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Thread: Guidance on increasing meter size.

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    DIY Junior Member G-Keepa's Avatar
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    Default Guidance on increasing meter size.

    Hello Everyone.

    I have been reading up on various forums, about increasing water meter size to increase flow(house and irrigation). I think it would serve me best to do so, and I'm ready to get the ball rolling with my Municipality. I guess the question would be--all things being equal--should I go from the current 5/8" meter I currently have to 1", or 1.5"? I know a 1.5" meter is a whole other ballgame(pricewise), and I will probably have to have the pressure regulated at the house. I was toying with the idea of retrofitting a fire sprinkle system in our house(someday), but I'm not totally wedded to it yet. The thing I keep hearing is: "..oversize your service, and regulate psi down to afford the most flexibility for future improvements." What am I missing? Thanks in advance for the input. Regards,

    Karl in Tempe

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    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    First of all, changing meter size will not affect the pressure. It will increase potential flow. A number of years ago, I installed an automatic irrigation system and realized the 5/8" meter would not be large enough. I opted to bypass the 3/4" meter and for a few dollars more, had a 1" meter installed. Now, would a 3/4" been enough? I don't know, but I do know that I have never been sorry for going to 1". Now, a 1.5" would be vastly overkill for you. The old geometric formulas for area of a circle comes into play. (Pi x radius squared)

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    DIY Senior Member bluebinky's Avatar
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    For the irrigation, unless you have a large lot, adding a circuit or two to reduce the flow may be cheaper and easier than bothering with the meter. At my house in the city, the irrigation draws about 5 gpm max.

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    DIY Junior Member G-Keepa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Swart View Post
    First of all, changing meter size will not affect the pressure. It will increase potential flow. A number of years ago, I installed an automatic irrigation system and realized the 5/8" meter would not be large enough. I opted to bypass the 3/4" meter and for a few dollars more, had a 1" meter installed. Now, would a 3/4" been enough? I don't know, but I do know that I have never been sorry for going to 1". Now, a 1.5" would be vastly overkill for you. The old geometric formulas for area of a circle comes into play. (Pi x radius squared)
    Got it. Thought with a possible fire sprinkler install, that would be the ONLY reason to entertain a 1.5"(it's a bunch more dollars: approx. double +/-$1500.00). My irrigation system wasn't part of the original build of the house, and whoever installed it, put 12 heads on one valve. It struggles on that station. I'll nozzle down, go bigger meter, and see how it goes. Use the savings to buy a fire extiguisher for every room.

    Thanks again.

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    DIY Junior Member G-Keepa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluebinky View Post
    For the irrigation, unless you have a large lot, adding a circuit or two to reduce the flow may be cheaper and easier than bothering with the meter. At my house in the city, the irrigation draws about 5 gpm max.
    I still may split that one valve so that there are only 6 heads on each...that's gotta help.

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    Forum Admin, Expert Plumber Terry's Avatar
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    Putting in more zones always helps. The family home I installed uses five zones. 3/4" meter and 1.5" PVC pipe for the first 250 feet, and then it breaks down into 1" for the last 100 feet.
    And yes, it has a reduced pressure back flow preventer.

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    DIY Junior Member G-Keepa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Putting in more zones always helps. The family home I installed uses five zones. 3/4" meter and 1.5" PVC pipe for the first 250 feet, and then it breaks down into 1" for the last 100 feet.
    And yes, it has a reduced pressure back flow preventer.
    Looks like the meter size increase will be inevitable in this case: City told me to check the meter, and make sure it was completely open before requesting a pressure check thru them. Long story short, the shut off handle twisted completely off the stem on the valve/meter. Doesn't look to be repairable, but I've never disassembled a meter to see how it goes back together. Don't think it(stem)moved at all, until it gave way. House pressure didn't change. No leaks--thankfully. Tried to ease it back and forth, and thought it was working, but then I realized that was not the case. Heart definitely skipped a beat when it broke....

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    That is why most municipalities do not want you to turn off the meter valve yourself, and why they may charge you a bundle to fix it. In many areas, three is a minimum monthly bill for each sized meter, and if you installed a 1 1/2" meter, you might pay a lot more than the water you actually use.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    DIY Junior Member G-Keepa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    That is why most municipalities do not want you to turn off the meter valve yourself, and why they may charge you a bundle to fix it. In many areas, three is a minimum monthly bill for each sized meter, and if you installed a 1 1/2" meter, you might pay a lot more than the water you actually use.
    I'll admit my eyebrows raised a bit when he(the water sevice rep I spoke with about scheduling a pressure check)told me to check the meter shut off to ensure it was all the way open, but I thought: "Okay, I got a green light here..." I know surrounding cities(Mesa, Chandler, etc.)have explicit constraints on their residents touching meters. My city--Tempe--apparently doesn't. When I called them back, to let them know what happened, they said they'll be out to fix it. No charge.
    I was relieved, eventhough I'd gotten verbal approval before lifting the box cover off. Whew...

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