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Leak Detectors, Shut-Off Valves Potential Profit Margins

Leak Detectors, Shut-Off Valves Potential Profit Margins

A new study from Chubb* finds that while homeowners are nearly unanimous (90 percent) in saying they are “vigilant” or do an “okay job” at home maintenance, their responses tell a different story when it comes to water damage prevention, the number one cause of property-related claims.

According to Chubb’s 2018 Homeowners’ Water Risk Survey, three quarters (73 percent) of homeowners are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about property damage from environmental or maintenance issues. But when thinking about protecting against internal leaks, such as burst and leaky pipes, just 47 percent and 41 percent of homeowners, respectively, report periodically checking their appliance hoses or conducting water heater maintenance – two important leak protection measures. Additionally, there has been no year-over-year improvement in the installation of water shut-off devices, with just 19 percent reporting installation in 2018 and 18 percent in 2017.

According to Chubb’s claims data, water is the number one property-related homeowners claim and the Insurance Information Institute found that one in 50 homeowners will experience a related claim each year. When they do, it will cost close to $10,000 per leak.

This is the second survey by Chubb measuring homeowners’ approaches and behaviors toward internal water leak detection and the first survey focusing on external water threats.

Those numbers would indicate there is a huge market for plumbing contractors to sell their expertise and products. Any visitor to KBIS, IBS, or AHR Expo no doubt has seen the array of devices that are potential profit margins for the contractor. Here are a few:

The GROHE Sense & GROHE Sense Guard are smart devices that can discover leaks and pipe breaks, detect humidity and frost levels, and monitor individual water consumption. GROHE Sense is a water sensor that is placed in a home wherever there is potential risk, such as the basement, laundry room, bathroom or kitchen. It detects leaking water “‘around-the-clock” and immediately alerts homeowners. Sense Guard uses multiple sensors to track water pressure and the flow of water and measure general water consumption. It automatically turns off the water supply when it exceeds a specific maximum set by the user. Installed by a professional installer directly to the main water pipe of a home, Sense Guard measures the system temperature to indicate the risk of frost, detects leaks, and shuts off the water supply automatically when a pipe bursts and water consumption passes a certain threshold. It also conducts periodic micro leakage tests by measuring and tracking pressure drops in the water line so that the homeowner can detect leaks through a notification via the GROHE smartphone app. Sense Guard can also be integrated with Nest to enable an even higher level of water security by shutting the water off every time the home is vacant. Upon the homeowner’s return, the water is automatically turned back on. (www.grohe.us)

LeakSmartSnap shut-off valve control installs in seconds without any tools or the need to cut into the main water supply line. LeakSmart Snap fits in any space, installs at any angle and on any type of valve. It programs itself to calibrate the torque required to turn off a home’s main water supply, making adjustments if necessary, and is strong enough to open even the toughest valve in a home. Homeowners can extend this protection even during power outages and downed Wi-Fi with the LeakSmart Hub 3.0. When paired with Nest, LeakSmart alerts the homeowner to turn off the HVAC if a leak is detected nearby. When Nest is in Home/Away Assist mode for more than 48 hours, LeakSmart sends a reminder to turn off your main water valve remotely. Or get a heads up on the LeakSmart App when plunging temperatures threaten to freeze pipes, thanks to LeakSmart Sensors, or Nest’s room temperature and indoor humidity readings. (www.leaksmart.com)

SJE Rhombus Xpert Alert Indoor Alarm System helps protect homes from potentially costly damage due to flooding, pump failure, or freezing pipes. When the tank level rises, the high-water float activates the alarm (audible and visual) to alert the homeowner of potentially threatening liquid level conditions. An LED alarm light ring illuminates red for alarm one and amber for alarm two. Two sensor inputs allow users the flexibility to choose which separate liquid level conditions to monitor. The Xpert Alert includes auxiliary contacts for attachment of remote devices and has an automatic alarm reset. The switching mechanism operates on low voltage and is isolated from the power line to reduce the possibility of shock. The complete package includes a standard SJE MilliAmpMaster control switch. (www.sjerhombus.com)

FLO BY MOEN calculates water pressure, flow rate and temperature within a home’s water supply system while using AI to differentiate normal water use from abnormal use. This enables the device to monitor and help detect water leaks and other vulnerabilities. Flo by Moen is comprised of a Wi-Fi connected device that is installed on the main water supply line going into the home and connected to a smartphone app. It can monitor and detect pipe leaks in the water supply system, some as small as a single drop of water per minute throughout the home, including behind walls or in the foundation. Additionally, the device’s temperature sensors provide early warnings if water in the home’s water supply system is approaching freezing, helping to avoid burst pipes. It also applies algorithms to learn how the home uses water and alerts the homeowner, if and when, it senses abnormalities. In the instance a potential catastrophic issue is detected, and the homeowner fails to respond to alerts, the system can be set to automatically shut off the water to protect the home from flooding. (www.moen.com/flo)

The LeakBreaker from Taco Comfort Solutions, a water heater leak protection device that guards against flood damage from a leaking water heater, is now available with eLink wireless technology. The unit consists of a control unit, a valve with actuator, a sensor and Wi-Fi capability, enabling status alerts to be sent directly to a user’s mobile device whenever a change occurs. This resettable, testable protection device can be installed on any style water heater to shut off incoming water supply, preventing additional water flow to a damaged water heater. The two-color LED light and audible alarm provides continuous LeakBreaker status. Alerts are also sent via text or email. The unit’s plumb and plug design – with full-port valve and easily-removed actuator – is engineered to permit new or retrofit installation. Components are pre-wired to simplify installation; just plug in the sensor, valve, power supply and/or batteries. LeakBreaker can be tested any time, and then be reset to guard against a future leak. (www.tacocomfort.com)

Phyn Plus, is a single connected smart water monitoring device that detects leaks anywhere in a home and can automatically shut off the main water supply to prevent costly damage. Phyn Plus also monitors water use, giving homeowners insight into how much water their homes and water using fixtures are consuming so they can conserve and save. Upon installation, Phyn learns about the homeowner’s personal water system and continues to get smarter over time. When Phyn notices a change in normal water usage, the mobile app will alert homeowners in real time. In the event of a major leak, like a pipe burst, it will turn off water automatically with its built-in shut-off valve. Phyn measures micro changes in pressure – 240 times a second – to fingerprint the unique signatures of each fixture and catch plumbing issues ranging from the smallest pinhole leaks to faucet drips and frozen pipes. Advanced algorithms that analyze multidimensional sensor data from pressure, flow, and temperature sensors provide a high definition view of a home’s plumbing system that accurately determines whether something is a leak or normal water usage. (www.phyn.com)

RectorSeal’s TripleGuard is a smart, electronic water leak monitoring, detection and prevention system product line that guards against property damaging, infrastructure water source leaks in residential and commercial real estate. TripleGuard consists of two products that are maintenance-free and installable in less than an hour: 1) the TripleGuard Smart for Cloud-based monitored facility leak protection; and 2) the TripleGuard Active appliance leak shutoff, designed mainly for single source protection such as water heaters. The TripleGuard Smart system includes: actuator shutoff unit for the supply water line; two water leak detectors; a Cloud-connected HUB; and a smartphone app. Multiple kits can be observed simultaneously on a manifest monitoring system for Home Owner Associations, multi-family housing management departments and other overseers of large facilities with multiple units. (www.rectorseal.com/tripleguard)

*Chubb is the marketing name used to refer to subsidiaries of Chubb Limited providing insurance and related services.