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In-Line Water Leak Detector


smokegrub

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I have several Insteon leak detectors strewn around the house at high risk locations. Recently a leak was detected in the laundry room and considerable damage avoided. This strategy does not, however, address the issue of leaks and unexpected water usage from such things as a faucet left partially open, a toilet failing to properly close following a flush, external hose bibbs left on or leaking, etc. A tool that would allow you to know if flow is occurring in incoming plumbing (quantity unimportant) and with the ability to send alarms/email and controlled by the ISY would be extremely useful. For example, when away from home and at night the alarm features would be especially useful. Thoughts?

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I am currently a Alpha / Beta Tester working with a great team called Water Hero.

 

You can find more information about their fine product which is still in early trials on their website.

 

Unlike other water shut off valves this unit measures water flow and temperature.

 

Offers email / SMS messaging, water consumption tracking, remote and automated turn on / off, comes in two varieties of plug and play and inline install.

 

 

 

 

=========================

 

The highest calling in life is to serve ones country faithfully - Teach others what can be. Do what is right and not what is popular.

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There are systems out there that use algorithms to identify water consumption that fits the pattern of a leak and shut the water off.  This isn't perfect since it would not stop a major water line rupture (like a hose burst on your washer) for a while, but at least it wouldn't run for hours.  It also is good at finding trickle leaks or things like a running toilet.

 

http://www.flologic.com/

 

That is just one.  There are others.

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I have a whole house well pump on an OnOffLinc that will sut it off based on 4 LS units around the house.

 

Since I have an open hydronic system with over 3000' of 1/2' PEX ful of water my system will run for almost a half an hour on a depreciating pressure basis. 

 

The drains in select basement spots should look after most of that and limit the depth of flooding.

 

Sure there will be some damage and a neighbour would get called in but imagine coming home after your water poured into the basement full ON for a week and your bathing suits all need to be washed?

 

I also have one beside the washing machine to shut off the washing machine power. We had some problems with the drain pump clogging a while back and shutting off the machine usually closes the valves and stops the centrifugal water level rise from spinning.

 

Notifications are sent out with notices what to correct and to use codes "AAAA" and "BBBB"  on the KPL to reset the power to devices, so ISY wouldn't have to be entered via the Admin Console,  for a non-HA person involved.

 

Always think about the recovery. It may be a false alarm or really minor. Make sure notifications include enough information, including how the resolve clues.

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Larry, my home away from home has a whole house pump. There I use a SynchroLinc to trigger a message to me when the pump turns on and when it turns off. The SynchroLinc is attached to an ON/OFF Switch. This allows me to ID problems when I am away and turn the pump off if need be. However, at my home I am dealing with a municipal water source. If I had a device that would ID flow in the supply line when we are away I could use an inline valve to control the supply until I could get there. One would think this would be a great business opportunity for someone to develop such a product.

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Larry, my home away from home has a whole house pump. There I use a SynchroLinc to trigger a message to me when the pump turns on and when it turns off. The SynchroLinc is attached to an ON/OFF Switch. This allows me to ID problems when I am away and turn the pump off if need be. However, at my home I am dealing with a municipal water source. If I had a device that would ID flow in the supply line when we are away I could use an inline valve to control the supply until I could get there. One would think this would be a great business opportunity for someone to develop such a product.

 

Yeah, I guess you didn't read my post.  There are already quite a few devices including the one I linked.

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Larry, my home away from home has a whole house pump. There I use a SynchroLinc to trigger a message to me when the pump turns on and when it turns off. The SynchroLinc is attached to an ON/OFF Switch. This allows me to ID problems when I am away and turn the pump off if need be. However, at my home I am dealing with a municipal water source. If I had a device that would ID flow in the supply line when we are away I could use an inline valve to control the supply until I could get there. One would think this would be a great business opportunity for someone to develop such a product.

Here is what I did in my previous house to grow grass seed. Later several neighbours commented about how fast the seed grew (impressed) I gave the soil shots of water every hour depending on how many MS sensors detected light (analogue brightness from digital signal count) so I wouldn't flood the soil but just keep it damp.

 

Now this was just for watering purposes and not where my whole house depended on it but what would the worse case be if the valve was stuck on with closed taps or with a leak you are trying to prevent massive damage from?

 

- I installed a powered controlled valve inline with my plumbing, on the basement ceiling. These have a bypass valve for all-else-fails of the electrics or otherwise. For a complete bypass I had length of copper pipe that would double plumbing union connector in it's  place.

