I just had an idea, wondering if anyone has done this (or if you even CAN do it).
In the industry I work in, its pretty common to have remote monitoring devices for all sorts of things, ie: temperature, water flow, etc. The devices that do the monitoring are relatively cheap and many are wireless.
Has anyone implemented anything like this in their rentals?
I am envisioning a small array of sensors that report on each unit's temperature and water flow. The temp sensors can actually be integrated into the thermostat circuit as to limit the max temp - Is it legal to cap your units at 75F max? They can also send data to a remote computer / server so you can check on temps vs. time, water flow vs. time, etc.
I think if you offer internet service to your tenants this would be a nice way to keep an eye on things (as you need an outbound connection to report stats). Crazy?
Unless you are paying for their utilities, why would you want to bother with this?
Thats the idea, at least for the heat.
The water flow.. who knows. Not sure if it would be adequate to detect things like a broken washing machine hose or not before the place was swamped. Would have to compare normal GPM flow with the 'abnormal' case to know for sure.
When I was a PM in the Midwest, I managed several (old) buildings with hot water or steam heat. It was not uncommon for tenants to complain about the unit "Freezing" overnight, and threaten all sorts of actions via city officials. For less than $50, I bought a battery operated 24 hour "logger" from an electronics supplier, put it in their unit for a day, then plugged it into my computer to print a detailed graph showing the true temperature swings. (and no, of course it did not even approach freezing- in fact I never found a room that dropped below 69 degrees)