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Prevent Most Water Heater Leak Disasters with Floodstop Automatic Water System

by Barbara 21. March 2014 13:19

Question: How can a Floodstop water heater automatic water system save me from a flooded basement?

Q: "I don't understand the value of installing a Floodstop single appliance water shut off system on my water heater. Isn't the water heater going to leak out all 40 or 50 gallons of water anyway? Thanks. Tom."

Answer: We discussed this with our Floodstop distributor, did some on-line research and remembered our own failed water heaters over the years. As our distributor explained, water heater water loss is typically from a pin-hole leak caused by corrosion to the inside lining of the tank. With Floodstop, you can choose to daisy-chain several sensors together to extend under the tank (if raised) or on the side where the sewer drain lies. Once a FloodStop sensor detects a leak, the Floodstop valve is immediately closed. Typically this pin-hole does not get larger because the Floodstop valve closure creates a kind of vacuum within the tank so no more water escapes. This is like putting your finger over the top end of a straw with water in it. That is why it is not necessary to have a device that shuts off the gas or the electricity to the water heater.

You, the home or apartment dweller, will know you have an issue to deal with when you get home hours, days or weeks later. You'll either hear the alarm or you'll go to the sink and there is no water immediately. Once you break the vacuum, the pin hole leak will again begin to drip. By then, the owner will shut off the water and the vacuum will resume. Then you'll be shopping for a new water heater.

Among plumbers and owners of high rise condo complexes,, the Floodstop is considered to be the best choice to prevent water disasters. Unfortunately, sometimes almost brand new water heaters begin to drip. Ex. My late Mom's installed 6 years prior to her death, lasted one year before it began to leak. Luckily it was in a visible basement area and was caught before any significant damage occurred.

Floodstop Automatic Water Systems for Water Heaters Come in These Sizes:

  1. FloodStop Water Heater Auto Water Valve Shutoff .75IN NPT, V.4
  2. FloodStop 1 Inch Valve for Water Heater/Softener, FS1.00-NPT-V4
  3. FloodStop Auto Water Valve for Water Heater/Softener, FS1.25 NPT
  4. FloodStop .50 Inch Valve for Heater/Softener, FS 1/2-NPT-V4
  5. FloodStop Automatic Valve for Water Heater/Softener, 3/4 In.Compression

Extra moisture sensors are also available. And these new Floodstops use either 4 AA batteries and AC power or can operate only on the 4AA batteries.

All Floodstop Units Include:

  • Motorized full-port stainless steel ball valve in brass valve body lined with Teflon (3/4 inch compression fittings).
  • Valve meets low lead drinking water standards of all US states.
  • Control unit with battery backup (4 AA batteries, not included).
  • AC power adapter (or use 4 AA Batteries as primary power source).
  • Water leak sensor.
  • Output contact wires (2).
  • Automatic Water Valve Shut Off 

Technical Specifications:

  • UL Listed Class 2 Wall Adapter, 115AC/9VDC.
  • UPC listed, full port, motorized ball valve: CNC machined.
  • Motor operates at 6VDC.
  • Rated 0-180 PSI. Max 250 PSI. Solid brass.
  • Signal outputs: 2 normally closed.
  • Alarm: beeping with mute button.
  • One year limited manufacturer's warranty.
If you need quantities for a condominium or apartment complex, please contact us directly.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

Sensaphone Passive InfraRed Motion Detectors Interface with Most Sensaphone Units

by Barbara 12. February 2014 07:47

Question about the Passive Infra Red Motion Detector.

Q:"How does the Sensaphone Motion Detector work? How units do I need to protect my office? What Sensaphone models work with this unit?" Thanks. George

Answer: Remember that this is a wired unit. First, measure your office. Next, determine if you need more than one unit along each long wall. If you have more than one door, consider installing one aimed at each door.  All Sensaphone unit that have a normally closed dry contact can interface with this unit. That includes a wide variety of FSG models.

PIR motion sensor uses infrared to monitor movement of warm bodies in a specific area. Once movement is detected, the sensor activates a call from your Sensaphone remote monitoring system. The passive infrared motion detection sensor can be used with all Sensaphone models. Range of detection is approximately forty feet of area. Multiple sensors can be wired in series to a single output.

