Water bill too high

19 Replies

Does you city council/county offer a flat rate for multi-dwelling apartments? Call the county and ask. Have you priced how much installing individual meters would be to bill back the tenant or, if none of this works, I would raise your rents to include this cost. Hope that helps!

Originally posted by @Joseph Puthusseril :
Watebill is $300s /mo. For a 3 units building.best way to reduce?

 How do you know it's too high? How much water is being used? What is the water rate structure? Does that include sewer, stormwater, trash pickup, etc? 

You can't solve a problem without having the right information. Maybe your tenants just waste a lot of water. Or maybe you have a big leak. Or maybe you have outrageously high water rates. 

1) Do you have the records of rental rates for your apartments over the years? I think you may find there has not been a percentage increase in a while. 

2) No renter ever wants an increase but I do believe they understand when you offer an explanation. I send a letter along the lines of: "Love having you as a tenant however, we've noticed that the current rental rate has not factored in the yearly increase in expenses." 

If you have the stats, add in the increases they've seen over the years and depending on your plan, I would say "I'm committed to keeping these apartments affordable and after this initial increase know that you can expect between 2-3% per year moving forward. 

This is a post from BP that I saved, but don't know who to attribute to?

I did in fact purchase these toilets and shower heads for a 3 flat with six toilets and showers and dis reduce water bill between 33-50%.

See below...

It's possible, but seldom worth it(in my experience.) Some people suggest RUBS(ratio utility billing system,) I'm not a fan. Think about it- if the tenants have to pay another $800/year in water bills, they're going to demand to pay less rent- maybe not $800 less, but less. Let's say...$700 less. So you spend a ton of dough and time, and save $100.

The alternative I've gone with(sorry everybody, I post this all the time, I know. It's because I'm an environmentalist, OK?) is to replace the faucets with anything that has a Watersense label- those generally save about 30% over a conventional faucet- or use aerators, which for about 3$ each at the hardware store can accomplish the same thing. For toilets, I'd been using the 1.28 gpf type, but a fantastic .8 gallon per flush toilet is now on the market, it's called the Niagara Stealth, and it should be purchased at Home Depot(otherwise you're gonna pay like $50 or more to ship it somewhere.) For $150, you can cut the water use by 50% from a conventional toilet. Lastly, I'd recommend a 1.75 gallon/min showerhead which cuts usage by about 17% over the conventional showerhead(I don't suggest going lower than 1.75 gpm, that'll just piss your residents off.) Here's one that cost $11, but any of the ones with plenty of good reviews should be fine.

If you make all those simple changes, your water bill should drop by somewhere around 30%, possibly more. So if the bill is $800, you're saving $240 or more annually, and the materials listed above are somewhere around $200 or so. Beat that, RUBS! As an added benefit, your residents will save on their hot water bills which means you can command slightly more rent- or your tenants will be slightly less likely to leave due to the lower utility bills. If anyone wants advice on LED lighting for your common areas, reply to this post- that is an even bigger $ winner than low-flow water fixtures.

If you refer back to the original post from someone at BP, they and I used .8 gallons Niagra Stealth for max savings.

Pull the cap off the water meter, shut off all the faucets and see if the meter is running.   Bad toilet flappers are notorious for beating up your water bills.  $10 fix / head.

@Nicholas Novak I would love to share that LED info with you, but my original post was a copy of someone else's here on BP.

I need to figure out how to track down the original source on BP using keywords.