 

Something like this

https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.1-inch-npt-jar-top-valve.1000769546.html

 

- I installed a receptacle box in the basement ceiling on a passing electrical circuit. Basement ceiling light?

 

- I installed a plug on the end of the leads from a doorbell transformer (24vac)

 

- I connected the 24vac secondary of the doorbell transformer to the solenoid valve

 

- I plugged an X10 Appliance module into the receptacle and plugged the doorbell transformer into the X10 module.

 

- I wrote software (HC2000 X10 home control software) to feather the lawn watering times and wrote in a remote keypad to turn on the water control for 15, 30, 45 minutes, and then off, dependant on 1, 2, 3 and 4 clicks on the remote keypad button so I could water the lawn without running inside to flip the bypass lever on the valve or access software.

 

With the valve, ApplianceLinc, doorbell transformer, bit of wiring, surface box, clamp,  receptacle and cover the whole thing should cost you under about $100.

 

This would shut off your whole house or sections or both with multiple units but you would still find a few minutes and a few gallons of water dumped on the floor, depending on top of the hill or bottom of the plumbing etc..

 

If you look at sprinkler controls you may be able to get a multiple valve unit for a decent price that would act as a plumbing manifold but would be at a central point on the plumbing incoming so no advantage may be seen.

 

I would suspect these sprinkler system valves should be fairly reliable as a leak with them could net similar damage. OTOH they may be designed for outdoor circumstances and no guarantees  would be offered. Mine was in place for about 10 years, with no problems, especially not exposed to weather, before I removed it and took it to my new home. Still in a junk box here.

 

 

Ohhh... and it was lawn grass seed...honest!

 

 

ADDENDUM: Here is the same type of valve that has an inline flow shutoff for burst waterlines. I am not sure if power is even needed for that function to work.

https://www.homedepot.ca/en/home/p.34-infpt-auto-inline-vlv-nfc-gbx.1000404810.html

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Here are some bullet points for you and those who may be following this thread.

 

Water Hero Whole House Water Shut Off Monitor:

 

1. Two choices of automated shut off: Inline & clamp on for plug and play

2. Clip on none contact magnetic sensor array to detect water flow

3. Monitors ambient temperature in the local area to guard against a freeze condition

4. Alert notification via email, SMS, and possible push notification.

5. Tracks water consumption with live view and historic recap.

6. Serial input & output for 3rd party systems like alarms.

7. Pulse output to send data to 3rd party devices like the Brultech Green Eye Monitor (GEM).

8. Cloud hosted and smart phone application to control on, off, cycle modes of the valve.

9. Open API which is being worked on to allow more integration with Home Automation.

10. Home, Away modes with user defined sensitivity for water flow detection.

11. Battery back up to ensure fail over during a loss of line voltage

12. Valve position detection to ensure ball valve is in its correct state.

13. WiFi enabled for quick connection and communications.

 

Many more features that are still pending when full development is completed. Last but not least this is an American company that is designing and the bulk of the unit is made in the good old USA. Some parts are obviously used from global parts in the final manufacturer. 

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Here are some bullet points for you and those who may be following this thread.

 

Water Hero Whole House Water Shut Off Monitor:

 

1. Two choices of automated shut off: Inline & clamp on for plug and play

2. Clip on none contact magnetic sensor array to detect water flow

3. Monitors ambient temperature in the local area to guard against a freeze condition

4. Alert notification via email, SMS, and possible push notification.

5. Tracks water consumption with live view and historic recap.

6. Serial input & output for 3rd party systems like alarms.

7. Pulse output to send data to 3rd party devices like the Brultech Green Eye Monitor (GEM).

8. Cloud hosted and smart phone application to control on, off, cycle modes of the valve.

9. Open API which is being worked on to allow more integration with Home Automation.

10. Home, Away modes with user defined sensitivity for water flow detection.

11. Battery back up to ensure fail over during a loss of line voltage

12. Valve position detection to ensure ball valve is in its correct state.

13. WiFi enabled for quick connection and communications.

 

Many more features that are still pending when full development is completed. Last but not least this is an American company that is designing and the bulk of the unit is made in the good old USA. Some parts are obviously used from global parts in the final manufacturer. 

Obviously you can't have a

"clamp-on" with water shutoff features but do you have links to the clamp-on versions?

The Water Hero website only lists three other models that get soldered or threaded inline with the pipes.

 

It would be good to detect water flow in an existing pipe to resolve an elusive (8 years now) problem that I have with a tankless water heater system.

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Obviously you can't have a

"clamp-on" with water shutoff features but do you have links to the clamp-on versions?

