Water Leak

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Lenp
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Water Leak

Post by Lenp » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:44 am

We recently had a bad experience with a plumbing leak and I have decided it's time to do something proactive and install a leak detection and shut off system. There are many commercially available systems, and they use a motor driven water valve. I also want to also add a shut off for the well pump so It doesn't pump all the water from the county into our basement!.

The plan is to DIY the system at a great savings, and monitor the most critical areas with hardwired sensors. I plan on using a micro to monitor the sensors, indicate the location, shut the valve and open the pump circuit.
So, before I get in water over my head, figuratively, any thoughts or advice going forward would be appreciated.
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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haklesup
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Re: Water Leak

Post by haklesup » Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:15 pm

Check out this one, super easy to install monitor https://streamlabswater.com/ they may have a valve eventually too

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Lenp
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Re: Water Leak

Post by Lenp » Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:27 pm

Thanks for that info, but that product is just ogging water consumption. If you're on the other side of the world, you get notified that you have a leak by telling you the horror of how many gallons you can expect to cleanup when you get back! Not good!

I want to shut the system down when a leak is detected; a message can always be be sent later if needed as an add-on feature. There are other companies that provide hard wired and wireless systems that shut the flow off but their cost is high considering what basic technology is needed and most still need hacking to shut off the well pump. I am not into that wifi-ing the world thinking. There's way too many loose ends to worry about for stability. Maybe in the future stability will increase and then you can bet you house on it, but not now!
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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Externet
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Re: Water Leak

Post by Externet » Fri Dec 14, 2018 11:22 am

Hi Len. Differential pressure sensing finds difficulty in discerning a leak from normal water usage.

Running a bare wire pair to sense moisture, attached/taped along the belly of all accessible pipes, could sense leaks to shut-off a supply solenoid valve.

Additionally, human occupancy sensor(s) in the dwelling could latch shut off a normally closed mains supply solenoid or pump when you are away.
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Lenp
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Re: Water Leak

Post by Lenp » Fri Dec 14, 2018 12:59 pm

Not thinking of any pressure scheme at all. There are too many variables in a well system (30-60 psi) so I am only considering physical water on a sensor, like interlaced foil on a pcb. I would put a high value resistor at the end of the foil pattern so a wire break could be detected. A micro's ADC input should be able to resolve normal, open or water conduction conditions quite easily.

As a side note, a lifetime ago I built a very primitive water detector using a bit of wire, a wooden spring type clothespin, two thumbtacks, a funnel and an aspirin tablet. I'll bet you can visualize that design :cool:
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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Externet
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Re: Water Leak

Post by Externet » Fri Dec 14, 2018 1:21 pm

Oh, yes, the aspirin method... but that is when you already have a puddle... right at the aspirin location.
I mentioned differential pressure sensing as a method to avoid.
Would you be happy with a pair of parallel bare wires taped on the bottom of pipes ? Anywhere a leak develops should reach the wires somewhere, until Murphy shows up... If the leak is on a vertical pipe, should anyway trickle down to the wires, to the typical circuit used to sense moisture on floors...
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Lenp
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Re: Water Leak

Post by Lenp » Fri Dec 14, 2018 2:10 pm

My enhanced sensitivity water detector had a funnel that provided a nominal 1000:1 sensitivity gain!
(collecting the water and directing it to the tablet!)

Two bare wires on copper pipe? Well maybe a roll of ANCIENT 'twinlead' TV antenna wire with many skinned sections....no, still too much fuss.

Yes, pipe leaks can occur but I think most leaks, like electrical faults, do not happen midway, but at the points of use. Appliances are the most likely leak source; water heater, dishwasher,clothes washer, refrigerator, laundry tub, humidifier, well pressure and storage tanks, water conditioners....to name a few. If those were covered I think it would be the largest benefit.


Narrow PCB sensors could be strapped to the bottom of the pipe with a piece foam, or absorbent paper, to electrically insulate the foil pattern from the copper is also an option if a pipe leak was a concern, but condensation may be the bug in any under-the-pipe scheme!

At the end, I think leaks are much like lightning. They do what they want!
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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Externet
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Re: Water Leak

Post by Externet » Fri Dec 14, 2018 5:57 pm

For copper pipe.... would have to be single wire in paper/cotton insulation ? Condensation... a good place for Murphy to lurk from...
Tackling so many appliances would be very elaborated ! A bunch of high gain funnels hosed to the aspirine...
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Lenp
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Re: Water Leak

Post by Lenp » Sat Dec 15, 2018 4:05 am

Most of the critical areas are clustered around the laundry area, and the kitchen is above. It's easy wire access and around 100 feeit of wire for all.
Second floor will probably be skipped since plumbing access is difficult. The panel could have many zones but probably only a couple are really needed. Laundry, kitchen, well and HVAC with a spare. Using an end of line resistor, sensors can be safely daisy chained with low risk of failure.

I would place the sensor board foil side down on the floor with some absorbent paper between the foil and floor to keep insects off the foil and to help wick water onto the foil for better contact.
Yes, pipe condensation would be a weak point, causing interrupted sleep!

Thanks for this dialogue!
Len

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a big pile of junk.” (T. Edison)
"I must be on the way to success since I already have the junk". (Me)

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