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Downsizing Residential Water Meter

AlexPetronAlexPetron Posts: 21Member
Hello all! Currently there is a 1" water meter serving my family's custom-built single-family home in New Jersey. When originally constructed over 50 years ago, the home boasted a dishwasher, in-ground pool, three bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry. After construction, seven people occupied the home. Today, dishes and utensils are washed in the kitchen sink, the pool is gone, only one bathroom is used, laundry is handled off-premises, and only two people reside in the home.

The monthly water bills for this property are ridiculous. Every month, the consumption is dwarfed by ever-skyrocketing facilities charges approaching $50/month, and I believe that since the consumption demand is significantly reduced, so too should the facilities charges. So I want to downgrade the meter to either a 5/8 or 1/2, but I need to know EXACTLY how to go about doing this.

Would I need to replace the connecting pipe, service pipe, tap, none of these, or all of these? Would I have to sign an affidavit or release? Would permits and/or an inspection of the plumbing be required? Is the water company permitted to deny such a request? How common is this type of request?

Thank you for any assistance!


  • Leon82Leon82 Posts: 587Member
    edited May 13
    I would think you call the water company, it's their meter.

    Even with a 2"meter unless there is a leak after it it has no impact on water use. You can change too low flow faucets and heads. Do they water the grass or garden alot?

    Never mind, i miss read the post.
  • mikeg2015mikeg2015 Posts: 760Member
    They will just come, turn off the water, change the meter and use bushings as needed for the water meter unions.

    If you are fed by a 1” or 1-1/4” service line from the street, even a 1/2” meter will still have a lot of flow since there little pressure drop on the meter and header.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,274Member
    You do have to call your water utility -- changing the meter is not something which they will allow you to do yourself.

    That said, you also need to check with them about how they charge. If -- and only if -- a portion (or in some areas all) of the charge is based on the meter size you could save some money. However, if your charge is based solely on usage (sometimes plus a flat connection charge), changing the meter won't save you anything at all.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,807Member
    Water departments all charge differently. Where I am, most jurisdictions charge part of the bill on usage and part by "single family equivalent" (SFE) which is supposed to estimate your potential demand on their system. They don't care what size the meter is, it has to do with what it is hooked to. A typical single family home would be 1 SFE. If you have a pool or are running a restaurant, they calculate additional SFE's. I would set up an appointment with the water districts administrator and see how they do it and how you can save $.

    To answer your other questions, the water department will either insist on swapping the meter themselves or will require you to hire a licensed plumber.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 812Member
    edited May 13
    Here in NH they charge by usage and meter size.

    Here our house has a 1in line to street and meter "horn" , but 3/4 inch meter to save on meter charge. Dad's old house.

    Always seemed we didn't have as much pressure as our next door neighbor for lawn sprinklers. Had city come out to shut off water at street so we could replace bad valve before meter. They said flush out line for 10 minutes after. I ran some BIG hoses to meter hone and was surprised how I now had GREAT flow rate. Turned out the 1/2 inch copper we had comeing off the 3/4 line line made quite a pressure drop. Plus I've looked in store at hose facets, it's surpizing how SMALL flow hole is in most of them. I'm upgrading now so I can have great flow rate.

  • AlexPetronAlexPetron Posts: 21Member
    Thank you for all of your thoughts so far :) I definitely understand that the "regulated" water utility will have to provide and swap out the meter, and per my reading of the New Jersey BPU regulations, I believe the water company can impose a charge to change the meter. By my inquiry here on The Wall, I am trying to ascertain if any of you have encountered any situation in which the water utility could refuse this request or impose draconian fees and/or endeavors on the part of the customer to accomplish this request.

    As to reduced pressure, the existing pressure is MORE than adequate. In fact, if the customer shut-off ball-valve (picture attached) is only approximately 15% open, all of the plumbing fixtures in the home output sufficient water intensity. There is no lawn irrigation nor underground sprinkler system. The demands for domestic water consumption in this home could be described as minimal at best.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,091Member
    You do understand downsizing the meter is not going to change anything about your water bill? The fixture uses what it uses and consumption won't change by downsizing the meter. This has been mentioned already. So all you will accomplish with this endeavor is spending more money to have work done that then doesn't save any money, so you end up further in the hole than you are.
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  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 659Member
    He's hoping to lower the static monthly "facilities fee" which he hopes is calculated based on the capacity of the service.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 680Member
    When it comes right down to it, the water companies meter division will answer all of your questions and should be able to give you water conserving advice.
  • LeonardLeonard Posts: 812Member
    edited May 15
    Talk to your water co.... should be some saving, but it's likely not that much per bill. But over years it can save a little if you don;t need larger meter's excess flow capability. Ask if they charge $ to come out to change meter, if do maybe wait till they swap out the meter. Here they swap and bring them back to the shop for checkup and re-calibration every ~ 10 years. I had them combine a trip to save me the extra charge once.

    Extra meter charge is why we never increased our meter size from 3/4 to 1 inch. Plus in our case I found our smaller garden valves and downstream pipes (1/2 inch) were responsible for our low flow rate to outdoor garden facets, not the meter.

    These days most hose facets they sell at Home Depot have pretty small diameter internal valve seats. Have to look hard for a full diameter one.

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