Increasing water bills for Bellwood, Illinois- advice needed

5 Replies

Hi All,

Hoping to receive some advice. I have owned a 4 unit property in Bellwood, Illinois for about 1 year this month. On average the water bill was previously manageable of course I notice an uptrend over the summer months. However this month, the water bill doubled. The water department has already come out and each tenant's apartment was checked and no leaks were found. Now my property manager will check the meter daily this week to compare and further investigate if tenants are leaving the water running. So I thought about having the meters separated for each unit to pay their own water bill. Currently the entire water is on one line, assuming this would cost a significant chunk of money to separate the lines. If I average out the year for the water bill and increase rent accordingly it will increase by about $80 bucks per month per tenant which is a huge chunk of cash for anyone. Right now i I have inherited 3 tenants out of 4 all of which are paying rent about $100-150 below market. Two leases are up at the end of September and not sure if these tenants will be staying, but planning on increasing rent by 3-5%. Anyway looking for anyone in the Bellwood area or Chicago suburbs who ever came across water issues and what you have done to address the problem. I have found most properties in bellwood, owner pays the water. (Oh and yes I will look into installing lo-flo faucets, etc).

Meet the water company there. Go inside and turn off the water to the building.  Go back outside and check to see if your meter is still spinning. If so you have a broken line between the meter and the building and it would be your responsibility to repair. If not one of your tenants is causing the issue.

There is now a repair method to use a steel cable and run it through the old pipe. Secure the cable to the new pipe and have the backhoe operator pull the old pipe out while replaceing it with a new poly vinyl pipe. Keeps from digging up the entire yard. Leaves a big hole on your side of the water meter that will settle for a while.

@Shardae Young I would also suspect a leak. I have one friend who owns a building in Berwyn where there was an under ground water leak. This was in a flexicore construction style building where the pipes were buried in the concrete floors. Underground leaks can be harder to detect, but if the toilets and faucets are all working then I would start checking for underground leaks next. 

If you want a second opinion, I have an excellent handyman who does most of my plumbing work. He lives in Broadview, so I am sure he would do Bellwood as well. PM me if you need him still. 

Check toliet flappers. 

Check that no faucets are bypassing water. 

Check that the water heater isn't leaking 

If you have a steam boiler, I've seen the return lines run under slab of basement and rust out draining boiler and making it constantly refill. 

Check for signs of water damage. If no luck with any of those things it's possible that it's a slab leak somewhere. There are companies that can come in and locate underground leaks with very great accuracy. A good plumber will likely know one. Also a good plumber might be able to find the leak much easier than just guessing on a fourm. 

You have to be careful with metering water to the tenants. In some states, if the water bills are unpaid, not only is the water  shut off but outstanding bills can be added on to your property tax bill. I suspect that you have one of two problems. Either there is a leak in the water line between the water meter and the building or you might have problems with running toilets. Both those potential issues need to be investigated.