Water Hero protects your home against burst pipes, slow leaks, and long showers.
As we enter the cold days of winter, one of the very real threats to many homes is that of the water pipes freezing, which can burst, and if there's anything worse than dealing with a burst water pipe in your house, it's having to deal with a water pipe in your house that bursts while you're not there, which then floods your home and causes major water damage.
But if there was a device in place for monitoring the plumbing to detect leaks and breaks, both big and small, and which could automatically shut off the water main in the event of a burst pipe, it could end up saving homeowners a fair bit of money and work. That's what Water Hero is designed to do, and because the platform works with the existing water meter and plumbing, it doesn't require a plumber to install or a technician to get set up,
Water Hero consists of two modules, the flow sensor that straps onto the water meter, and the shutoff motor, which is installed over the manual water shutoff valve (ball valves only). The devices connect wirelessly to each other and to a cloud-based system that can be accessed via an accompanying app or a web browser.
The flow sensor detects the magnetic pulses produced in the meter, each of which represents a fixed amount of water, monitoring the flow of water to detect both major leaks (burst pipes) and slow leaks (faulty toilet seal), with certain conditions triggering a text alert and/or automatically cutting off the water with the shutoff motor. Water Hero also includes temperature and humidity sensors, which are two additional ways to monitor the conditions near the meter.
Originally developed as a way to add water protection to an older home with a history of freezing and bursting pipes, Water Hero is also turning out to be a potential water conservation tool, allowing for real-time water usage monitoring, analytics for comparing water usage over time (day-to-day, month-to-month), checking the actual water usage of appliances (vs. their ratings). and the ability to set and monitor water usage goals. The Water Hero app allows users to see usage data and to program their leak detection preferences (trigger settings) from their smartphone, as well as to remotely control the shutoff valve.
According to Alex Cheimets, Water Hero's Chief Product Officer, the team has used it to learn some interesting things about home water usage, such as the fact that one low-flow toilet model rated for 1.6 gal per flush actually uses 2.8 gal, and that a leaky toilet flapper can waste 50 gallons a day. When you consider that the average US home is said to leak 10,000 gallons per year (adding up to about a trillion gallons per year), and that water damage from burst pipes costs up to $6 billion per year in the US, then the $199 price tag on the Water Hero doesn't seem like too high a price to pay for getting a handle on home water usage.
Water Hero only works in homes with inside municipal water meters (though an outside meter solution is said to be in the works), a ball shutoff valve (operated with a lever, not a wheel-type gate valve), WiFi, and access to power nearby. The product's design and manufacturing plan has been vetted by Dragon Innovation, and the team at Water Hero is now running a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money for production costs. Backers at the $149 and up levels will receive a full Water Hero package, including the Flow Sensor and the Shutoff Motor, as their perk.