Wolseley PRO Pipeline Blog
Whether it is a slow leak from a plumbing fixture, or a catastrophic pipe failure, leaks can be destructive for a residence and extremely costly. We have all heard the stories of homeowners receiving extremely high water bills due to a flapper on a toilet starting to fail, or seeing disaster recovery companies at a residence due to a pipe or valve failure leading to major flooding. With todays technology, there are a myriad of ways to avoid leaks and detect them when they start, but which technology is the best?
How Do Leak Detectors Work?
In short, leak detectors will sense water flow in a building usually through a unit mounted on the incoming waterline. Messages can be sent out either via Wi-Fi or through a homes automation system. Ideally, the leak detection system will let you know if there is a small leak (showing water usage even if there should be no water flow at all). It will also shut the entire water system down if it detects a catastrophic failure such as a break in the main waterline.
What To Consider When Choosing A Leak Detection System
Important factors to consider when suggesting a leak detector for your customers are features, types of communication protocol, how the unit is powered, and whether the system will work if there is a breakdown in connectivity.
Automatic Water Shut-Off
While receiving a message about a leak in a residence is great, damage can be done between when the leak occurs and the time the homeowner receives the message. Automatic shut-off features will ensure that in the event of a catastrophic failure, the message is sent, but in the meantime, the system is shut down immediately.
Another option is to install a leak detector that will still shut the system down if a failure occurs, without sending a message to the homeowner. Since many of the communicating models have metering capabilities, they will let you check the water consumption at any time. This usually also means that they will need to be calibrated upon installation. If the homeowner is away on vacation for example, and they see that there is water consumption at the empty residence, they should have the ability to shut the system down via their wireless device.
Leak Detection For Small Leaks
Small leaks that can cause major issues tend to originate from water closet flappers that should be replaced. Homeowners often only realize they have this sort of leak once they receive an exorbitant water bill. Some of these leak detection units also provide sensors for various areas in a residence that may be more susceptible to leaks than others (water heaters and washing machines for example).
Communication Protocol For Leak Detection Systems
Another major consideration for leak detection is communication protocol. With the myriad of home automation systems as well as AI systems on the market, ensuring that the system communicates with your customers’ devices is essential. A general phone App is available for some systems, while on others you will need proprietary systems in place. It is not just about the wrenches anymore. Plumbers need to be tech savvy to ensure that systems work properly to avoid damage caused by leaks and pipe failure.
Power Backups And Connectivity Breakdowns
Finally, if there is a breakdown in connectivity (power outages that cause routers to go down, for example), you’ll want to ensure there is a backup system. The ability to have battery backup and WIFI connectivity will lead to peace of mind for homeowners.
Breaking Down The Options
Taking all these aspects for leak detection and breaker systems into consideration can be a hefty task. To help with the decision making, we have included a chart with some of the models that are on the market showing the differences in power sources, connectivity and some of the other features.
Leak Detector/ Breaker Comparison
|Valve Power Source||AC Outlet & Battery Backup Capability||AC Outlet||AC Outlet|
3/4", 1", 1-1/4", 1-1/2", 2"
3/4", 1", 1-1/4"
|Lead Free Brass Construction||x||x|
|Flow Meter Capabilities||Launching 2019||x||x|
|Contractor Warranty||5 - Year||1 - Year||2- Year|
|Notifications to Smart Phone/Tablet||x||x||x|
|Connection Type||Wi-Fi (Hub 3.0), Ethernet (Hub 2.0)||Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi|
|Works Without Power Or Internet Connectivity (24/7)||x|
|Appliance Kit - Direct Shut-Off||
3/8", 1/2", 3/4", 1"
While fixtures such as faucets and sinks are about aesthetics as much as function, products such as leak detection will provide the homeowner with peace of mind and may eliminate a major insurance claim down the road. With today’s technology, we can protect homeowners from most catastrophic events, but it entails making them aware of the advantages of products such as these.
Shop leak detection systems on Wolseley Express or speak to your Wolseley Rep for more help choosing the right product for your customer.
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