The must-have features of commercial-grade water leak detection systems

Powerful leak prevention technologies have matured over the last few years, and water management and leak detection systems are becoming a must-have in any facility or construction site. Developers, construction companies, facilities managers, and innovation experts must therefore educate themselves on commercial leak detection solutions and choose wisely.  But understanding the features that make a system excellent and comparing the various solutions available on the market can be complex. That’s why our WINT water experts and engineers have made a list of the features and capabilities that make a smart water management and leak detection system exceptional.  

How to choose your commercial leak detection system provider

It’s important to choose a reputable provider with experience and knowledge of the industry, along with the many use cases of this type of technology. A commercial water management system is much more complex than a system planned to protect your home for instance, so you want to choose a provider with the relevant credentials.  The sites that need protection range from high-rise construction sites to high-tech companies, campuses and labs, hospitals, hospitality buildings, medical facilities, and more. The ideal provider has experience in water management for businesses and properties like these and can prove it with relevant case studies and client testimonials. They should be able to showcase how their technology has saved money, impacted sustainability, and reduced disruptions in commercial buildings and construction sites.  Even if you plan to start the deployment of your water management solution on some of your water systems, think forward to the day you’ll expand to cover all water in your facility, which is the typical scenario. Choose a provider that can manage all of the water in your facility to avoid ending with a patchwork of multiple providers for essentially the same water management task.

Water leak detection software

The most advanced water management systems are based on artificial intelligence, machine learning, and pattern recognition technology. They typically work by “learning” and characterizing the usual consumption of each individual location, to then be able to send up alerts in real-time, in case of abnormal consumption (such as one higher than the nature of the meter).  Sending up alerts is critical – just as critical in fact as the AI and analytics that every intelligent water leak detection solution must have. As water damage has the potential to occur almost immediately, an effective system must be able to send an alert to the operation and maintenance teams in real time, enabling them to shut off their water supply fast. Advanced water management systems also have the capacity to shut off the valves automatically and remotely, reducing the reliance on onsite staff to follow shutoff procedures. This capacity is based on flexible policy settings and the ability to activate different actions based on different scenarios. When deciding which water management system is right, make sure to check the threshold setting options, as well as how many contacts can receive an alert at the same time. The delivery method of those alerts also matters. A great system will allow for SMS, push, email, and phone notifications to be part of the alert process.  Last but not least, an advanced water management software should be able to integrate with the building management system you already use, to provide you with total visibility and control all in the same place.

What to look for in the hardware

The “secret sauce” of the most advanced leak detection systems resides in their software and data analysis capabilities. However, it is also essential to make sure that the devices connected to the water system meet the industry standards such as ISO 9000.  The water management system should provide a complete solution for all water systems in the facility, including main feeds, domestic cold water, irrigation, cooling towers, sprinklers and HVAC. It should also support the different water pipe diameters (typically ranging from ¾” and 8″) and be able to detect flow rates as low as 0.5l/h for small pipe diameters.  It should go without saying that the hardware must be corrosion resistant (though this is not always the case in less effective solutions) and support all pipe usage (for instance able to withstand working temperatures of up to 90℃ where needed). 

Data and support are both critical

A great water management system is not only a leak detector. It also enables the monitoring and proactive management of water in the facility by providing ongoing and historical reports about water use, consumption trends, and leaks.  The data should be easily accessible from a cloud-based dashboard (we are in the year 2023 after all) and also allow for full control of all devices installed at all sites from a mobile app.  Since even the best of technologies is prone to lack of attention (an alert at 4 a.m. may or may not be noticed by the site’s foreman), an additional layer of best-in-class customer support is the only way to ensure peace of mind for building developers, operations, and facilities management teams. This has to include training of the teams on site, 24/7 human phone service for support and troubleshooting, guidance to locate the source of the water event, and quarterly/monthly reviews to ensure your needs are being met.

Commercial water leak detection systems are complex

Water in the built environment has been an unmanaged resource so far, and one that is not easy to control and monitor. This is why choosing the right water management solution is crucial. When it comes to saving money, avoiding business disruptions, and impacting positively on sustainability, “simple” simply isn’t an option.  The information presented here is complex, which is why if you take one thing from this article, let it be to choose a provider with a proven track record. WINT’s presence in buildings such as the Empire State Building, and its proven positive impact on both commercial buildings and developments, is what really sets it apart from others.

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