6 Insights & Analytics Your Water Sensor Should Have
Water sensors detect water leakage, however, your water sensor should be more than a water leakage detector since this indicates that damage is already done.
The Flowie water sensor – which can easily be installed by strapping it on to your municipal water meter without tools – does more than just detecting leaks. It provides you with the following 6 insights and analytics directly to your tablet or smartphone using the Alert Labs app (Alert Labs being the manufacturer of Flowie water sensor):
1. Water Consumption
Unusual high-water consumption is a sign that you have a water leak at home. Using the Alert Labs app, you can view your water usage right down to the minute.
You can monitor your water consumption even if you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection at home as the Flowie water sensor works with a cellular network.
The Flowie water sensor knows your usual water consumption. When it detects an abnormality in the water consumption, the Flowie automatically alerts you via your mobile devices.
The Flowie provides peace of mind by alerting you when there is unusual water consumption. Through this alert, you can then check or ask someone to look for the source of the leak and fix it. These automatic alerts will help you catch water leaks while they’re still at an early stage, minimizing the possible damage.
The Flowie water sensor will also provide you with insights and analytics about the weather in your area. Weather is one of the biggest predictors of the likelihood of flooding or pipe freezing in your home.
In addition to the weather report, your Flowie water sensor also provides you with the actual temperature inside your home. Knowing the actual temperature inside your home is important as temperature is a good predictor of the likelihood of pipe freezing.
Many homeowners lower the heat when they leave the house. A lower temperature saves costs for space heating, but this could have negative repercussions; during cold spells, pipes could freeze or burst.
The Flowie’s insights and analytics will notify you of abnormal temperatures, for instance, extremely cold weather, allowing you to increase the temperature in the house to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
4. Pipe Freezing
When water freezes, it expands. When water in a pipe is exposed to extreme cold conditions, it freezes and causes the pipe to burst.
Homes are generally built with pipes located inside the building in order to protect the pipes from the freezing weather, however if there are holes in the building, during extremely cold weather the pipes could freeze or burst.
According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), pipe freezing is one of the biggest risks of property damage when the temperature drops. It added that a frozen pipe can cause a pipe to burst and result in over $5,000 in water damage. 37% of frozen pipe failures happen in a basement, IBHS said.
Flowies alert you when your pipe freezes. A pipe freezing alert will warn you that pipe bursting is possible, giving you time to take action to prevent further damage to your home.
Here are some measures to prevent frozen pipe damage:
Keep doors on cabinets under bathroom sinks and kitchen open during cold spells to allow warmer air to circulate around the pipes; and
During cold spells, open faucets to keep water flowing through the pipes. Ice may still form in the pipes during cold spells but an open faucet enables water to get out before the pressure builds up to the point where a pipe can burst. If no more water comes out, this means that ice is blocking the pipe. Keep the faucet open still as this step relieves pressure inside the pipe.
5. Power Outage
The Flowie water sensor gives you alert on your mobile devices whenever there’s a power outage. A power outage notification during cold spells is particularly important. During power outages, your important home appliances like a heater will no longer function. Space heating is particularly important to prevent pipe freezing.
A power outage notification allows you the oppportunity to take measures to prevent pipe bursting.
The Flowie will also give you humidity insights and analytics. Humidity refers to the dampness or water vapor in the air.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor relative humidity should be kept below 60% – ideally between 30% and 50%, if possible. High levels of humidity can be a source or a contributing factor for mold growth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) people have different reactions to molds. CDC said “exposure to molds can lead to symptoms such as stuffy nose, wheezing, and red or itchy eyes, or skin.”
“Some people, such as those with allergies to molds or with asthma, may have more intense reactions. Severe reactions may include fever and shortness of breath,” CDC added. “People with a weakened immune system, such as people receiving treatment for cancer, people who have had an organ or stem cell transplant, and people taking medicines that suppress the immune system, are more likely to get mold infections. Exposure to mold or dampness may also lead to development of asthma in some individuals.”
Unattended indoor flooding is also one cause of mold growth. The Flowie’s companion device, the Floodie sensor, alerts you whenever there is a small or big flooding in your home.
With your Flowie water sensor, Floodie sensor and the Alert Labs app, you’ll have access to insights and analytics regarding leaks, flooding, water consumption, weather, temperature, pipe freezing, power outage and humidity.
