Eliminate Water Bill Surprises
Prevent Catastrophic Damage
GUIDE TO AUTOMATIC WATER SHUT OFF VALVES AND LEAK DETECTION SYSTEMS
You can save yourself a flood of troubles by installing an automatic water shut off valve and leak detection system. First, it’s important to understand the basics of how they work, why you need them and a little bit about the amazing new features that modern / internet based technology has made possible.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. What is a water leak and what happens when I have one?
2. What is an automatic water shut off valve and leak detection system?
3. Types of Traditional Automatic Water Shut Off Valves
3a. Classic Moisture Sensor Systems
3b. Legacy Whole Home Water Shutoff and Leak Detection Systems
4. Next Generation Leak Detection and Shut Off With Water Hero
5. Emerging, Non-Invasive Leak Detection Systems
6. Installing your Water Hero P-100
7. Insurance Discounts
8. Regulatory Approvals
1. WHAT IS A WATER LEAK AND WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I HAVE ONE?
Massive water leaks happen in homes – more regularly than you’d expect actually. One in fifty-five homes experience a catastrophic water leak each year. Toilet lines burst, pipes freeze, refrigerator tubing cracks – the possibilities are endless. These leaks, on average, cause $8,000 worth of damage to the average home. Regularly, though, they can cause $100,000 of damage or more in an average home.
Imagine if a water leak occurs when you’re away for the weekend – it could easily flood your home, essentially “totaling” it. It doesn’t just mean tens of thousands in damage – it also means that you have to vacate your home for water remediation contractors. Mold removal, sheetrock replacement and more need to take place for you to get back in your home.
Read more about the types of water leaks
2. WHAT IS AN AUTOMATIC WATER SHUT OFF VALVE AND LEAK DETECTION SYSTEM?
Automatic Water Shutoff Valves and/or Leak Detection Systems safeguard your home and prevent damage from water leaks. An automatic water shut-off valve detects water either by monitoring flows in the pipe or by detecting water on the floor. When flow is irregular or moisture is detected, the valve will shut off the water supply to your home. These can prevent a significant amount of the damage that water leaks cause.
3. TYPES OF TRADITIONAL AUTOMATIC WATER SHUT OFF VALVES
In general, you can subdivide automatic water shutoff valves into two different types (1) Moisture Sensor Systems and (2) Whole House, Flow Based Leak Detection Systems.
Moisture Sensor Automatic Water Shutoff Systems rely on moisture pucks that you scatter around your home. If water or moisture comes in contact with these pucks, the system may alert you and/or shut-off your water. For substantial protection, you’ll need 10+ moisture pucks scattered around your home (bathrooms, water heater, dishwasher, etc.). Some examples of these systems are Flood Stop and Water Cop
Whole House Flow Based Leak Detection Systems with Automatic Water Shutoffs shut-off your water based on continuous flow. For example, if water is running for 20 minutes continuously, it will shut off the water. That means these systems can help you catch non-damaging leaks that drive up your water bill (leaky toilet) AND catastrophic leaks that can destroy your home (burst pipe). Some examples of flow based systems are Leak Defense and FloLogic
Generally, insurance companies and homeowners prefer Whole House Systems because they are more comprehensive in home protection, have less false positives and you don’t need multiple sensor pucks scattered around your home.
3a. CLASSIC MOISTURE SENSOR SYSTEMS
Generally, you’ll find that find that older systems consist of a variety of moisture sensor systems as well as flow-based leak detection systems that are not connected to the Internet.
Moisture sensor systems can be insufficient for many reasons. Firstly, as mentioned above, 10+ moisture sensors can be required to effectively protect your home. You would need to place one in each bathroom, on each floor and near each appliance and under each sink. And they often get kicked out of place, further reducing their effectiveness.
Secondly, moisture sensors are very prone to false positives. Many users report false alarms; for example, humidity is prone to set off the moisture sensors which can be annoying. Worse yet, too many false alarms can push a user to completely disable the system out of frustration, leaving the user unprotected from burst pipe damage.
Thirdly, many valves need to be wired directly to the main shut-off valve in order to operate. This makes it complicated to install and manage wiring throughout a home.
Though these valves may be somewhat cheaper, they lack the protection needed to effectively protect your whole home from burst pipes and water damage.
3b. LEGACY WHOLE HOME WATER SHUT OFF AND LEAK DETECTION SYSTEMS
Older whole house flow based leak detection systems enable the type of protection required but lack Internet connection, require wiring to link up to other appliances and are significantly expensive, costing approximately $2,000.
