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Metering specific circuits & floors in a Multi-Family Home

Metering specific circuits & floors in a Multi-Family Home


Old 06-07-06, 04:00 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2
Metering specific circuits & floors in a Multi-Family Home


Just recently purchased a 3-family home. The home has 3 meters and three circuit breaker panels/boxes (one for each floor). The exterior lights and coin op washer/dryer are all routed to the first floor breaker - but I have no way to meter the consumption for these "general-use" components. If possible I would like to avoid installing a net new exterior meter and breaker. But that said, it is unfair to charge the first floor tenants for a buildings worth of washing/drying/lighting - and of course, I do not want to pay the first floor electric bill myself.

1. Is is possible to "mini-meter" out or otherwise monitor the individual circuits or consumers from the first floor breaker (specifically the washer/dryer and exterior lighting) - then I can just do the math and credit the tenant the balance of the bill that is not theirs? Nothing fancy, just some way to determine how much electricity is used by the exterior and washer/dryer.
2. What is rough estimate to install a fourth box and meter?
3. Pros/Cons to each approach?

Thanks for the help.
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Old 06-07-06, 04:11 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Forget the idea of determining a figure for the electric consumption of the common circuits. Any figure you came up with would not be accurate enough to go forth with. Remember, outdoor lighting needs change with the seasons and the laundry needs depend on usage.

There are too many variables for you to get an accurate estimate here. I suggest that you contact three electricians and get estimates. Make sure that the estimates are in writing and that they are specific about what work will be done.
Old 06-07-06, 04:39 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2
metering specific circuits & floors in a multi-family home

Thanks for the reco...there must be a more creative sol'n though. Its probably going to run me close to 2 g for the installation...
Old 06-07-06, 04:55 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 1,623
The cheepest solution is to estimate the common electrical usage, charge everyone a bit more and give the first floor tennant free electric.

Your next option is to move all the common use circuits to a sepaerate service.
Old 06-07-06, 06:28 PM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 35
There are specific laws that vary from state to state about what you are doing. Many states consider selling unmetered electricity a felony. Also if the tennants find out you are charging for use that cannot be proven,/or documented, they may wind up seeing you in court.

I'd get it fixed properly, by qualified people..
Old 06-07-06, 06:54 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: North of Boston, MA.
Posts: 2,113
Do you live at this property?
If so change those loads to your meter, Problem solved.

If you do not live at this property.. depending on your state laws you may have BIG troubles if this is revealed

IE: Ma. un-owner occupied multi family MUST have a seperate meter for ALL common loads...Hall lights, outside lights,smoke detectors etc... The apartment 110v smokes can come off the units power, ONLY if NOT interconnected to the others.
Owner occupide- owner MUST pay all common use items.
These also holds true for other utilities as well.

So check with your local code, housing auth. or others, avoid a big problem with 1 bad tennant.

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