Water meters inside TOHs

I own a park in northern WI and we currently have Merton meters installed on the water line under each home. With the dropping temps we are already running into residents who are not maintaining their heat tapes and causing some issues with the meters. I’ve started to consider putting any meters moving forward inside each home instead of underneath. Anyone done this before?

I would be careful with moving meters into the homes. I have a park in northern Minnesota and one in the southern part of the state. All of the meters at the park in northern MN are below the homes just above the riser, we rarely have issues with meters (only issues we have had are meter failure unrelated to temperature). Just make sure proper insulation and heat tape is used.

At the other park (southern MN), the city required that the meters be placed in the homes about two years ago. I pushed back on the city at the time but could not get them to change their policy. It turned out to be an ongoing problem. The city required a licensed plumber to install all meters, and he, apparently, did not always place the meters on the main line running into the home. This was especially true of older homes. I have been playing detective for the past two years trying to figure out where the “leaks” were coming from. I am billed for any difference in the total tenant usage and the total water that runs through the main meters. In one case, I had a tenant with a leaking toilet that I paid for over the months. This and other losses were costing me significant amounts of money each month.

I have had more than one tenant with water lines tapped into prior to the meter, mostly for outside use in the summer but some for water supply to another part of the home. These ultimately needed to be removed or corrected. I’ve now managed to get water loss down below 5-10% of total usage but it’s been a long battle, and the battle continues.

If not for the city mandate, I would not consider putting meters in the homes. Keep in mind that you will be likely be responsible for any water loss between the riser and the meter in the home. Meters can break due to cold but so can water lines under the home. And If I may be a bit cynical, tenants that don’t check heat tape now won’t change because the meters is in the home.

If it were me, I’d keep the meters under the homes but have them properly insulated and heat taped. It should be on the tenants dime if they freeze / break in the winter due to cold.

If there is anyone from Metron (or other manufacturers) with knowledge of meter usage in cold climates, please chime in.

Do yourself a favor and don’t be like many of the shortsighted operators getting in this business. Insulated skirting is a must, especially in the area your located. One water line break, water and sewer bill and plumbing repairs will more than pay for the more expensive skirting let alone the longevity of the product, curb appeal and reduced utility bills for your tenant. They are going to pay their utilities before they pay you your lot rent in Jan. And Feb. ! Let me know if you have further questions