Insurance companies typically don’t cover flooding in areas where flooding is a regular occurrence (since insurance isn’t designed to cover regular occurrences), but rather to protect against random, unpredictable risks. Damage to a home caused by the sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances, according to IBC, is usually covered by all home insurance policies.
According to Northbridge Insurance, many of these water damage insurance claims are preventable through the use of the Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor. The insurance company offers homeowners annual savings of up to $150 on home insurance when they purchase an Alert Labs Home Solution package, consisting of a Flowie water sensor and a Floodie companion sensor.
What is Flowie? What is Floodie?
The Flowie is a water sensor that can be installed in less than 2 minutes without the need of tools or technical expertise; it just straps onto the municipal water meter.
The Floodie is a sensor that can be installed in flood-prone areas of the house such as toilets, sinks, under or near hot water heaters, laundry areas, window wells, dishwashers and garages.
The Flowie gives you real-time notifications regarding leaks, water consumption, pipe freezing warnings, weather, temperature, power outages and humidity. The Floodie gives you real-time notifications whenever your toilet, sink, nearby water heater, laundry area, window well, dishwasher or garage is flooded.
Both the Flowie and Floodie – made by Alert Labs, an IoT technology company based in Kitchener, Ontario – send notifications to your computer or mobile device in real-time whenever the above-mentioned incidents take place. Both sensors are fitted with a back-up battery and can work without a Wi-Fi connection. Each sensor uses a cellular connection which guarantees continuous operation even during a power outage.
“Our technology tracks and analyses water consumption and customers are notified of incidents that could point to a leak, such as continuously running water,” said Alert Labs CEO George Tsintzouras. “This makes us different from a lot of other solutions that focus on alerting customers after a flood has taken place. Our goal is to help homeowners avoid the expense and hassle of water damage in the first place with technology that’s easy to use.”
EPA added that more than 500 gallons per year can be wasted by a shower leaking at 10 drips per minute – this is the amount of water it takes to wash 60 loads of dishes in your dishwasher.
According to EPA, the most common types of leaks found in the home, such as worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and other leaking valves, can be easily corrected.
Here are some of the traditional ways to detect water leaks:
Observe water usage during colder months, including January or February.
If your household only consists of 4 family members, yet your water usage exceeds 12,000 gallons per month, this is a sign that your home has serious leaks.
Check water meter prior to and after a 2 hour period when water isn’t being used. If there’s a meter change, most likely your home has a water leak.
Put a drop of food coloring in the toilet tank. If any color shows up in the bowl after 10 minutes, then you have a leak. After this test, flush immediately to prevent staining the toilet tank.
Check pipe fittings and faucet gaskets for any sign of water leakage.
How Flowie Water Sensor Works
When the Flowie water sensor is strapped onto your existing municipal water meter, it measures how much water your home is using – it basically reads what your meter is reading.
The Flowie uses its own antenna and internal cellular device (similar to a smartphone) to communicate the information that it senses to Alert Labs’ servers.
If the sensor observes something out of the ordinary (perhaps a leak or water left running), a text message, email and in-app notification alerts will be sent to you right away. You can also set up “delegates”, such as a property manager or neighbor, to be notified of events.
You can monitor your home through the use of the Alert Labs app. Using your computer, tablet or smartphone, you can view data analytics that capture various statistics for your property, such as daily or monthly average water consumption and basement temperature vs. outdoor temperature.
This sensor also provides you with the following analytics and insights:
Relating to Water:
Usage, flow rates, costs, trends
Leaky toilets, running taps, water left on, burst pipes, etc.
Abnormalities identified and flagged for investigation
Flood alarms (start and stop)
Relating to Power:
Property power status
Power outage notifications
Power restored notifications
Relating to the Environment:
Drop in temperature warnings
Freezing pipe alerts
Here is How to Save Money with Flowie
According to EPA, homeowners can save up to 10% on their water bills by fixing easily corrected household water leaks.
With the Flowie water sensor and Floodie companion sensor, $600 can be saved annually from a single leaking toilet; $42,000 can be saved from a flooded basement (average repair cost); $150 per year can be saved for insurance coverage that offers up to $150 or a 10% discount for installing Alert Labs’ Flowie and Floodie sensors.
Have you ever received an unusually high water bill? If you have, you’re not alone.