PIR Motion Detector FGD-0007 Specifications: 
  • Compatible with all Sensaphone models except IMS. Note: There is a PIR motion sensor specifically designed for the IMS
  • Dimensions:     4″ x 6″ x 11/2″
  • Housing:     White plastic
  • Normality:     Normally closed
  • Range:     Approximately 40′
  • Battery Life:     3-5 years
  • Compatibility:   All Sensaphone models
Package Contents: 
  • (x1) Infra-Red Motion Detector
  • (x2) AA batteries
  • (x1) Installation Instructions
  • Detects body heat.&
  • Causes a dial-out if motion is detected.
  • Range of detection covers approximately 50 ft. of area.
  • Multiple sensors can be wired in series to a single input.
  • Range: Approximately 40 feet, with 75° of coverage.
  • Dimensions: 4" x 6" x 1.5"
  • Warranty: 1 year limited manufacturer's warranty.

Thank you for your questions.

Sincerely,

Barbara

Toilet Guardian Keeps Toilet Bowl Water From Overflowing Onto Your Floors

by Barbara 6. November 2013 10:44

Question about best way to keep toilets from overflowing.

Q: "I operate a day care center. The older children toilet themselves; the younger ones have supervision. We have problems with children using too much toilet paper. Then the toilet bowls overflow and there is a mess. What device or devices can we install to prevent these bowl overflows? Thanks. Sara

Answer: The Toilet Guardian TB1000B should save your toilets from overflows. Peace of mind at under $100, no plumber required if you are handy. (The plumber's fee is about the same as the unit in most areas.)

The Toilet Guardian includes a bowl sensor and a controller for an internal valve. When the sensor detects an impending toilet overflow, the sensor signals the controller and the internal valve is closed. This is a great addition to public restrooms, day care centers like yours, private homes, etc..

Battery operated (One CR-2477F Coin Battery), this automatic water shut off valve for the toilet water valve installs easily. Just attach to your existing fill valve at the water connection under the tank. When a potential water problem is detected, you hear the alarm and the water is shut off.

This patented design uses superior Texas Instrument MSP430 technology, replaceable battery (five year life), ceramic disk valve and high impact and chemical resistant materials. Each unit undergoes over 15 function, design and manufacturing tests before shipping.

Toilet Guardian Features Include:

  • No plumber required: easily installed.
  • Twin ceramic disk valves
  • TI MSP430 microprocessor
  • Stainless steel solenoid tested to over 500,000 cycles
  • 3V lithium ion battery w/5 yr. life (replaceable), CR2477F battery
  • Small, light weight, highly impact resistant plastic
  • Size: approximately 3 inches tall by 2 inches wide
  • 0 to 125 psi operating pressure
  • LCD icon display identifies the problem
  • Piezo buzzer for audible alert
  • Two Year Manufacturer's Warranty Against Defects

While you are at it, you should consider installing a Floodstop for your hot water heaters or at the very least a Water Screamer water alarm with 130dB alarm. Water heaters often are in isolated areas. No one knows there is a problem until the water leaks cause damage.

Thanks for your question. Please contact us for more information.

Sincerely,

Barbara

Stop Under Sink Water Leaks With Floodstop Water Valve Unit for Hot and Cold Water Lines

by Barbara 22. July 2012 07:01

Question about the FloodStop for Sinks Lead Free Water Valve FS3/8CD.

Question: "Our neighbor recently had extensive water damage from a leak under a bathroom sink. The sink is in a rarely used bathroom. The first hint of the water leak was the damp spot on the ceiling in the room below. What product do you suggest for protecting our guest room sink which is rarely used? Thanks. Sam."

Answer:  For a single location, install the FloodStop for Sinks Lead Free Water Valve FS3/8CD. The "CD" stands for compression fitting, i.e. no soldering is required. The Floodcheck water valves connect to the angle stops and supply lines. FloodStop water valves are full port ball valves that meet the California and Vermont lead free water valve standards for drinking water.  Add additional sensors for more coverage under the sink. Do remember that you will need an unswitched electrical outlet for power: electricity is used only when the sensor detects water.

