The pros and cons of smart leak detection systems

Sept. 17, 2014

BIRMINGHAM — In Water Technology’s September issue, Editorial Director Rich DiPaolo writes about how the latest equipment and software technologies can boost business and save users’ money, time and frustration.

BIRMINGHAM — In Water Technology’s September feature, “Smart systems to advance your business,” Editorial Director Rich DiPaolo writes about how new software technologies and equipment can enhance profitability and save customers money, time and frustration.

In the article, Don Weinstein, business owner of Tec Innovators Water Control Products LLC, explains the pros and cons of some common smart leak detection systems available:

  • Audio alarm only
    • Pros: Inexpensive; can be installed at any water supplied device; no need for AC outlet; and battery-powered with low battery warning.
    • Cons: Does not shutoff any supply and must be home to mitigate leak.
  • Reactive (will shut off the municipal water supply using a shutoff valve)
    • Pros: Moderate expense; sensors are usually wireless; multiple sensors available; cell phone text capability; and I/O for house alarm options.
    • Cons: Valve must be installed and exercised every six months due to sediment corrosion; 120 VAC outlet plug needed to power the system; some wireless systems have limited signal range.
  • Reactive (will monitor average water use and when exceeding a set limit the system will shut off the supply with a valve)
    • Pros: No sensors needed; battery backup; and I/O for house alarm option.
    • Cons: Expensive; valve must be installed and exercised every six months due to sediment corrosion; and 120 VAC outlet plug needed.
  • Reactive (will shutoff the well water supply by switching the pump power off)
    • Pros: Moderately priced; designed for well water; no valves or plumbing; no external power 120 VAC needed; system is powered from the well pump; can be used for either pressure switch controlled systems or constant pressure systems; and I/O for house alarm option.
    • Cons: Sensors are wired. 

“If using a shutoff valve type system on a well pump system, you will not be completely protected from catastrophic flooding or well pump burnout,” adds Weinstein. “Either condition can happen because of the placement of the shutoff valve. If the shutoff is installed between the pressure switch and the well pump, the pump will continuously run and build pressure without shutting off.”

If the valve is installed after the pressure switch, continues Weinstein, and the well system components develop a leak, the pump will still run causing a flood.

You can find the entire feature on smart systems here.

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