Reliance on an old school control panel in your basement make false positives inconvenient (e.g. go downstairs in your basement and turn back your water) and lack web-based functionality to adjust settings and valve position on the road. They also provide no water use data, which can offer significant savings on water bills from non-damaging, but costly water waste from items like a running toilet (which can cost over $1,000 per year). The price point, lack of usage data and lack of controls can make these leak detection systems a poor option for the majority of the homes in the U.S.
4. NEXT GENERATION LEAK DETECTION WITH WATER HERO
Water Hero is the next generation of Leak Detection. It provides comprehensive whole house leak protection. It is also an internet-connected (an Internet of Things, or “IoT “ device) leak detection and automatic water shut off system. Water Hero uses a flow sensor, shut off valves and a traditional water meter made “smart” with our advanced electronics. Our flow sensor reads and digitizes flow information at 200 times per second, making an old school water meter smart. When the water flow exceeds user set thresholds, Water Hero sends the user a text/e-mail and can automatically shut off their water. Water Hero also has a temperature sensor that can send you a text and/or email alert when you’re at risk of freezing and a back-up battery so that it functions when your building is most vulnerable – when the power goes out.
Best of all, everything is controlled over the web or through your smartphone so you can easily change your settings, open and close your valve, see real-time water usage and more.
Learn more about the Water Hero P-100
5. EMERGING, NON-INVASIVE LEAK DETECTION SYSTEMS
Emerging types of system that are becoming available are non-invasive systems, including the Water Hero K-100 system. The theory behind these systems is that they do not require plumbing for installation. Though installation of these systems is simpler and easily done, you are unable to shut-off your water automatically or remotely with these systems. That said, they are valuable to get alerts when there is a potential water leak.
They also require a fairly specific set up for installation. For example, the Water Hero K-100 requires an indoor water meter, power and Wi-Fi to operate. This represents about 40% of North America, including the wide majority of homes in the NorthEast, Upper MidWest, and Canada.
Reach out to us to learn if the Water Hero K-100 works with your home piping.
6. INSTALLING YOUR WATER HERO P-100
Once you decide that you need a leak detection & automatic water shut off system, you’ll need to consider installation. Most systems are invasive, meaning that they are cut into the pipe right where water enters your home or building. All damaging and (in the case of Water Hero) non-damaging leaks are detected after the point of installation of your leak detection system. All flow going through your leak detection is monitored.
Let’s walk through a plumbing installation with the Water Hero P-100 system.
 The plumber will find the water meter, unions and motorized ball valve that comes in the Water Hero package
 They will locate where the water enters your home or building and manually shut off the water to your home
 They’ll drain the plumbing in your home by opening a faucet and letting it flow through a faucet or other receptacle
 They’ll cut the line and solder the Water Hero system into your pipe
That’s it. The plumbing installation takes about 30 to 60 minutes and is considered a simple install. That is because it uses a traditional water meter and stainless steel motorized ball valve.
The next step is the easiest – just like connecting any Internet connected device. You’ll use a smartphone or computer to connect your Water Hero Main Controller to the web. Then you’re good to go. Your home is now protected from the most common cause of damage – water leaks! And you will also have data to help you save thousands from non-damaging leaks over the years
7. INSURANCE DISCOUNTS
If your leak detection and automatic water shut off system has a central alarm, or automatic shut off and notifications sent to your phone/e-mail, you could be eligible for annual discounts off your insurance premium. Water damage claims top the charts as the most common cause of insurance damage. In fact, they cost the US Insurance Industry $10 billion yearly in claims, and are the number one claim area at 30%—seven times bigger than fire damage! Because of this, many insurance companies want to incentivize you to install a whole house leak detection system, and will provide you with a discount if you install a Water Hero system. We have seen these discounts in the range of $400 per year or more and are typically in the range of $250 per year.
Reach out to your insurance company to better understand what types of discounts that you can receive from a leak detection system.
8. REGULATORY APPROVALS FOR AUTOMATIC WATER SHUT OFF VALVES
The first and most important item to consider in these valves are ensuring that they are lead free. Lead is a contaminant that is in paint and can be dangerous to consume. To ensure that your valve is compliant with lead free requirements, ask for NSF 61-G Certification for any leak detection system. Also, ensure that your power adapter is UL listed and your device is FCC compliant [if internet connected]
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