When a hot or cold water leak is detected, Floodstop shuts off the water below the sink and sounds an 87 db alarm.

Installation:

    Connect the water valve to cold and hot water lines under the sink.
    Mount the control unit.
    Place sensor(s) on floor.
    Plug power supply into an unswitched outlet. Note: electricity is used only when the sensor detects water.

NOTE: DO NOT PLACE SENSOR DIRECTLY ON METAL PAN OR DAMP FLOOR. If no water is present and alarm sounds, place paper towel or cloth under sensor to "insulate" against floor dampness or metal of pan. When the paper or cloth gets wet, the sensor activates the shut-off and sounds the alarm.

How FloodStop (FS 3/8-CD) Works:

    FloodStop valves connect to the angle stops and supply lines.
    Water leak sensor is placed at the base of the fixture (sink, laundry tubs, bathtub, etc.).
    Valve remains open until a water leak or water loss is detected.
    Water on the sensor signals the Floodstop controller which closes the valve and alarms.
    Valve remains closed until system is reset, and sensor is dry.

FloodStop (FS 3/8-CD) Components:

    Motorized Ball Valves (Two Valves, 3/8 inch Compression Fitting).
    Control unit with battery backup (4 C batteries, not included).
    AC power adaptor (or use 4 C Batteries as primary power source).
    Water leak sensor (1.25" X 7.5").
    Output contact wires (2).

Technical Specifications:

    UL Listed Class 2 Wall Adaptor, 115AC/9VDC.
    UPC listed, full port, motorized ball valves.
    Motor operates at 6VDC.
    Rated 0-180 PSI. Max 250 PSI. Solid brass.
    Signal outputs: 2 normally closed.
    Alarm: beeping with mute button.

Features:

    For added water detection protection, add more sensors. Sensors plug into sensors, NOT the Control Box.
    The 3/8 inch valve is 3.75 inches long.
    Controller has reset and test buttons to test valve performance plus battery back up.
    Easy to install, operate, and maintain.
    Designed for residential, condo and apartment dwellings.
    Full port ball valves automatically shut off water supply to sink when water sensor/sensors get wet.
    Power: 120VAC and/or battery backup (4 C batteries).
    No wires to route throughout the home.
    Alarm: beeping with mute button.
    Water Sensor: 1.5" X 7.5", double sided. Additional sensors may be added in series.
    AC Adapter Cord Length: 6 Ft.
    Wire Length from the Controller to the Valve: About 30 Inches Long.
    FloodStop Controller:
        3 buttons: Mute, Close Valve and Open Valve.
        Water sensitivity adjustment. Clockwise: less sensitive. Counter clockwise: More sensitive.
        4-pin connection to valve/sensor connector.
        Outputs: Normally closed. Contacts for any device that can utilize them, like auto phone dialers, alarm systems, X10 home automations devices.
    One year limited manufacturer warranty.

I hope this helps with your situation.

If you want whole house protection, a install the Floodstop Whole House Auto Water Valve System. This unit comes in 3/4”, 1” and 1.25” valve sizes. Included with each system are one Motorized Full-Port Ball Valve,one Controller (that shuts off the main water valve),four Sensor Modules, four sensors to place in areas you want protected, one transformer for the controller and four low voltage transformers for the sensor modules. This unit screws onto the water pipe, i.e. it is an NPT or National Pipe Thread Tapered Thread.

Go to WWW.SafeHomeProducts.com for more information.

Thank you again.

Sincerely,

Barbara

Dr. Frog Croaks When House Plants Need Water or Use Drip Irrigation Plant Sitters

by Barbara 14. May 2012 07:40

Question about plant moisture sensors.

Q: "Do you sell any products that sense when a plant needs to be watered? I seem to either forget to water my African violets or over water them. Thanks. Sue"

Answer: Safe Home does sell an electronic moisture sensor for plants. This product is called Dr. Frog.Doctor Frog Water Alarm, Electronic Plant Moisture Meter uses twin metal probes that are attached to an electronic moisture sensor. Although water resistant, Dr Frog™ must be removed when you water your plant. Re-insert afterwards. Avoid immersing Doctor Frog™ in water even briefly. Battery life is up to 1 year with normal use. Of course, if you ignore Dr. Frog's alarm, the batteries ( two G10 batteries) will not last very long. There is a light sensor so Dr. Frog won't wake you up at night. Otherwise he will croak for 3 seconds every 10 seconds. 6 month limited manufacturer's warranty. As seen on HGTV's "I Want That."

