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Thread: how to find a contractor

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    DIY Member rbig's Avatar
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    Default how to find a contractor

    Long story, but we'd like to find a contractor to come in and do chart monitoring of our water consumption at our church.

    Something simple like Y axis = gph , and the rest will be paper speed up or down, to give us good hourly footprints.

    I have no idea where to find someone with the equipment to do the job. Any ideas on who we should go to would be appreciated.

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    I would call some local plumbing parts suppliers and ask them to refer you to someone that will work for what your looking for. Be sure to mention to them that you want the individual(s) to be licensed and insured.

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mudball View Post
    I would call some local plumbing parts suppliers and ask them to refer you to someone that will work for what your looking for. Be sure to mention to them that you want the individual(s) to be licensed and insured.

    Also be sure to mention that you are prepared to spend a TON of money, to purchase the expensive special equipment necessary.

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    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    What do you need exactly? Detailed flowrates (gpm/gph) sampled quickly enough to catch all peaks? For instance, do you need to se a spike everytime a faucet turns on or a toilet flushed?

    Or do you need say water used in say each 1hr period?

    Option 1 would use say a flowmeter, a laptop with data acquistion card, and LabVIEW software. Data would have to be sampled at every 5s or faster to catch every little water use.

    Option 2 would be similar, but would use a integrated flow meter (total water used like the water meter at the street). Then you would take a measurement say every hour. You could subtract the old reading from the new to get total water used for that 1hr period. This option would be less expensive.

    How long do you need to measure? A day? A week? A month?

    You would probably looking at an engineering type of company to do this for you (not a plumber). The engineering company may already have the tools to do this, but you'll spend some $$$ for their time. If you can better define exactly what data you need, I can perhaps find a cheaper solution.

    Depending on when you need this done by, maybe a good option would be to contact a local school/university that has an engineering program. This would be a good project for someone. You still may have to buy a flowmeter, etc. and maybe get a plumber to install the meter.

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    DIY Member rbig's Avatar
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    On Nukman's statement:

    What we're trying to do is see every 5 or 15 minutes what water usage is.

    We're having a ton of water used, periodically. Bills up around $300-$400/mo. Other months our bill is around $20. You're talking swimming pool size quantities of water, and we don't have any apparent leaks anywhere.

    We need to monitor water usage to help us determine what going on. When we go out and look at the meter, it's doesn't move. The water service people pulled their meter and took it to a calibration lab. It was perfect. Brought it back and put in back in. I don't think it a water service problem. I definitely think water is passing through their meter, in quantities indicated.

    We have a plumber on the problem, and we're working with the water service people. Everyone is concerned. Under normal conditions, the plumber tells us we have no leakage. We're basically going to have to monitor 24hrs/day, for long periods to try and figure out what's happening to us.

    The plumber did a pressure test of the lines, and said we had no leaks when the tests were done. At some point, during some days, WE DO HAVE HIGH WATER CONSUMPTION. Then, we would be showing definite "leakage".

    We go out during some days and look at the meter. No motion.

    So, if there's a cheap way of doing it, it would be good for us to have chart monitoring. That way, we could pinpoint when the spike occurs, and see if any church activities were linked to it. The meter is a Badger, model 70. They have it set up for remote reading. Tomorrow, I'm calling Badger and asking what their signals look like. It's possible that could be the way we trigger chart recording. Could be no church activities are there when the spike occurs (when I say spike, it would be high for some time period).

    One thing I'm leaning a bit toward is we have a primer/trap somewhere that is letting us dump tons of water into the sewer. If the primer/trap were to dry up, the primer would stick open, that would dump 1/4" or 1/2" line directly into the sewer, through the trap. The next thing that could close such stickage would be a water diversion, elsewhere on that line.

    I think we could focus on that as the cause, if we knew when certain things were happening. This, again, gets us going to water chart monitoring.

    If we can't/won't do chart monitoring, we can go on best info we have. We're going to go back for 1950, and ask guys where primer/traps were typically installed, and where/how. We may have a floor drain in the kitchen that would be a good source for "reaching" for a solution. Problem is, we'll have to bust concret and do some digging, and hope we find a trap/drain there. If so, replace it and see what happens.

    This thing is a bit of a spooky problem.

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    OK. Here a couple of things for you:
    1> www.usabluebook.com You can see the electronic meters and datalogging equipment mentioned by nukeman. They do not sell to the public. You will have to have an engineering contractor obtain the equipment.

    2> I think you would be better served at this point to engage a good leak detection company. They use ultrasonic equipment to track down running water. Since you have some suspect areas....trap primers, etc....they could do quite a bit of detective work in a one or two hour service call.

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    DIY Member rbig's Avatar
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    Could the leak detectors find where primer/traps locations would be? If so, that would be worth it to us, in all likeliehood.

    I'll call American Leak Detectors tomorrow, and pose the problem to them, and see what they say.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default data

    If you just want a "one time" analysis, call an engineering firm. They should have the equipment, or can refer you to a firm that does that type of work. If you want "ongoing" data then you have to buy the transducer and recording graph equipment and have a plumber install it for you. IT would typically be recorded onto a circular disc over a 24 hour period. This is not something the typical plumber would do, or have the equipment to do.

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    Nuclear Engineer nukeman's Avatar
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    Omega is a good place if you do need to do the measurement (for equipment).

    www.omega.com

    Posibilities that I see:

    1. Since no leaks are showing currently, it could be a faulty trap primer valve or maybe a toilet that runs a lot.

    2. I assumed this has been checked, but it could be a clerical type error (mixed up your meter with another one, numbers got recorded incorrectly, etc.)

    3. Are there buildings that are close/connected to the church? Perhaps someone else is also connected to that meter. Shouldn't be, but looking at possibilties.

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default meter

    Take a pad of paper and a pencil. Then every morning, or sometime each day, look at the meter and write down the numbers in the dial, and also where the needle is pointing, since that usually has to be added to the dial's numbers. Maybe someone is having a car wash when you are not there. Any "normal" leak, even an intermittent one, would be constant, not just some months and not others.

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    DIY Member rbig's Avatar
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    Yes. We're trying to get a data logger setup and coupled to the meter.

    With this, we would be in business of monitoring 24hrs per day, and filing each as separate pages.

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