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Children, hug your parents... (ME)

My parents have been gone now close to 5 years. Seems like just yesterday...

Got called to a job today by a friend who's a building science guy. Energy conservationist. He qas called there by a 72 year young intelligent GGM (Great GRand Mother). Seems she keeps getting assessed this EXHORBITANT amount of money from her HOA based on meter readings from some kind of remote time clock system. The end switches of the ZV's send a signal to which charts time on a analog run time meter. All HO's are given an estiamte of their energy consumption costs up front in their HOA fees. The meters are used for overages. There are 40 units in this building. One of her 2 t'stats was showing over 30,000 hours of operations, the other 5,000 and she's been turning the heat as low as it will go! I checked the ZV for functionality, it worked fine, heat within less than 20 seconds, and she had it off for me all day. I go back down stairs to check the meter again, and it's charted .3 hours, whcih is about the same amount of time I'd been there. The heat had JUST been turned on.

SO I had her shut if off again, and the meter continued to run. SO I go to the ZV, and pull the cover, and find that the end switch screw had been loosened in an effort to defeat the billing system. I gurantee that it wasn't THIS homeowner, but the PREVIOUS resident.

Most of the other meters were showing between 5,000 and 10,000 hours on them. Her's had 30,000 and some... One, get this, had 52 hours... And no one ever questions it. Until this poor, fixed income senior tiger stepped up to the plate. She said she's lived in fear this last winter because her assesment last year drained her savings account!! She said she'd been keeping her stats at 60 degrees and wearing winter coats, hats and gloves INSIDE! She wasn't trying to conserve energy. She was trying like hell to conserve her MONEY!!

The company who installed the metering system went chapter 7 a long time ago, and disappeared. I'm not sure of even they would question something out of the ordinary...

I felt real sorry for this elderly person, and told her I'd feel guilty charging her for my services. She'd already paid a LOT of money.

BTW, if the zone valve had been a Honeywell, the previous sabatours efforts probably would have done what he wanted, which was to cheat the system. But these ZV's were White-Rodgers, and the switch is held open by a closed valve, When he loosened the micro switch, it turned it on and kept it on...

The transformers for these meters is tied to a WWSD, otherwise the time clock would have run continuously.

As I was looking at the hours on the meter, the unit next to this ladies unit also had a reading of 32K hours. I mentioned that to her, and she said the previous owners MOM owned THAT unit. Whaddya wanna bet that her son punked that ZV too...

Some peoples kids...

Hug your parents:-)



  • ScottMP
    ScottMP Member Posts: 5,884
    Nice Job Mark

    and good find.

    You should feel good in your heart, you helped someones Mother.


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  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490

    Retired and loving it.
  • Wayco Wayne_2
    Wayco Wayne_2 Member Posts: 2,479
    Well done

    It's a crime how short sighted some people are. I find myself charging less for people retired and on a fixxed income. They sometimes suspect and ask, is this the right charge? Of course it is. It's a blessing to give and the returns are incalculable. WW

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  • Constantin
    Constantin Member Posts: 3,796
    I hope she recovers the difference...

    ...and that the system is fixed for all units and put inside a tamper-proof cabinet, or ripped out. This kind of stuff makes me really angry.

    Well done Mark, your sleuthing skills not only saved the day but you've also shown, once more, what a great mensch you are.
  • Dave Yates (PAH)
    Dave Yates (PAH) Member Posts: 2,162
    an atta-boy!

    Good on you pal. She needs to seek a refund from those bums. Seems like a Manual-J calc with corresponding degree-day data could serve to jerk the owners into line. She ought to seek help from a state agency or maybe the ACLU could actually do some good for a change and defend her!

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  • Bob W._3
    Bob W._3 Member Posts: 561

    You could do one more thing for her if you are so inclined - write her a letter explaining what happened so she can give it to her HOA and request a refund. She might want to check with her state's AG's (attorney general) office. There may be some regulations about metering utilities in such a fashion.
  • Thanks for the kudos guys....

    She'll get her money back some how. THe building manager stayed right with me the whole time of my investigation, so he knows I'm not playing any games. His eye brows just kept getting higher and higher with each discovery.

    It was a real eye opening experience for him. He has to report back to the board of directors for the Homeowners Association.

This discussion has been closed.