Other options for keeping your plants adequately watered include:

  • Cobra Co Plant Sitter Water System, Indoor or Outdoor UseCeramic moisture sensor releases drip irrigation to your house plants or outdoor deck plants whether you are home or away. Just remember to refill the one quart tank of the CobraCo(R) Plant Sitter Water System once a week or every two weeks. The Plant Sitter automatically provides water and fertilizer to house or deck plants. The one quart tank and ceramic sensor fit almost any planter. For the average sized plant, the CobraCo Plant Sitter provides drip irrigation as needed to water plants for up to 3 weeks. Great for the elderly or invalids who can enjoy plants without the fuss of watering. No need for a house sitter for short vacations! For longer ones, your house sitter needs to refill only once per week or every second week.
  • CobraCo Plant Sitter Terra Cotta Replacement Ceramic Watering Sensors that work with any container of water.Drip irrigation for house plants. Plant sits up to 3 weeks. Fits almost any planter.Use year-round or for vacations. Great for house plant promotion.The CobraCo(R) Ceramic Watering Sensor provides automatic watering of house plants. The sensors come in a 3-pack and will work with any container of water. The drip time is approximately 6 to 10 hours per water sensor. Keep your plants at the proper moisture level with these ceramic water sensors.

Thank you for your question. These products should keep your thumb "green."

Sincerely,

Barbara

 

130 Decibel Free-Standing 9 Volt Battery Water Screamer Alarm for Hard or Soft Surfaces

by Barbara 21. December 2011 09:15

Question about the Gizmode Water Screamer Water Alarm

Question: "I need several very loud water alarms. I live in an older house whose plumbing is being updated slowly. We had a leak under the kitchen sink that was so bad we had to remove the bottom of the cabinet and rebuild it. The flooring warped as well. Is this the right alarm for us? Thanks. Tom."

Answer: Yes, I would choose this alarm if you want a portable extremely loud water alarm. The Water Screamer has a tip resistant commercial grade design and is made from ABS plastic. The 4.5 inch diameter by 2.5 inch tall size means it takes up little room. Just put in on the floor or bottom of a cupboard. There are 4 stainless steel sensor pins that reach into carpeting. The 9 volt battery is not included: the battery can last for years because there is no power drawn from it unless there is a leak. There is a one year warranty on the water alarm itself.

Buy the economy pack if you want to protect 6 different areas. The Water Screamer 9Volt Water Alarm, 130 dB Alarm,6/PK is an economical choice compared to purchasing automatic shut off devices for all the water using appliances in your home.

Thank you for your question. Please contact us if you want information about individual water shut off devices with alarms such as the Flood Stop or a whole house unit such as the Water Cop. We can assist you with finding the best choices for your home.

Sincerely,

Barbara

IMS-1000 Sensaphone, No Land Line Required, Infrastructure Monitoring System Uses Ethernet Network.

by Barbara 13. November 2011 10:32

Question about the Sensaphone IMS-1000 Remote Monitoring System.

Q: "I have a computer room I need to monitor for humidity, power and temperature. There is no land line in that room. Is the IMS-1000 system the best choice? What sensors will I need to add?  How does this unit mount? I have computer racks in the room. Thanks. Ed."

Answer: Sensaphone designed the IMS or Infrastructure Monitoring System for situations like yours where there is no land line available. It does require an ethernet network. And you can rack mount this monitor into your computer rack. Dimensions (H x W x D): 1.75" x 14" x 7"

The IMS-1000 series of products includes the following key features:

  • Eight sensor inputs to monitor environmental conditions and/or alarm contacts from other computer equipment such as UPS systems.
  • 10/100BASE-T Ethernet port.
  • Internal battery backup for uninterrupted performance.
  • Compact design allows rack-mount, wall-mount, or tabletop installation.
  • Embedded web page to program and manage your IMS-1000 system.

