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  • Writer's pictureKent Hobart

Identifying Water Metering Problems

If your water bill includes a graph showing your last twelve months of consumption, please slow down for a minute and review it. Big swings in monthly water consumption, like the ones above, are often evidence of a metering problem and an opportunity to reduce your water expenses. If your utility doesn’t provide a similar graph, you may want to ask them for one or create it yourself.

Just like at home, your monthly water consumption can be expected to be consistent. It may move ten to fifteen percent depending on the number of days or weekends in the month, but typically your domestic water consumption will be about the same regardless of the time of year. When you look at a graphic representation look for seasonal swings bigger than that ten to fifteen percent. If you see large variances, it’s time to look deeper.

The game changer for water consumption is when outdoor weather conditions make landscape irrigation necessary, consumption can increase dramatically during those months. Large variations in water usage on the meter(s) serving your facility’s interior needs often indicate you are irrigating through that same meter. Something you don’t want to be doing.

Utilities use your metered water consumption to bill for both water and sewer usage. But, water used for irrigation doesn’t go into the sewer and if you are paying sewer charges for irrigation usage you are adding significant additional costs to your water bill.

Most utilities offer dedicated irrigation meters where the billing is for water only. If you are irrigating and you have the option of a dedicated irrigation meter, investing your time to ensure you aren’t paying more than you need to each month would be wise.

If you are seeing large consumption swings on your regular water meter, it would be a good idea to:

Confirm you have irrigation usage on your regular water meter:

  • Talk with your Facilities Team about irrigation schedules and see if they match the water use variations.

  • Contact your water utility and ask if they can provide an hourly usage breakdown of your water consumption for the entire month. Call or email us if you need help deciphering what they provide.

If your investigation confirms you are paying sewer charges for irrigation usage:

  • Ask your utility or Utility Refund Specialists for help with a billing comparison showing the potential savings of moving the irrigation consumption to a dedicated irrigation meter.

  • Contact your irrigation contractor and explore the cost to move the problem irrigation to an existing irrigation meter or to add a new one

We’ve tried to make this explanation easy to understand, but these are new concepts for most people. Have a question about this post or something on a utility bill? Call us at (813) 917-8952 and let us help with an answer.


Hello, I'm Kent Hobart and I'm different. I've been blessed with a knowledge of utility billing and rate structures that is rare and yes, a little strange.

I started Utility Refund Specialists as a way to use my unique skills in serving organizations like yours. We audit our client's utility bills and identify errors in the billing that earn them refunds from their utility providers. I know, it sounds crazy but 3 in every 4 clients we work with have errors in their bills.

The incidence of errors is so frequent, and the refund amounts are large enough, it is worth our time to perform the audits for free. We only get paid after we secure you a refund!

Interested in learning more? Use this link to set up a 15- minute discovery call. Want to talk sooner, give me a call at (813) 917-8952 or send me an email.

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