With water damage proving to be one of the most frequently reported insurance claims in buildings, the latest in ultrasound technology offers a promising solution to address escalating pay-outs. According to ABI, insurers pay out £1.8 million for residential water damage every day. Causes can relate to a number of issues such as corrosion, limescale and frost compromising old pipes, as well as accidental drilling of new systems.
The message comes from polymer company, REHAU which has recently unveiled a pioneering smart water control system using the latest in ultrasound technology – RE.GUARD. With most drip-based leaks usually going unnoticed, and burst pipes then leading to severe damage, REHAU is encouraging insurance companies to take advantage of this new prevention technology.
REHAU’s smart control water system monitors the water flow rate assessing it in real time due to integrated software. The innovative new system is comprised of four main components: a smart water controller, water sensors, a hub gateway and an app. The system is ideally suited to insurers concerned about potential water damage in properties – either through customers’ own daily use or as their tenants of another property or holiday home.
Water damage issues pose increased risk beyond residential properties as well. For example, commercial buildings such as offices generally have more water features than residential homes, including more toilet facilities, air conditioning, water coolers, and coffee machines connected to the mains. The smart water controller helps to detect burst pipes and drip leaks by shutting off the water supply to mitigate damage. It is installed after the water meter which allows it to also measure water consumption, and has the ability to be manually turned on and off.
The controller is supported by water sensors which detect leaking water in critical areas even faster by being positioned throughout the building. It connects to the smart water controller via the Z-Wave radio standard and includes an extension cable for places that are particularly difficult to reach.
All devices are connected to the Internet via a gateway, which can easily be connected to a building’s router. Essential information is then available to the building owner at a glance which also helps users to identify sustainable ways to save on water consumption.
Steve Richmond, Head of Marketing and Technical at REHAU Building Solutions said: “Not only is water damage an expensive problem to face for insurers, it can also result in the formation of mould within just 24 hours of moisture penetrating a building structure, which is harmful to health and requires extensive remediation work. The unfortunate reality is that many property owners don’t find out until it’s too late.
“With smart technology now embedded into most of our daily lives, we just knew there should be a better solution to this issue. We monitor the health of our bodies, so why shouldn’t we monitor the health of our buildings? It really is an exciting new gadget which we believe can help insurers by providing a cost-effective safety net.”