As observed in previous case studies, water bills are just as important to monitor as other utilities like electricity or natural gas. The cost avoidance per issue might be lower, however, issues can arise at any time and can often be “hidden” due to the mechanical aspect of plumbing. Furthermore, a small leak left unattended for a long time can accumulate to thousands of litres of wasted water.
As part of the utility bill auditing protocol that we have in place for one of our retail clients, a location was flagged for an above average water usage. This store’s regular water consumption was monitored at 10-20 cubic meters per month but a spike occurred which increased the usage to 10 times that amount. As this is an unusual spike in consumption, an investigation was launched into the reason for this increase.
- Once the increase in water consumption was noticed, the store was contacted to find out if they were aware of any water leaks and if not, to encourage them to schedule for a plumber to complete an inspection.
- The store in question placed a service call for a plumber to investigate and a broken fire sprinkler line was found near the dumpster area.
- As the line was located within a wall cavity, once the drywall was removed, other issues were found, such as mold. Since this was in a common area, the landlord was responsible for the costs of the repairs.
- We suggested that the landlord might have further responsibility in regards to the actual cost of the water that leaked away, in which case those increase costs should be back charged to them.
- We monitored the account for 3 months to verify that the water consumption was back to normal.
Results of Investigation
As a result of the investigation that we conducted for this high water consumption case, our client was able to schedule for a plumber to go and investigate the cause of the increase. Once the issue was located, the necessary repairs were made and the consumption reduced back to its normal level. The increase was calculated at an average of 200 cubic meters per month which leads to an annual cost avoidance of $8,400.00. In this particular case, after contacting the landlord, it was determined that although the leak was in a common area, our client was still responsible for the specific piece of equipment that was leaking, however, the landlord covered the costs of the repairs and mold removal.
Sometimes plumbing issues arise in “hidden” areas or areas that are not visited often and can be left unattended for a long time before being noticed. Other times, the leaks are noticed but can be thought to be in an area where the store believes it is not their responsibility. However, they might still be paying for the over-usage, either because even though the leak is not their responsibility, the water is still running through their meter, or the equipment that is leaking is actually their responsibility. However, the only way of knowing if you are actually paying for that extra water is to track your consumption on a consistent basis. Could your money be leaking away slowly? Contact us and let Powerhouse help you regain peace of mind.