Instruction, Safety

What Do I Need to Know About a Leak Detection System?

For those of you who have experienced a flood or simply want to reduce your building risk, we have put together a list of commonly asked questions about a leak detection system.

How does a leak detection system work? How do we recommend setting up a leak detection system, or as we call it “Flood Mitigation System”?

Step 1: (How many Gateways do I need?)  

Based on the size of your property, we identify how many gateways are going to be required to transmit and receive messages to and from the deployed solutions/sensors and where they should be installed. 

This is like the foundation of your home; you always want to make sure it’s done right from the start.

Step 2: (How do I connect the Gateways to the Cloud?) 

Once we have identified the quantity of gateways required, these gateways are then equipped with LTE SIM cards before they are shipped so that the data that the gateways gather can make it to the LoRa Network server in the cloud and then to our Monitoring Station/ Dashboard. 

You can think of this step as the SIM card you put in your cell phone, without a SIM card you won’t get very far.

Step 3: (Where do I install the Gateways in the building?) 

You can then install the LoRa gateways in your property based on our recommended strategic locations identified in Step 1. These locations are important as they ensure that the sensors that are going to be set up in Step 4 transmit and receive data consistently to and from the gateway. We do our best to recommend placements of these gateways in areas where they are not visible to everyone and where a power source is accessible. 

You always want to place the gateways close to a power source and hidden from the public’s eyes. It is also important that the gateways are spaced far from one another to ensure the building has full coverage.

Step 4: (Where should I put sensors) 

You can then install our leak detection system wireless sensors in key strategic areas as per the layout and design agreed upon between you (the client) and us (Connected Sensors). If you don’t know where you want to install them, you can always wait until install day.  Our platform allows for flexibility for when you decide “in the moment” where those sensors should be placed. 

This step always requires either access to drawings, building walkthroughs or someone that knows the building so that the sensors are strategically placed in high-risk areas. 

Step 5: (What sensors do I need? How many do I need and where should I put them? – Be Strategic!) 

5.1 – We have different ways of executing on your vision depending on your area of focus. For example, a BASE building solution will be structured differently than an all-encompassing in-unit and BASE building solution. At the end of the day, it boils down to
being strategic with our water sensors as to where the highest risk of leaks are in your building. For example the areas susceptible to high risk are: Risers, Mechanical areas, Water Closets, Penthouses below Mechanical Penthouse, Fire Suppression System, Fan Coil Units (FCU), Elevator pits, Washing Machine and the list goes on. 

5.2 – In conjunction with 5.1 we can also look at shut off valve options.  Our actuator that sits on top of an electric valve or an electric third-party actuator can operate both via battery or with a 5V adapter plugged into a 120 VAC. We always recommend plugging in the actuator to limit the maintenance/ battery replacements. As for the design and layout of where to shut off the water, there is also a long list of options. Here are a few options/examples: 1. In-unit shutoff is a great option for new or newer buildings as you limit tenant disruption in the event of a flood. 2. Riser shutoff is another great option for base building applications but this will disrupt many tenants/condominium owners in the event that a leak is detected and the water is turned off. 3. As a third option, which we often see in the retro-fit market where the existing infrastructure is getting old, we look for feedback from the facility manager or property manager to identify high risk areas and usually propose shut offs for the FCU’s and the hot water risers, more importantly the shower hot water riser.

5.3 – Finally, the last product we recommend including as part of your solution is what we consider as the “best bang for your buck”, our meter reader. This product provides water consumption data, as it learns the patterns of your water consumption and can help identify major floods. Our meter reader also helps identify slow leaks that go undetected such as toilet leaks, faucet leaks and many other fixtures and building infrastructures as it relates to water waste. The first step here is to identify what kind of check meter you have. Most buildings have what is called a pulse meter which is perfect for our agnostic pulse meter reader product. In the event that you have an ultrasonic meter, please send us a picture of your meter and we will have a custom ultrasonic meter reader built just for you. You may also have a dual head pulse meter reader in which case two of our meter readers can be installed to support you best. 

The above 3 elements are amongst the most controversial in the industry. Many individuals and companies believe that shutoffs are critical to prevent floods and reduce the size of a flood. If this is your case, we will be happy to help you execute on your vision however, it is our opinion that early flood detection generated by our products and software identified 5.1 and 5.3 far exceed the value for money of shut off valves. 

Step 5: (How can I install this myself?)

With the exception of the shut off valves, all other products offered by Connected Sensors do not require a licensed plumber or subject matter expert. We have a few options to help you install our solutions.

  1. You can start by reading our installation manual that is included in the box with each of our products.

  2. You can review our installation videos which goes into detail as to how you can install our product and solution.

  3. If you plan on installing our solutions in multiple buildings, we can prepare a “train the trainer” session for your facility manager.

  4. Finally, as a last resort, we also have the ability to connect you with one of our virtual technicians who will use a platform called ICwhatUC to walk you through the installation.

As for the shut off valve, all our products come with an installation manual so that the plumber is able to activate the actuator that sits on top of the valve.

All of our products come with a unique QR Code that you will use in conjunction with our app to activate the devices onto our dashboard as you start deploying the solution. In addition, depending on what adapter you’ve connected to our sensor the device will self assess if its purpose is to actuate a valve, detect water or read a meter. All of which will have pre-determined settings on our dashboard.

We’ve spent countless hours ensuring the simplicity of the installation process, so that we can help clients such as yourself install our solutions all across North America. If for whatever reason you are still having difficulty installing our solution, our support team will be at your disposal to help solve your problems. 

Step 6: (How will I know when there is a leak and who will be notified)

Our leak detection system solutions come with a dashboard, a mobile application and/or an automated robot that will send you a text message in the event there is a warning you should be made aware of. The communication can be relayed to many individuals simultaneously which we recommend for backup purposes. 

If you happen to be a client who wants the solution to be monitored by a third-party, we are happy to relay our warnings to a monitoring station of your choice.

At Connected Sensors, we understand that we cannot be everything to every client. With that in mind, we deliberately wrote this article using generic terminology such as sensor, meter reader and gateway because our vision is that by educating individuals to understand how these systems work, we can help create a more sustainable future for us all. Fortunately, we found out early from our clients the reason why they were hesitant to initially invest in our products, it was because they did not understand how the technology worked. We hope through this article and subsequent articles that we were able to provide you with content and knowledge surrounding leak detection systems and how they work. 
Your Connected Sensors Team