The Water Hero website only lists three other models that get soldered or threaded inline with the pipes.

 

It would be good to detect water flow in an existing pipe to resolve an elusive (8 years now) problem that I have with a tankless water heater system.

 

By clamp on for those like me who have a ball valve with 90' handle the Water Hero System has a frame assembly that clamps onto the handle and the shut off motor sits above it and turns this handle.

 

Those who have a dial shut off will need to install the inline version of the shut off motor assembly. The clamp on assembly was designed for a quick and easy Plug & Play install and setup.

 

Once the team completes the first round of Alpha / Beta tests we should be much further ahead in detecting the most minute water use(s).

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By clamp on for those like me who have a ball valve with 90' handle the Water Hero System has a frame assembly that clamps onto the handle and the shut off motor sits above it and turns this handle.

 

Those who have a dial shut off will need to install the inline version of the shut off motor assembly. The clamp on assembly was designed for a quick and easy Plug & Play install and setup.

 

Once the team completes the first round of Alpha / Beta tests we should be much further ahead in detecting the most minute water use(s).

OK Thanks for that. I misunderstood it was a clamp-on sensor.

 

Doing some research I have come across a clamp-on water flow sensor but the 1/2" model has a lower measurement limit of about 1.0 gpm, way too high for my purposes.

 

Looks like it would take a connect inline unit with the paddle wheel.

 

Rollin'... rollin' ....rollin' on the river.

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OK Thanks for that. I misunderstood it was a clamp-on sensor.

 

Doing some research I have come across a clamp-on water flow sensor but the 1/2" model has a lower measurement limit of about 1.0 gpm, way too high for my purposes.

 

Looks like it would take a connect inline unit with the paddle wheel.

 

Rollin'... rollin' ....rollin' on the river.

 

Larry,

 

Apologies if I am being unclear but there are three parts to the whole system. 

 

1. Main board which contains all of the electronics, battery, I/O ports etc.

 

2. Either the plug & play clamp on shut off valve or inline shut off valve.

 

3. Remote sensor which houses the magnetic sensor array that is *affixed* to the users water meter. More than likely the sensor array will be secured with a strap of some kind.

 

I wasn't by a computer early so here is the KS Project link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1115949672/water-hero-protection-from-major-pipe-bursts-and-c/description

 

The main home page of the company I have been working with for over a year with: http://www.waterheroinc.com/

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Anybody tried getting flow data from the water softener control head?

 

The flow readout on the LCD on my digital water softener head displays 0.1GPM, but I believe the actual flow sensor inside is a hall sensor generating 64 pulses per gallon.

 

I'm on a well so there is no water meter, but I do keep track of well pump power consumption (using a separate power tracking tool, not ISY)  just to stay ahead of any problems with the pump or pressure tank.

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Teken:

 

Appears to be a very powerful tool but all I am looking for is something to tell me if even a small amount of water is coming in through the municipal plumbing during those hours when it should not be. I don't care about the quantity. This will let me know if there is a leak in an unmonitored location or an outside hose bibb has been left on.

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Teken:

 

Appears to be a very powerful tool but all I am looking for is something to tell me if even a small amount of water is coming in through the municipal plumbing during those hours when it should not be. I don't care about the quantity. This will let me know if there is a leak in an unmonitored location or an outside hose bibb has been left on.

 

Hello Smokegrub,

 

Apologies if I was not clear enough in my replies. The Water Hero System will detect any water flow from the meter itself. Meaning if the little dial which spins around in the meter to indicate water flow is moving - the system will detect this flow of water in the home.

 

Which translate to you the owner being alerted to such a condition . . .

 

As far as I am aware there isn't a plug & play water monitoring device that can accurately measure minute amounts of water flow like the Water Hero System.

 

Keeping in mind it doesn't use infrasonic, hall effect, or spinner paddles. It actually uses the certified dial in the water meter via magnetic induction measuring which is extremely accurate and reliable since there is no moving parts etc.

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  • 1 year later...

Hi Teken, it would be great to know what you think today of the Water Hero system and if this is a route you would go, or if you would use ELK/ISY approach, or other solution for water detection / auto-shutoff?

 

Hello Deirwin,

 

Short answer is: Yes

 

Long answer is: I believe there are several factors to take into consideration when thinking about any new system. For the record and clarity I am a little biased since the Water Hero system is in place and being used in my home. You will need to keep that in mind when you review my thoughts and replies for the following:

 

Goals: You will really need to define the long term goal(s) and your requirements. Many will go into something and under / over purchase just because someone else did so. But could never accomplish the very same either because they didn't have the technical skills or the finances to do so.

