Plumbing safety/protection?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by Vitaliy, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. Vitaliy

    Vitaliy New Member

    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Hi Everyone,

    If say, my main shutoff valve could be remotely controlled what would
    be better/safer scenario for the plumbing system:
    - to keep plumbing system under pressure all the time and close main
    shutoff valve in case when emergency condition is detected?
    In this scenario some problem/leak must happen before safety mechanism
    will be engaged.
    - to keep main shutoff valve closed all the time and turned it on when
    probability for water consumption is high? Even in this case system will
    remain under pressure unless it is leaking somewhere.

    What is your professional opinion?

    Thank you,

    - Vitaliy
  2. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    Turning the main off all the time is probably not a good idea; I believe it would lead to air in the system and general inconvenience. Remember also that if the main pressure is turned off, safety and prudence would demand that gas or electric to water heater also be turned off.

    There is a system available , I think it is called Water Cop , that monitors flow in the system , and by "learning" your usage, will shut off the main if it detects an unusually large flow, or flow for too long a time.

    I understand your thinking, and actually have done some research on systems. BUT, keep in mind that something like 100 million buildings have water on all the time, and catastrophic failures are rather rare. The best peace of mind should come from having all work done by trained, licensed professionals.
  3. Vitaliy

    Vitaliy New Member

    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    (Sorry for the relatively long post).

    Hi Jimbo,

    I have this “WaterCop†already installed! And guess what? After about six
    months after it was installed it prevented what otherwise could be a BIG
    disaster – T&P valve on water heater suddenly decided to open without
    any reason (safety device itself failed and created a disaster!).
    Unfortunately I don’t have any drain next to water heater but thanks to
    “WaterCop†I found only about half a gallon of water on the concrete floor.

    OK, “WaterCop†does not monitor flow and does not have any “learningâ€
    ability. It has manual ON/OFF control buttons, interface (ON/OFF control
    and valve status) to the external system and you can install as many as
    you want remote RF sensors. When sensor detects water it sends “Main
    Shutoff†command to the “WaterCopâ€. You have to turn it back on manually.
    I have bunch of this “sensors†installed in all strategic places. So far only
    one next to the water heater did its job. Unfortunately this way entire
    plumbing system cannot be protected.
    I am thinking about to add flow monitoring capability to my system. Then I
    can ether check for too long continues unexpected (question: what would
    be too long?) water flow before sending “Main Shutoff†command
    to “WaterCop†(but in case of real problem relatively big damage already
    could be done) or to keep main supply off all the time and turned it on when
    water usage is expected. This could be based on day time and/or on
    occupancy/motion sensors, etc. I can make it very convenient after couple
    tuning iterations.

    Why turning off main would lead to air in a system?
    As an experiment I already turned off main few times over night (only once
    my wife said me a BIG thank you for this science) and found no pressure
    drop at morning. So, looks like my plumbing system is in a good shape
    (yes, no?).
    I have an indirect water heater so, I am all set in this area unless I must
    to turn off boiler if main water supply is turned off?

    - Vitaliy
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
  5. Vitaliy

    Vitaliy New Member

    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    Hi Jimbo,

    After few hours of research I found similar system:
    http://www.h2obreaker.com/
    Logic/algorithm, convenience of use and definitely price for this one
    seems to be better but “Flologic†has much better plumbing hardware.

    Did anybody install/use one of these systems?

    - Vitaliy
  6. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

    Messages:
    8,997
    Location:
    San Diego
    The reason I have not installed on of these is I live in a condo, so the shut off is outside, and power is not available. FloLogig has a battery backup, but not a fully battery operated unit.
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