They’re beautiful, accommodating, innovative and new- Class A apartment homes are a world of their own. They also deal with a world of their own utility inefficiencies! Newly constructed and most Class A communities have what’s referred to as an AMR system, “Automated Meter Reading System”, installed on site to track the in-unit personal water consumption of their tenants. That hardware tracks the water usage, reports it back to a main hub, which is then tapped into by your utility billing company. Magic happens and those consumption numbers become charges owed and viola! Bills mailed to your residents and paid for!
If only it were that easy.
Those AMR systems break- All. The. Time. Meters go down, repeaters stop repeating, transmitters stop transmitting. Though the intention of the tech was to create a more efficient way of water billing - it normally creates an even larger headache.
Here are 3 reasons why you need a robust meter maintenance program for your class A community:
When repeaters go down- your data goes with them.
Your AMR system thrives off of sending small pulses out of the personal consumption data for each unit at your community. These pulses are sent by meters, retrofitted to the main source of water within each unit. The “receiver” of data - (the big magic box that gathers alllll of the water data for your entire community) is normally located in your leasing office. The pulses put out by the meters are not strong enough to reach the main receiver by themselves, so they have what are referred to as Repeaters to help them out! Repeaters function as “pulse elongators”. They pick up those in unit short-range pulses and shoot them to your main Receiver box. When a Repeater goes down- so does your ability to see the consumption data within units across your property! Weekly tracking of your Repeater’s liveliness is CRUCIAL.
2. Meters are super temperamental.
The main piece of equipment that is calculating the in unit water consumption, or the actual submeter, is not an invincible piece of equipment. If you’ve got tenants complaining of ridiculous water bills, there’s a good chance their in unit meter is over reporting. Not a difficult fix but definitely one that should be attended to asap!
3. Error messages, codes and alerts- oh my!
Within your AMR system, your billing company has access to the “life-status” of alllll of the submeter equipment installed on your property. Within that report are also error codes that show if there are hidden issues on site- a meter has gone down, a transmitter has stopped transmitting, or a repeater has stopped repeating. Not all error messages are one in the same- depending on the issue, some solutions are not a one-size-fits-all kind of thing. Keeping a daily check of those error messages is HUGE in making sure that your AMR system is functioning at maximum capacity.