The UK smart home market continues to boom, with Statista predicting device adoption will rise from 41.6% of UK households in 2021 to 85.7% by 2025. Yet one person who is ahead of the curve is Chris Marshall, who enjoys using the latest smart devices to increase convenience and efficiency of their large, detached, five-bed property in rural Essex. With a busy working life as well as an active leisure lifestyle, such smart controls are required to ensure their home is safe and secure, and utilities such as heating and plumbing are accounted for.
Smart Home gets Smarter with Ultrasonic Leak Detection
More homeowners than ever are looking to integrate smart devices into their property, improving comfort, convenience and security for everyone living in the home. For a smart tech-savvy homeowner in Essex, a smart leak detection system perfectly suited their family’s lifestyle and ensured risks of leaks and burst pipes were negated whether they were in the house or not.
With three bathrooms, a spacious kitchen, sizable utility room and plenty of pipework throughout the property, there are a number of different water outlets that come from the cold water supply to the house. The extensive pipe network therefore raises the risk of leaking or burst pipes, which could have a hugely damaging effect on the family home. Particularly as the family begins to make more trips out following the removal of lockdown rules, being fully in control of their home’s water supply in emergency situations has become a bigger priority.
For this reason, the homeowner enlisted the help of the plumbing installer James Lawrence, owner of Plumberparts Ltd., to select and fit a suitable smart leak detection system for their property. Assessing Chris’ needs, James opted for the RE.GUARD ultrasonic leak detection unit.
James said: “With the size of the home and the quantity of water outlets, it was important for my customer to have the most advanced leak detection unit available that would be able to cover the entire property. The ultrasonic technology used in the RE.GUARD was ideal for this application as, once installed, the device uses sensors and monitors the flow rate through the valve to detect leaks anywhere in the house.
"If a large leak is detected, the valve shuts off the water supply impressively quickly, and for smaller incidents, a notification will be sent to the homeowner’s mobile for them to investigate or call in a specialist. This phone-based control is important, especially for householders who get out and about often, as issues can be resolved quickly, from anywhere.”
For many plumbing installers, the growth in smart controls poses a small concern when it comes to the correct installation and commissioning of systems. Internet connectivity and wiring problems related to some smart device fittings can make delivering a requested system more difficult and time-consuming.
Helping to simplify the integration of the device into a home, the RE.GUARD has been designed with ease=of-installation in mind. Before fitting, the unit and its sensor were connected to the REHAU Hub, connecting the device to the internet and allowing app functionality. Using converters with polyurethane sealant to allow the one-inch connections to be compatible with the rest of the pipework, the unit was installed and sealed effectively.
After this, the simple installation wizard on the device’s dedicated smart phone app guided the commissioning process and allowed for the configuration to take place. From here James was able to show the customer how to use the RE.GUARD’s features, configure the automatic leak checks and familiarise themselves with its out-of-home functions available.
James said: “The unit is so simple to install that, if you really wanted, you could fix it in place and plug it in with default settings, and it would be all ready to go with a touchscreen interface for control. However, connecting the device to the hub and configuring with the app is so easy, and the functionality that can be gained with this is impressive.”
A happy home
By integrating the RE.GUARD in this property, the homeowner has peace of mind that any size leak will be accounted for across the whole house. Using the app, they can control the way the unit detects leaks, receive notifications and cut the water supply to the house from anywhere in the world.
One sensor was placed by the home’s water tank, ensuring that any serious leaks into the property from the mains supply or unvented heating system nearby would be detected as well. With the system, the homeowner also has the option of integrating subsequent sensors in areas such as the utility room and next to white goods, or in parts of the house where there is expensive flooring and furnishings.
Chris, said: “Given the size of our house and how we as a family use it, it is great to have a high level of control and awareness over the water supply to the house from anywhere in the world. As we weren’t able to locate our mains shut off previously, the addition of the RE.GUARD means we can make sure we have definitely turned the supply off and any major leaks will be automatically taken care of.
“The option to move and add more sensors as we change and upgrade the rest of the house is also a great bonus, knowing our possessions and property will be protected from water damage. Honestly, it’s just a huge load off my mind, knowing we have this in place when we’re out of the house.”
James says: “The RE.GUARD is such a simple device that can do so many functions to prevent water damage and give homeowners easy control over their water supply. Even down to allowing a certain amount of water to be used per day – for example when a family is on holiday and someone is coming to water the garden – the device is able to do so much. I would definitely recommend this to installers looking for an easy-to-install and configure leak detection system for their customers.”