by Charles Hadsell - CEO of ePropertyCare
Leaks, burst pipes and running toilets are a huge problem for buildings of all sizes, ranging from single-family homes to 1000-unit apartment buildings. Each year non-weather water damage costs Building Owners and Insurers $2B in insurance claims. Water leaks waste about 1 trillion gallons of water annually. Much of this damage and wasted water is avoidable with the newest water protection solutions from ePropertyCare. Even better, these solutions can pay for themselves through credits that insurance carriers are starting to provide when electronic water solutions are in place. Based on actual customer evidence we’re seeing a <1.5 year return on investment for the average deployment; in some cases the insurance savings allows an immediate return on investment.
Our Hardware Solution:
ePropertyCare’s new water protection solution, the ADC-SWM150 (figure 1), can be used in single-family residential as well as large
multi-unit buildings. The solution contains an electronic shut off valve, a flow meter and leak detector. It is installed along the main line of a smaller building or downstream on the plumbing tree of a larger building to an individual unit or group of units, and will monitor water flow rates and be able to react to water events through programmable alert levels.
The system can be programmed to trigger from water sensor activation (see figure 2) or from programmable high / medium / low flow rates. For example, if the water meter sees 8 gallons / min for 10mins, that would indicate a burst pipe in the average building. If the meter sees 2 gallons / min for 60mins, that would indicate a running toilet. If the valve sees a small water flow for 3hrs, that would indicate a smaller leak in the plumbing system. Each building’s water profile will be different but the system can be adjusted to adapt.
One unique aspect about the solution is that it connects to a cellular hub (figure 3), giving buildings without WiFi the ability to remotely control the water valve and monitor water sensor status and water consumption. This is a key differentiator because WiFi typically goes out when power losses occur (such as during a storm), which is precisely when you need to have awareness and control of your property. Only cellular can provide this level of reliability.
Our Software Solution:
The software runs through the alarm.com cloud platform, allowing full control of the solution via the mobile App or website. The platform gives control of the valve, live views of the water sensor status and temperature, and the ability to view water consumption. Because the platform is connected via cellular you can receive text alerts, email or push notification upon a water event even if no WiFi internet exists in the building. Enhancements are being made to the platform to detect more advanced events such as periodically running toilets - these are harder to detect, but our solution has the resolution and intelligence to flag these events.
Benefits of Cellular vs WiFi:
Many existing solutions on the market require WiFi. This is a big limitation because rental buildings generally do not have common area WiFi - mostly because it is cost-prohibitive.
Here are a few additional benefits of cellular over WiFi:
- Cellular is always connected - even during power outages. Our hub operates on battery for 24hrs and cell networks also have battery backup - so property is online when it is most vulnerable
- Cellular is more secure than WiFi
- Cellular is easier to deploy and maintain. Our hub is essentially a network in a box and requires no provisioning or IT support to get online
Real Insurance Savings:
We’ve seen several examples of landlords and building owners generating substantial insurance savings - in some cases upwards of 15% - from having this water solution in place. Here’s why: from a recent study of over 2,000 properties with electronic water valve solutions in place versus a control group over a 1-year period LexisNexis saw:
- A 96% reduction in the number of water leak claims
- A 72% reduction in the severity of claims. So the damage was far less for properties with water protection in place than nothing in place
This is compelling real-world data and shows why insurance companies are willing to provide credits to give a strong incentive for usage of these solutions. Here are a few case studies:
Case Study #1:
$2,000 in annual savings for a 30-unit building
- - Valve installed on 1 ½” water main feeding 30-units
- - Within 3 weeks of being installed, valve detected a running toilet
- - Hardware + Installation: $1,500
- - Monthly: $42 for a 30-unit building
- - $2,000 annually ($15k -> $13k)
- - Pays for itself immediately
Case Study #2:
$7,300 in annual savings for a 2-building commercial policy
- - Complex had 2 water claims within 2 years
- - 2” water main so needed to install 6 valves downstream from water main
- - Hardware + Installation: $9,000
- - Monthly: $63 for 15-units across 2 buildings
- - $7,300 annually ($20k -> $12.7k)
- - Pays for itself in <1.5 years
Case Study #3:
$7,500 in annual savings for a 10-unit landlord policy
- - Valves installed in 10 x 3-unit rental buildings
- - Hardware + Installation: ~$10,000
- - Monthly: $150/mon for 10 x 3-unit buildings
- - $7,500 annually ($15k -> $13k)
- - Pays for itself in 1.5 years
Overall this water protection solution from ePropertyCare solves some major challenges for landlords and building owners while offering significant benefits over existing solutions on the market today. The cost of solution deployment is very affordable and generally offers a return on investment in <1.5 years for the average building - if you count peace-of-mind and prevention, the return is much greater. If you would like to explore this for your building please visit www.epropertycare.com/smartwater to book a free consultation and learn more.
 *LexisNexis: “Preventing Water Claims: Understanding the Value of Smart Home Technology” May 2020