Picture this. One unfortunate homeowner who was also a specialist in restoring old Porsches came home one winter’s day to find his prized high-performance vehicle in his garage encased in several inches of ice after a water pipe froze and burst. The temperature was so low and the water loss so severe that the weight of the ice caused tires on the Porsche to burst. That’s cold—and that’s the price of water damage, which is the second most common cause of homeowner loss.
As a defensive maneuver against future water-related wreckage, the homeowner installed a leak detection and defense system. Now, notification of any water flow increase will be delivered promptly to the device(s) of the resident’s choosing. Had this system been installed before the garage mishap, the Porsche aficionado could still be cruising the roadways in his sports car, having spared himself emotional pain and collateral damage.
The Cascading Costs of Water Damage
Homeowners in the U.S. spend billions of dollars every year repairing water damage stemming from burst frozen pipes, aged-out water heaters, dislodged dishwater hoses and leaky toilets, among other household water systems. In fact, water damage and freezing was the second most common insurance claim made by homeowners from 2008-2012—trailing only wind and hail—according to the Insurance Information Institute.
While the average cost of repairing damage from water leaks is $5,000, typical damages range from $2,000 to $30,000, as indicated by insurance industry research. This is an increase from similar claims in the 1970s of more than $600 on average. Beyond financial loss, avoiding such accidents is important to the sanctity of a family’s well-being from health perspectives both psychological (discarding cherished possessions to temporary or permanent relocation) and physical, such as lung complications (asthma, allergies, wheeze and cough) from the growth of water-borne microorganisms.
Eliminating the Problem Before it Begins
Fortunately, unlike the aforementioned Porsche aficionado, homeowners can protect themselves by installing an automatic water leak detection and shut-off system before disaster strikes. Not only could such a system prevent or significantly reduce water damage, but it would help conserve water and cut usage costs.
Just as a building automation system can learn to monitor an HVAC system, the SysLINK M2M Gateway from Systech could connect to a wireless pulse counter or flow meter, along with a powered shutoff located where the water main enters the home. Once acceptable flow levels are established for that main, any time flow fell outside those levels the system could either shut off the water or alert the homeowner. Normal water use like showers, dishwasher, laundry and toilets would have their own acceptable flow levels established as well.
Building automation systems are giving homeowners new ways to cut maintenance and repair costs and receive continuous value from their home appliances.