Per Sensaphone's manual for the IMS-1000:

"The system is designed to be a comprehensive method of ensuring 100% up-time of your computer systems. By monitoring all aspects of your computer room, including environmental conditions and network equipment, the system will keep you informed of the status of your infrastructure. Monitored conditions can include temperature levels, humidity levels, line voltage, leak detection, server response, UPS systems, and more. The system allows the computer professional to be notified immediately of any detected problems. Notification can occur via voice telephone call, pager, e-mail, fax or snmp trap. An internal battery backup system insures that the unit will continue to run if main power fails."

Sensaphone does caution: "Caution: The IMS sensors are not TCP/IP devices and therefore should not be connected directly to any wiring infrastructure that is connected to network equipment such as a hub, router, or switch. Sensors use RJ-45 plugs and cables similar to thoseused with Ethernet devices".

Environmental Sensors Needed for Your Computer Room Include:

  • Sensaphone Temperature Sensor 4810 for IMS-1000,4000 The temperature sensor connects to the IMS-1000 via an RJ-45 cable (e.g. CAT5 cable). The connection from the sensor to the IMS-1000 can utilize your existing network wiring infrastructure. For example, the sensor may be installed in another room or another floor. Connect the sensor to your structured wiring network via an RJ-45 jack. At the other end, connect a patch cable from your structured wiring patch panel directly to the IMS-1000 environment input.
  • Sensaphone Humidity Sensor 4820 for IMS-1000,4000 The IMS-4820 Room Humidity Sensor operates between 32° to 122°F (0° to 50°C)and Humidity ranges of 0 to 100% RH. Accuracy is ± 5%. This unit also connects with RJ-45 cable (not included).
  • Sensaphone 4840 External Power Failure Sensor for IMS-1000, 4000 This will handle your worries about power outages. The range is 0 to 250 VAC, 50/60 Hz with an accuracy of ± 2%. The power connection is via a Universal IEC-320 power inlet.

There are several other options as well. These are the:

If you have additional questions, please contact us. Sensaphone does update sensors and remote monitors periodically so product codes and specifications may change.

Thanks for your question.

Sincerely, Barbara

 

California Law Effective July 1, 2011 for Installation of Carbon Monoxide Alarms in All Single Family Homes

by Barbara 27. June 2011 14:13

Question about approved carbon monoxide alarms for use in California.

Q: "Do you sell carbon monoxide alarms on the "List of California State Fire Marshal Approved Carbon Monoxide Alarms"? The law now requires these be installed in every single family dwelling. How quickly can they be shipped. Thanks. Steve."

Answer: Yes, we do sell several approved carbon monoxide alarms. Unless you are ordering a large quantity of units, we ship within 3 business days using either the postal service or UPS.  The Fire Marshall list expires in July 2012.

Costar Models:

Kidde and Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Alarms:

If there are other approved Kidde units you would like pricing on, please let us know. We are able to discount larger quantities of these products. Most come in case of 12 or 24 units. Remember you need to install at least one carbon monoxide alarm on each level of your home and one CO alarm in every bedroom where the door is shut at night. Do remember that if you have gas burning appliances like ranges, stoves and furnaces that you also should add gas alarms for propane or natural gas to protect against explosions and fires.

Thank you for bringing this new law to our attention.

Sincerely, Barbara

120V Propane Alarms and CO Alarms Protect Park Model Trailers with Gas Appliances

by Barbara 12. April 2011 10:54

Question about the Safety Siren Propane and Natural Gas Alarm

Q: "We live in a park model modular home in a retirement community in northern Florida.  It is a one bedroom unit. Our furnace, our hot water heater and our range are all propane. A central tank supplies several homes. We've read that trailers and motor homes have 12 volt propane alarms and 12 volt carbon monoxide alarms hard-wired into the 12 volt system. Ours is 120Volt. The outlets are near the appliances and near the floor. The water heater is in a closet as is the furnace. What do we need to protect ourselves from a fire or explosion? Thanks. Tim and Diane."

