as any other plumbing job inside your house. Typically there may be no water usage points (spigots, faucets, dishwashers, etc.) downstream of the sub-meter and inside the house.

To transition from the meter inlet and outlet to common copper tubing, you may need several screw on pieces and two feet of horizontal space along the wall where the sub-meter is located.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-17-2011 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 11-17-2011, 08:14 AM   #5
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Having a sprinkler meter installed


Quote:
Originally Posted by ks-man View Post
I'm actually in a suburb of Chicago.

I should only be paying sewer rates based on the water being used inside my house. A separate meter will indicate what water is being used inside vs. outside.
Interesting thinking. You are suggesting that your sprinkler system is so damned efficient not one drop of water you put on your lawn, or so much as one gram of fertilizer you apply ever makes it to the Chicago sewer system?

I thought you just wanted to know what your irrigation systems was using. At the end of the day? How much is your sewer bill compared to all other utilities you pay?

I can have plumbers at your place tomorrow. Union and bonded of course. They will get you fitted so inspections are not an issue. You will need to turn the water off of course if there is no cut-off valve for your irrigation system you might at as well pay them to install one. And air fittings so you can blow the system free of any possible moisture left for the winter.

The meter is an easy enough job. A good one, you can read remotely and capable of going to court with you is going to be about $500. Add labor for my festive monkeys to make the connections? You are looking at about $3,500 for this. $4,000 if you expect them to clean up after themselves.
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:11 PM   #6
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Having a sprinkler meter installed


Huh? I'm quite confused from your response. I pay for water 4 times per year. The two quarters I'm not using my sprinklers my bills are about $40 for water and 30 for sewer. During the other two quarters my water bill is about $300 and my sewer is $250 (these are for three months usage). Two years ago I called and asked why my sewer bill was going up so much during the summer months as it was obvious that the water increase was from my irrigation system. I was told that they had no way to determine what water was being used for inside vs. outside my house so they just apply the sewer rates to your water usage. I was told that if I had a separate meter installed than I could differentiate and reduce my sewer bill.

As to having a plumber come by, I appreciate the offer but I have a plumber and an irrigation company. I figured before calling one I would check here which would make more sense to do the job and what I should expect it to cost. It sounds like I should check with my plumber first. Thanks.

Last edited by ks-man; 11-17-2011 at 06:13 PM.
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:38 PM   #7
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Having a sprinkler meter installed


Just to bump this -- it is not too uncommon to have another water meter installed solely for irrigation systems. It is called a "grey water" meter since this water does not usually enter a sewer system in any decent volume (rather enters the groundwater).

Hence, it saves some serious sewage charges.

We had one installed this summer and it has saved several hundred $$$. I bought the meter and necessary fittings and my irrigation/plumber guy installed it. I've done some plumbing but didn't feel comfortable messing with the main line.
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Old 11-25-2011, 10:47 PM   #8
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Having a sprinkler meter installed


yes check with you plumber I would put sprinklers on seprate meter those # you posted are a big differance on those quarters.....all work will be inside not a big deal...

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