Reading water meters from a distance?
I have a small commercial building that has six tenants. I replumbed the building to one master meter that the City reads for overall consumption. My plumber installed individual water meters for each suite so we could determine individual usage.
However these meters, commercial quality, are in the attics of each suite and very difficult to read. Have to crawl though a ceiling panel and then a minimum of ten feet to see each meter for each suite.
This means I have to make an appointment with each tenant, crawl around in the attic and read the meter with a flashlight! Not fun!
Is there some way I could remotely read these meters? At least from one location inside, OR preferably outside, the building?
I had thought about getting cheap Infra Red Video cameras and somehow wirelessly linking them to a central computer in one of my tenant's suites.
My water bills average about $100 a month, total, but have had spikes at over $200! Even so, the bills add up. My leases all say that the tenant must pay water, but they grumble if I read the meters every three months and then give them a bill.
I don't want to spend a zillion dollars on this, but would like some suggestions. I was hoping for a solution costing $500 or less, I could spend as much as $1,000 for a good answer. This would not have to printout water bills, I could read the useage and send the tenants a bill.
Thanks for your help.