Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

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TurtleTurtle14
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Joined: Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:52 pm

Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by TurtleTurtle14 »

Hi all,

Been in our house for 7 years and have a sprinkler system installed from the previous owner. Unfortunately the sprinkler system is not hooked up to a companion water meter meaning that when we run any outdoor water (watering garden, sprinklers in yard, etc.) we get charged sewer and water charges.

I've had several irrigation companies come and give us a quote and the cheapest is $1500 labor plus $500 to buy the companion meter from the county. Reason it is so expensive is that they need to bore under some walkways to connect the meter. All of the other quotes were another 1k more expensive. We know this contractor, he does good work so I'm not concerned about using him if we decide to. I'm having a hard time convincing myself that spending 2k upfront is a smart decision even if it might save us $300 annually in water costs from a cheaper water bill.

Of note, we don't plan to move anytime within the next 10-15 years with both sets of our parents in town.

Does anyone have any suggestions on better ways to calculate this and the opportunity cost? Or does this still make sense to pursue? We have $ in a savings account for this but could also use for other home repairs.

Also of note we max all retirement accounts and are on track for our savings goals - this $ is earmarked for home improvement needs.

Thanks for any and all thoughts on if you would do this in our shoes
Silk McCue
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by Silk McCue »

A seven year payback is better than a 10, 15 or even longer term annual burn. The additional benefit is you won’t have to ponder the decision anymore and will see a reduced utility bill every month.

Cheers
H20buckeye
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by H20buckeye »

I work for a water utility, and not all of them have this. But call your water provider and see if they offer a “deduct meter”

I am assuming your existing meter is in the yard, near the road. If so, you would add a second meter after your pipe coming into the home to supply the irrigation system. You would just take the gallons used for the irrigation and subtract it from the meter at the road. You would still be charge the water rate for the total bill. But the sewer would only be charged the sum of the difference of the two meters.
trichebacher
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by trichebacher »

We also have only one meter for lawn and house. However the city bases the sewer fee on January water usage, when sprinklers are not running. Make sure your city doesn't do something similar, because then the whole issue becomes mute.
Topic Author
TurtleTurtle14
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by TurtleTurtle14 »

Silk McCue wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:25 pm A seven year payback is better than a 10, 15 or even longer term annual burn. The additional benefit is you won’t have to ponder the decision anymore and will see a reduced utility bill every month.

Cheers
Thanks for the reply. Leaning your way right now for sure
Topic Author
TurtleTurtle14
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by TurtleTurtle14 »

trichebacher wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:41 pm We also have only one meter for lawn and house. However the city bases the sewer fee on January water usage, when sprinklers are not running. Make sure your city doesn't do something similar, because then the whole issue becomes mute.
Yeah ive lived places that did that. Our county unfortunately does not
Topic Author
TurtleTurtle14
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by TurtleTurtle14 »

H20buckeye wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:34 pm I work for a water utility, and not all of them have this. But call your water provider and see if they offer a “deduct meter”

I am assuming your existing meter is in the yard, near the road. If so, you would add a second meter after your pipe coming into the home to supply the irrigation system. You would just take the gallons used for the irrigation and subtract it from the meter at the road. You would still be charge the water rate for the total bill. But the sewer would only be charged the sum of the difference of the two meters.
Thanks will call and check this out but i dont think we do offer one. Worth a call though.

Interested to hear other peoples thoughts on my initial post as well. Thanks all
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galawdawg
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by galawdawg »

Do you have a smart, efficient irrigation controller? If not, you may want to consider one, such as a Rachio. That will likely reduce your water consumption (and thus the cost of both water AND sewer) by thirty to sixty percent while still providing sufficient irrigation to your lawn and shrubs.
Topic Author
TurtleTurtle14
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by TurtleTurtle14 »

galawdawg wrote: Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:59 am Do you have a smart, efficient irrigation controller? If not, you may want to consider one, such as a Rachio. That will likely reduce your water consumption (and thus the cost of both water AND sewer) by thirty to sixty percent while still providing sufficient irrigation to your lawn and shrubs.
I don't but thanks for the recommendation - I will check into it.

Any other thoughts on the financial decision I laid out in the first post?
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RickBoglehead
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by RickBoglehead »

H20buckeye wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:34 pm I work for a water utility, and not all of them have this. But call your water provider and see if they offer a “deduct meter”

I am assuming your existing meter is in the yard, near the road. If so, you would add a second meter after your pipe coming into the home to supply the irrigation system. You would just take the gallons used for the irrigation and subtract it from the meter at the road. You would still be charge the water rate for the total bill. But the sewer would only be charged the sum of the difference of the two meters.
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gwe67
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by gwe67 »

I would say it's not worth the hassle.

Assuming your money earns 3% post-tax and water cost increases 3% per year, you would save about $830 after 10 years (which is not equal to $830 today).

I doubt that a potential buyer of your home would see this as an added value.
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Abe
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Re: Calculating Cost of Companion Water Meter

Post by Abe »

When I plug the numbers into a financial calculator it says a $2k investment for 10 years with a $300 annual payment will give you an 8.14% return. The longer the number of years, the higher the return. Over 12 years the return would be 10.45%. Over 15 years return would be 12.4%, and so on.
ETA Stopping a payment going out has the same effect as receiving a payment in.
Slow and steady wins the race.
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