Complaints of Unusually High Water Bills
The Toronto Office of the Ombudsman (PDF) receives ongoing complaints from residents about excessive water bills. A report from the Toronto Office of the Ombudsman showed that every year, the Toronto Water issues 1.5 million water bills and receives about 300 complaints about high water consumption or billing – typically to 20 times their normal usage. The Toronto Water is responsible for distributing quality drinking water to the whole City of Toronto and portions of the York Region.
The average household (defined by Census Canada as composed of three people) uses about 765 liters of water each day based on the City of Toronto documentation. If your family is consuming more than 765 liters of water each day, something may be wrong with your water system at home. For many homeowners, the discovery of defective water system is only known upon receiving an unusually high water bill.
To monitor your water consumption, the local government of Toronto recommends these two processes:
1. Log onto MyWaterToronto
MyWaterToronto is an online tool offered by the City of Toronto that allows customers to view their water use by day, week, month or year from their mobile device or computer.
2. Observe Your Meter Dial
Your water meter dial has a red triangle that spins whenever you consume water. If this red triangle still spins even if you don’t consume water, then something is wrong with your water system.
What if your whole family is out during the day and only comes home during late in the afternoon or evening? What if some water problem occurs during the day? What if your whole family is out on a week-long vacation? Is it really necessary to interrupt your work or holiday just to check online or physically check your meter dial whether your water consumption level is normal or not?
FLOWIE WATER SENSOR
The Flowie water sensor from Alert Labs monitors your water consumption in real time. It takes just under 2 minutes to install this water sensor and this can be installed by anyone. Simply strap the sensor around your existing municipal water meter.
Even if you’re not at home, this water sensor can tell you what’s going on with your household water situation. Here are 4 ways Flowie smart water sensor saves you money:
1. It requires no local internet or Wi-Fi.
The Flowie water sensor saves you money as it doesn’t need local internet or Wi-Fi. It connects directly to the cellular network, sending you real time alerts about any unusual water activities right to your phone via SMS, email and in-app notifications. This water sensor also allows you to track water consumption and your water savings conveniently from your phone, tablet or computer.
2. It monitors water leaks.
Water leaks drain your savings. Even the very small hole can cost you money. The Flowie water sensor detects water leaks and notifies you in real time when this happens. This real-time notification enables you to remedy the situation like engaging the service of a plumber as soon as possible to stop the water leak, avoiding further damage to the pipes and saving you money.
A hole like this , according to the local government of Toronto, wastes 170 gallons in 24 hours, costing you $2.59 each day or $310.70 in 120 days.
A hole like this wastes 970 gallons in 24 hours, costing you $14.83 each day or
$1,779.49 in 120 days.
A hole like this wastes 3,600 gallons in 24 hours, costing you $54.71 each day or $6,565.14 in 120 days.
Possible sources of leaks include toilets, faucets and sprinkler system.
3. It works with “Floodie” – a flooding sensor.
Floodie is a sensor that detects flooding. It automatically connects to your Flowie water sensor and sends you instant flood alerts to your phone. It’ll also let you know when the flood ends.
This waterproof flood sensor is simply placed in an upright position in places that are most likely to be flooded like in your basement, near sinks, toilets, dishwashers, clothes washers, fridges, water dispensers, water heaters and water softeners.
Flooding can be caused by the sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances; overland flood which happens when bodies of water like rivers, dams overflow onto dry land; water entering through sudden openings caused by wind or hail and overburden sewers.
Based on the data from Aviva Canada Inc. , nearly 40% of all home insurance claims are the result of water damage. Water damage as a result of flooding isn’t only costly; it’s also unsanitary. For instance, a flood of sewage into your basement is both costly to repair and dangerous to your health.
4. It prevents mould growth.
The Flowie water sensor prevents the costly impact of mould growth. Mould refers to any fungus that grows as a result of water leaks, flooding or high humidity.
“People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions,” the CDC said. “Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold.”
Health Canada (PDF) considers indoor mould growth as a “significant” health hazard. The health department said: “Immediate action is important. Mould will begin to grow within 48 hours. If there is visible mould, it needs to be removed.”
Mould removal is a costly process. Any damp or wet surfaces in your home must be dried within 24 to 48 hours in order to avoid mould growth. Time, therefore, is crucial. Flowie water sensor allows you to take immediate action against mould growth. In addition to water leaks notification, it also gives you reports about basement temperature and humidity.
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