This is in continuation to series of vendor neutral posts I published on various aspects of residential water purification to help home owners who maybe looking for water softener, water management system, RO etc. In particular the topic of "Water leak detection and prevention"
Not sure if anyone of you have heard about Chandler Systems Incorporated - they are one of the leading developers of the water softener control valves and hold several patents in that space. If you do bit of deep research, you will quickly find out that Fleck (Pentair), Clack, Autotrol (Pentair) and Canature are other leading forces in that space. Recently CSI technology division announced Drop Connect technology, a game changing (in my opinion) holistic water management system (including leak detection and auto shutoff) which can be integrated with various components of softeners (softener, carbon filters, iron filters, alternating tanks etc.) So what is a Drop connect technology and why as a home owner looking for a softener I should give a serious consideration for this? 1. Drop technology is a smart holistic water management system that comes integrated with water softening systems (which typically gets installed at point of entry of water into the house). It solves many problems beyond softening water and has many uses. 2. While there are few water softening systems that are wifi based and provide optional / packaged leak detection and remote shutoff option, they do not come anywhere close to what the drop connect technology offers. Why? 3. Drop connect works on its own local network protocol. Meaning even if your home's wifi is down, the system still continues to function and be able to auto shut-off water supply in case any of its sensors detect leak. Why is it important? Let's say you are away from home, most leak detectors that are part of the water softening systems only will alert you via App when home's wifi network is working. This means that if for any reason, there is a leak at home and wifi network is down and you are away from home, you wouldn't be able to receive notifications regarding potential water leak and hence won't open the App to shut-off water supply valve remotely. Also, even if the wifi network is on but you are in a place not able to receive any signals, there is no way for you to know about potential leak at home and act on this. This is where the local communication between the Drop device and sensors using local protocol communication shines as it results in auto shutoff of water supply provided you have set it up that way. Of course, there is a simple way to address this, each time you go out, you could just shut off water supply to home and go. But what if you are home, sleeping and suddenly there is burst of water either in kitchen or in laundry room etc. This is where drop connect comes to rescue. But then, why can't I add my own leak detection technology with sensors (e.g flow by Moen or Phyn etc) and how does this differ? 4. Apart from being able to communicate locally with the sensors and shut off water supply when it detects a leak, it has ability to drain the water in the pipes via the softener drain when it identifies a leak down stream. This means, it will prevent water coming out from the point of failure i.e., after the shut off has happened as it lets water in the pressurized pipes go through the water softener drain as opposed via the point of leak. What else? 5. I know and have seen several home owners who paid huge money to plumbers to create a separate water lines for their yards and house. And some have avoided adding a softener due to the cost involved in doing this. This is where it shines further, Drop connect technology allows you to program (set) the softener control to let water bypass the softener system and directly go through the water lines instead through the softener. All automated via App. What does this mean? Let us say you set your softener control valve to go into bypass mode at 5.00 AM in the morning. You can schedule your sprinkler system or drip systems to water the plants at that time so that they do not receive softened water. All this, without a need of replumbing. Isn't it amazing. 6. Additionally, you get to know the how much water your softener is consuming for backwash (drain) and fine tune to optimize softener for water consumption during backwash process, get notifications about salt levels and get plethora of water usage statistics to be able to optimize water consumption at home or get to know about the water consumption behaviors. 7. You can add up to 32 leak detectors to monitor moisture, notify of leaking pipes, sump, tub overflow, burst pipes, leaking fixtures, water heater leaks, washers etc. 8. Finally, the most important thing is this, it comes all integrated with softener valve and at phenomenal price point. As an example Phyn through Costco or flo by Moen from Amazon you are looking around device cost of $600 -$700 including taxes plus install cost of around $250 - $500 depending on the complexity of the install and they still do not come close to the overall functionality provided by Drop connect nor come integrated with softener systems so that you can manage everything together via one App nor at an affordable price. Due to all of the reasons above, I think, it is good to give it a serious consideration when planning to setup softener.