Strategies for Cutting Down on Wasteful Water Usage
Digested from “4 Ways Property Managers Can Save Water (and Money)”
Multifamily Insiders (4/6/16) Schwartz, David
Property managers who face unexpectedly high water bills may try to pass the costs on to their tenants. This won’t solve the problem, however; you’ll just end up with angry residents. The solution is to find strategies to control costs and eliminate unnecessary water use.
Unreported leaks or excessive water use by tenants in an apartment community can lead to a big, expensive water bill. Sometimes it’s difficult for property managers to determine which maintenance projects they should invest in to control a water-use problem.
Preventive maintenance is one effective strategy. Toilet seals and flappers and shower diverters undergo wear and tear over time, so it’s prudent to check these for leaks.
Sometimes paying for quality services and equipment up front can save costs down the road. Instead of installing a diverter to prevent toilet-water waste, consider whether it makes more sense to replace the toilet. Before making expensive upgrades, seek advice from an expert who can assess water use in your building and make suggestions on options.
Installing submeters will help you track water use and detect problems like illegal devices and leaks. They’re especially beneficial in tracking tenants' hot-water use, which can lead to a higher energy bill. Given how difficult it is to install submeters in older buildings, however, this strategy makes sense mainly for newer properties.
Combining inspection and water-monitoring services is a much more cost-effective approach to finding and repairing leaks than going through the process of conducting unit inspections several times a year. Another strategy that comes at little cost is to educate tenants on detecting and reporting plumbing issues.