Answer: In your situation, you need a minimum of two carbon monoxide alarms, one inside your bedroom and one in the living area at the other end. You need 3 propane gas alarms. Each one of your gas appliances needs a combustible gas alarm installed near to it. This means inside the closets where the furnace and the water heater reside. We understand from a park home model reseller that at least the newer models do have outlets near the appliances and near the floor.

Our suggestion is that you install two of the RV carbon monoxide units, the CoStar 9V Battery UL Home and RV Carbon Monoxide Alarm. This is because these units can handle both high humidity and high temperatures without sensors being destroyed. Operating Environment:-40 degrees F to +151 degrees F 15% to 95% RH. Since they are battery powered, you don't have to worry about plugging them into those very scarce outlets. Just change the battery out once a year.

As far as the propane alarms are concerned, we recommend that you use direct plug in units only if you have outlets close to the appliance and low to the floor. Propane is heavier than air so it sinks and pools around the bottom of an appliance. Otherwise, we recommend that you install the Safe-T-Alert Propane Natural Gas Alarm, 120V because it has a 65 inch cord that allows proper placement probably 99% of the time. This unit has micro current technology which means it uses only 3.8 watts of energy, which is about US $3.00 per year to operate. Since propane gas is heavier than air, mount this gas alarm within 4 to 20 inches of the floor. For methane or natural gas which is lighter than room air, mount the detector within 6 inches from the ceiling or on the ceiling at least 12 inches from a wall.

Thank you for your question. Remember that carbon monoxide is a by product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels like propane, natural gas, wood, etc. Raw propane or natural gas detectors won't detect carbon monoxide nor will carbon monoxide sensors detect raw leaking gas. We do sell a combination plug in unit as well. Proper placement for carbon monoxide detector alarms is different from combustible gas alarms.  For example, gas-burning appliances may emit it a small amount of carbon monoxide when starting up. So this carbon monoxide alarm should be placed 15 feet or more from heating or cooking appliances and never hear a very humid room such as a bathroom.

Sincerely, Barbara

WaterCop Lead Free Brass Water Valves Meet Drinking Water Standards for All 50 States

by Barbara 5. February 2011 09:49

Question about the WaterCop Sergeant Basic Water Damage Actuator, Water Valve and Sensor Package with Low Lead Valve

Q: "I live in California. I want to install a WaterCop to protect my condominum from future water damage. Our condo association was not happy, nor was I, when repairs from a leaking dishwasher caused over $20,000 in repair costs from a leaking water dispensing refrigerator leak. I am encouraging the entire condo association to install WaterCops and moisture sensors to add protection and keep our insurance premiums down. Does this unit meet the specifications for California lead? Thanks. Tom.

Answer: Dynaquip controls has added what are called "lead free" or "low lead" brass full port water valves as an option to their Water Cop line. These valves comply with the California AB1953 Standard as well as the Vermont S.152 Ultra Low Lead Law. The cost of these units is more because making brass with little or no lead adds considerable expense to manufacturing.

The electrical actuator and moisture sensors are identical to the original units.

To protect your condominium community, please advise your condo board that WaterCop units and sensors should be ordered pre-set from the factory. We've handled orders like this in the past. What we need to know is the number of units and the number of sensors and adapters (most prefer AC rather than battery powered sensors). By numbering the units say 1 through 50, your condo community can be assured that if there is a leak in say Unit 101, that the unit next door will continue to have water because the actuator and sensor settings will be different!

If your community plans to expand, the best approach is to have the WaterCop ready lead free valves installed during the initial construction. Then the actuators and water sensors can be added later just prior to occupancy.  Why pay twice for a water valve!.

Currently, these units are available in 1/2 inch valve, 3/4 inch valve , 1 inch valve and 1 1/4 inch valve sizes. The 1 1/4 inch actuators and valves are more expensive: the power requires to quickly open and close the valve is higher for the larger valves. Remember you can reduce the size of a water line to fit a smaller valve. The most popular sizes are the 3/4 inch and the 1 inch.

Thanks for your question. Please contact us for a quotation when your condo association is ready to install the WaterCops. One condo association reported to us that they were close to being uninsurable until they installed the WaterCops. Then the yearly premiums dropped 15%.

Sincerely,

Barbara