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The modern home bristles with safety and home protection devices and technology.  Smoke Detectors, Carbon Monoxide detectors, burglary alarms, and electrical circuit breakers just to name a few. But the most prevalent property insurance claim is damage caused by a failure of civilization’s greatest convenience, indoor plumbing.

A Boston company, Water Hero, has launched a nifty and inexpensive Do-It-Yourself installed product called Water Hero designed to take on the problems of leaks, frozen pipes, and pipe bursts that could ruin your home and put a dent in your year. The wifi connected and Smart Phone enabled Water Hero exactly measures water flow at your water meter, and automatically closes your manual main water valve when a leak is detected, and then Alerts you, wherever you are in the world.  The Makers claim that Water Hero also includes features making it the most powerful home water conservation tool available.

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Water damage from plumbing leaks and pipe bursts is often horrific.  It can result in catastrophic home damage, long lasting mold infestation, loss of personal property, and displacement of residents, etc, etc.   The average insurance claim is greater than $10,000, but claims above $40,000 are far from rare.   There are several leak detection systems on the market, but they are extremely expensive, offer few features and because they are installed invasively in your water pipes, they require professional installation.

The maker of Water Hero completely rethought the problem of plumbing failure from the ground up to create a solution that anyone can afford, and as importantly, anyone can install, and which integrates WiFi connectivity to allow programming, monitoring and controlling from a Smart Phone App or Browser.  A battery backup provides for continuity of protection even when everything else you depend upon has stopped functioning.

The makers of Water Hero were able to keep the cost at a fraction of competitors by using hardware homeowners already have.

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The Water Hero sensor is strapped to the existing home water meter, and calculates water usage by detecting the magnetic pulses produced by the meter’s spinning magnetic rotor.  Continuous flow, excessive flow, or flow when the homeowner is away, could trigger Water Hero to react. The Water Hero closure motor is clamped over the existing manual shut-off valve.  If the sensor detects a leak, the closure motor turns the valve to stop the flow.

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The installation is simple, requiring just the tightening of straps, and clamp screws that anyone could do in a few minutes.  Since there are no pipes to cut, there are no plumbers involved. Plug it in, download the App, and enter User Preferences.   Every home and family is different, and the App takes that into account.

Though developed to detect plumbing failure, the Makers claim that Water Hero has accidentally became one of the most powerful tools of water conservation on the market, providing real time water usage, comparing day to day, week to week, and month to month usage, Water Bill tracking to eliminate billing surprises, and payback calculations for investments in more efficient water use appliances.  These features were all secondary benefits of the sensors and diagnostics developed for leak detection.

The first two Water Hero test homes discovered:

A 1.6 gallon Kohler toilet that actually uses 2.8 Gallons at a cost of $54 of water per year. A toilet with a bad flapper valve that was leaking 50 gallons per day at a cost of $273 per year. A daughter that was taking 25 minute showers. A Bosch dishwasher that was living up to claims, using only 3 gallons per load.

Water Hero will be available for $199 (from 1/5th to 1/15th the cost of competitors) when released, but the Makers expect most home owners to break even in less than a 1 year.  Though if there’s a leak breakeven is a few minutes.  And for a greater homeowner benefit, the Makers will be working with insurance companies to apply discounts for homes protected by Water Hero.

Water Hero is a winner of the 2014 Mass CEC DataJam and a finalist of the 2014 Boston Cleantech Hackathon. The makers are now raising funds through a Kickstarter Campaign running through Christmas Eve.

The perfect gift for the man or woman who has everything, and doesn’t want it all destroyed in a catastrophic pipe burst.