CLA Connect is open to Coin Laundry Association members and non-members and is a place for laundry professionals to ask questions and share their expertise. We'll leave the PlanetLaundry Bulletin Board in place so that past conversations can be accessed through the threads below.
Yesterday someone told me about a Mat owner here in NYC who "tinkered" with his water meters.
His water bill went way down.
Only thing is, they picked up the change in his bill pattern, did an investigation, and to make a long story short, they seized his Mats, and he fled to his home country.
I've heard other similar stories over the years. Incredibly dumb stuff like a guy diverting his gas line with a garden hose behind a fake wall in his meter room.
My advice to those who are contemplating this kind of thing:
Don't be stupid. You may think you're smart if you got away with it for a while, but sooner or later they WILL nail you and you'll be in a world of S%#@!
My washers became so efficient over the past couple of years that the city water department got suspicious that something wasn't right. They did a couple of surprise inspections and found nothing. So they installed a new water meter. Eventually they satisfied themselves that my washers really are that efficient and there is no funny business going on.
I've been told that the old water meters were easier to be "hacked". Here in NYC, by laws, the city is not allowed to cut water supply. The city employees are not allowed to enter private properties without permission. Hence, some people modified the water meters so that the amounts on the water bills dropped for a few months. When the city started to send technicians out to check the water meters, they usually found the meter rooms or basements locked. As a result, these people pay the estimated amounts based on the most recent meter readings, which are way below the real numbers.
I was helping an owner in southern Ohio with his store. Just giving him some advice on what he needs to improve his store and things like that. I noticed in his utility room a small pit where the water from the washers drain and he had a sump pump in there and a board to stop the water from going down the city sewer. He confessed that he runs the sump pump out the back of the store into an empty lot he owns.
I asked why and he said to save on sewer costs as his sewer bill was about 3 times his water bill......... He really felt stupid when I explained to him that his sewer bill is calculated off the water meter and dumping water in his back lot didn't do anything to reduce his sewer bill. He spent over $300 to save sewer costs.....
I found several leaks he had along with a constantly running toilet and a faucet that had a near stream of water all the time. Buy shutting off the water to the toilet, faucet and fixed the leaks (loose hoses) I calculated he was wasting about 150 gallons per day.
I’m not sure why, but the water meter at one of my apartment properties has a bypass. The bypass valve has a seal which allows the City inspectors to detect if the meter has been bypassed. Not that the City inspectors ever visit, and for years it has been up to me to self-report my meter readings.
About a year ago I hired a plumber to do a repair of some kind, and evidently he was messing about in the utility room and turned the valve so that the meter was bypassed (breaking the seal). I take a reading every time I visit the building… usually once or twice a week…. so I quickly realized that the meter was being bypassed and corrected the matter right away. I’m guessing that maybe $25 worth of water bypassed the meter before I noticed the problem.
When the City decided to replace all of the meters I felt that I ought to explain to the installer that the seal had been broken inadvertently, however he assured me that half of the meters he was replacing had been bypassed.
I expect that if I had cheated the City out of $1,000 worth of water instead of $25 worth it would not have mattered.
The purpose of the bypass is to allow the water dept to replace the meter without shutting off the water service to the apartments in your building. So it's normally used for just a very short period during such service work.