Connected plumbing: WaterCop Pro
Not only does flooding destroy belongings but it can have catastrophic effects on the structural integrity of a home. The WaterCop Pro stops a leak becoming a flood. Joe Young reports.
Systems integrators have access to some very obvious solutions for disasters like fire with smoke alarms, burglary with security systems and gas leaks with carbon monoxide detectors, but how can installers protect homes from mould causing, carpet ravaging, wall paper staining and property destroying flooding?
WaterCop Pro – that’s how.
Manufactured by DynaQuip, WaterCop Pro is a system that can detect a water leak in appliances such as sinks and dishwashers, or internal water pipes, then shut off the main valve to stop a leak turning into a flood.
These battery-powered flood sensors are installed onto washing machines, fridges, sinks and the like to monitor accumulating moisture and identify water leaks. When a leak or moisture build up is detected, a sensor will send a signal via RF to the WaterCop Pro control panel, instructing it to close the brass valve, shutting off the water supply to the home.
The valve will remain closed until it is reset manually or via the control panel.
DynaQuip director of sales Ken Fox says the system has been thoroughly tested and can be expected to last for around 20 years.
“The components have reliability similar to what you would find in a jet-liner. An airplane switch can’t just work 99% of the time, it has to work every time,” Ken says.
“It used to be the connections to appliances that would leak but, with better fitted and built connectors it’s now generally in the appliances themselves where a leak develops.”
When a sensor is activated, the control panel sounds an audible alarm and a message is displayed on an LCD display, indicating which sensor has been set off. It has a low battery indicator as well as open/closed status of the brass water supply valve. An internal mounting bracket enables easy cable management and a clean aesthetic mount to a wall.
While the valve must be installed by a licensed plumber in the main water line, ideally just downstream from the main shut-off valve for the home, one of the most interesting features of WaterCop Pro is that it can be integrated into a home automation system. WaterCop Pro systems are equipped with auxiliary input/output contacts that can be wired into a home automation system with low voltage wiring. Once connected, home owners can control WaterCop Pro from their home automation system as well as receive alerts from WaterCop Pro sensors sent wirelessly straight to their control system.
WaterCop Pro’s wireless signal extends approximately 45m by line of sight and if needed a wireless repeater can be installed.
With flooding potentially causing catastrophic effects in high rise developments the WaterCop Pro has become especially sought-after for these types of buildings.
“There are around 50 high-rises in the US that have the system installed and the demand is growing exponentially,” Ken says.
Not only is water damage potentially worse in high-rises because it can leak through multiple floors but there are often uninhabited apartments or rooms vacant for long periods of time, so a small leak could go unnoticed for extended periods causing increasing levels of mould or other serious damage.
For that reason, US insurance companies often recommend clients use WaterCop Pro for holiday homes or apartments that are left unattended for long periods.
Ken says he has had customers want to hug him when the WaterCop Pro has saved their home from being destroyed.
WaterCop products are currently not available in Australia or New Zealand but Ken says DynaQuip is very interested in selling to distributors in the area as the system can easily be adapted for Australian and New Zealand Standards.