Water alarm systems, Part 2

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The StreamLabs system offers more options for plumbers.

By Leah Den Hartogh

In April, Plumbing & HVAC looked at water alarm and shut-off systems for homes and businesses. These devices offer a business opportunity for plumbing contractors who can help their customers protect their homes and buildings from flood damage. Since April, a number of other devices have come to our attention.

Reliance Worldwide Corporation, Woodbridge, Ont., Sinopé Technologies, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and Moen, Oakville, Ont., partnered with Flo Technologies, Culver City, Calif., offer their own versions of a water alarm and shut-off system. As Rick Brindamour, product manager of valves and accessories for Taco Home Comfort, Cranston, Rhode Island, said in our previous segment of this discussion, “new products are constantly being added to this industry.”

These products allow homeowners to protect their homes from the smallest leaks to large, disastrous floods.

Low-cost solution

As part of the StreamLabs line by Reliance Worldwide Corp., there are two products that plumbers can sell to their customers – the StreamLabs Monitor and StreamLabs Control. The StreamLabs Monitor offers a less expensive solution. It provides easy installation, taking about five minutes to install without tools or pipe cutting.

Most systems offer a variety of alert settings. A combo of texts, emails, phone calls, and push notifications are the most popular. (Push notifications are basically pop-ups that appear on the screen of the user’s smartphone or computer. They must opt-in on the app to allow this.) StreamLabs systems use a free app which monitors the entire house. The flow detection system will detect leaks as low as 0.25 GPM.

The StreamLabs Control system offers a more thorough option for plumbers. It contains all the features of the Monitor system plus some added bonuses. It must be installed where the water line enters the house. This allows homeowners to remotely shut off the water coming into the home when a leak is detected. It can also provide water temperature freeze alerts when things just get a tad bit too chilly. It also features pressure and humidity alerts.

The homeowner can monitor the entire system at a glance on a smartphone.

The minimum leak detection level for this product is 0.1 GPM. The StreamLabs Control system features patented ultrasonic technology for water monitoring, smart leak detection, and automatic shut-off leaks. Automatic monthly valve checks ensure proper operation.

Stand-alone system

While at the 2019 MCEE trade show in Montreal April 24-25 our team met with Sinopé Technologies, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. They recently launched the Sedna – a smart water leak protection system that works as a stand-alone, without requiring a central management system, and it can withstand power and internet loss.

The Sinopé Sedna system can work as a standalone system.

When one of these systems detects water on the floor, the main valve shuts off the main water supply with an alert sent by e-mail and text message. The unit also warns the home’s occupants of frost risks and low batteries.

The hub is built into the valve rather than being separate. Moreover, the valve operates using two communication protocols – Wi-Fi and Zigbee 3.0. This allows the system to integrate with an existing smart home system, and for the valve and detectors to work even without an internet connection.

Artificial intelligence

The Flo by Moen system from Moen Canada, Oakville, Ont., also allows the homeowner to receive alerts and control their water system from a smartphone.

It calculates water pressure, flow rate and temperature within the consumer’s supply system by using artificial intelligence (AI) to differentiate normal water use and abnormal use.

“By making water smarter through innovation, we’re giving consumers the power to be proactive in protecting themselves from costly water damage, while offering an advanced solution for water conservation in the home,” said Garry Scott, vice president of marketing and e-commerce for Moen Canada.

The device is installed at the supply line into the home and connected by Wi-Fi. Using Flo Technologies’ MicroLeak technology, the system can monitor and detect pipe leaks in the water supply system as small as a single drop of water per minute. It will also provide warnings if the water in the supply system is close to freezing to avoid burst pipes.

The Flo by Moen system uses artificial intelligence to determine what is normal in the home and what is not.

Flo by Moen also features the company’s FloSense technology, a smart learning system that applies algorithms to learn how the home uses water and alerts the homeowner, if and when, it senses abnormalities. If the homeowner doesn’t respond to the alerts, the system can be set up to automatically shut off the water supply.

The app can send alerts through push notifications, email, text or phone call. The water supply can also be shut off right from the app. The system is also compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and IFTTT, an app that helps other apps and devices to work smoothly together.

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