 

Always plan ahead and have a system that matches your skill set and can be expanded further is my thought.

 

Budget: It goes with out saying finances are key but people should not get caught up spending too little vs too much. For me I consider the total *Value* each product brings to me and what it can do on a practical manner. If you've Googled long enough you're more than aware the prices for similar devices range from $25.XX ~ 1200.00 from simple (Insteon) leak sensors to commercial multi point sensing units.

 

Only you can determine if the item in question will offer that value for your intended purpose.

 

Having been using and testing for the Water Hero team for more than three years. The current *sensing* portion has been incredible for me in every way. I've included a few screen captures from my system and what can be seen and how its portrayed.

 

Please note, the charting and graphing comes from my Brultech Green Eye Monitor (GEM) and Dash Box (DB). The primary goal for me was finding a none invasive system that was easy to install and set up with out the need to replace the main water meter or hire a plumber.

 

The other requirement was a system that would integrate well with the Brultech GEM / DB system which it does. Next, was having the ability to interface and use the ISY Series Controller which it does.

 

The other requirement was having a open API that could integrate with most systems on the market. The team is in the process of documenting and releasing this open API for the system. They are also working hard on releasing a smart application which can offer remote control and basic water metrics.

 

I've been pushing very hard on the team to ensure the system is as open and can operate in a local and stand alone mode vs cloud only. I am not a fan of cloud based services or products and thus my bias toward local first vs cloud first has been the main driver when working with the Water Hero team.

 

I have been very fortunate in the fact we have a good working relationship with the founder and CEO. Because of this, the company has taken on dozens of my suggestions and requirements I believe offer the best value, performance, and integration.

 

The team and I are on the last portion of Beta testing for no less than 100 field testers. The development team is hard at work in the Alpha trials to release a smart application which supports iOS / Android. 

 

As of this writing I have been hard at work on expanding my home automation system to support reactive and proactive voice alerts / announcements via Amazon Echo, and Julie U.S. Many elements of this depends upon the tight integration of the ISY Series Controller which tracks the current, low, high water flows in my home.

 

At a high level the system will be able to inform me of *Water Signatures* which I can proactively track, monitor, or intercede to. Other aspects I have been field trialing is multi point alert notifications which relay the information to a person in a common sense manner.

 

That has been from simple LED board indicators to relay volume, active, minimum vs maximum values met. To graphing from Water Hero, Dash Box, IFTTT, Google Charts, to SEG. For me this Water Hero system serves many facets which are: Global Water Consumption, Security, Water Control, Water Conservation, and being able to share the data with other people.  

 

The most important aspect I can not over state is the system is extremely accurate. It does not rely on systems that use paddles, infrasonic, mythical guessing software, or hall effect / LED counters. The system uses tried and true none contact / none invasive magnetic detection right at the water meter.

 

If the dial on your homes water meter moves - It tracks it! There is no track every 10, 20 gallons per blah blah blah. It tracks when ever the water meter dial moves and spins around. So what does that mean in plain English?

 

Its taking measurements from a *Certified* device installed by the city!! 

 

Let me know if that answers your questions and whether you need more feedback.

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  • 8 months later...
2 hours ago, tommyrob said:

Teken,

How is the integration with ISY handled? Is there a way to share home and away status from the isy or an isy variable?

thank you,

Tom Robertson

Hi Tom Robertson,

The ISY Series Controller is currently integrated using my Brultech Dash Box (DB) & Green Eye Monitor (GEM). The GEM accepts the water pulse from the Water Hero system directly via twin (dual pairs) of (22 AWG) copper cable. In turn, that water flow pulse data is relayed to the Dash Box which stores all of the consumption and historic metrics for later review. The DB sends the same water metrics via State Variables to the ISY Series Controller via REST.

The ISY Series Controller is configured with many programs which monitor the current, low, high values. 

Other programs take those low, high values and help me identify water signatures: Bath, Clothes Washer, Dishwasher, Hand Washing, Pee vs Poo Flushing. The Water Hero team continues to work toward offering a open API for their system. There isn't a ETA on that release as of yet as the team is working toward other immediate goals. The Water Hero system offers a cloud hosted service which allows a person to view their water consumption, settings, etc from any computer system.

They have also released a Android / iOS smart application which also allows the same control, management, and historic review, and control for home & away.

I would encourage you to reach out to the Water Hero team and inquire about when the open API will be public ready for consumer use for the ISY Series Controller.  Please let me know if you require more insight or clarification.

Cheers!

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