Water leakage sensor: how to choose and install the system "anti-flood" with your own hands
Breakage of plumbing equipment is one of the most common causes of leakage. Being the culprit and the victim of the flood at the same time unpleasant, and it is costly from the financial side.
A timely installed water leakage sensor helps to avoid a catastrophe even in the event of pipe damage and system integrity.
The principle of operation of the system against leakage
The principle of operation of any stationary anti-leakage system is based on the difference between the electrical conductivity of water and air. The basis of any sensor is a regular pair of electrodes. If water gets on them, then the resistance decreases and the electrical circuit closes.
Information about the closure of the circuit goes to the controller, where the pulse is decoded and the information is processed.After that, the controller gives its signal to close the solenoid valve located on the riser, directly on the input.
The inlet valve will be closed until the cause of the leak has been identified and completely eliminated. After performing simple manipulations with the controller, the system will be resumed. The stationary system operates autonomously and only requires intervention in the event of leakage detection and repair.
Leakage classification systems
Anti-leakage systems are classified according to the following main features:
- By the number of electric cranes in the kit.
- By way of informing about leakage.
- By way of information exchange between sensors and control unit.
As a rule, the number of cranes with an electric drive must be at least two. This is due to the fact that the taps must be installed cold and hot water pipes. The number of cranes, depending on the chosen system, can be increased
The essence of informing about leakage
There are the following ways to report leaks:
- Indication on the controller display;
- Indication on the display, accompanied by noise signals;
- Noise alarm, indication and message sending.
Messaging is possible if the system is equipped with a GSM transmitter. In this case, an SMS message is sent to the phone number that is sewn in the device’s memory. Enter the phone number from the control panel. When connecting the system to the Internet, there is the possibility of sending messages via GPRS connection.
The information displayed on the control panel depends on the model. The most common information is displayed on the presence of leaks, the status of sensors, the level of charge of batteries and batteries.
Transmission of information between the controller and sensors
Signals from water leakage sensors can be transmitted to the controller, both by wire and radio channels. In this regard, it is customary to distinguish between wired and wireless systems that are focused on flood prevention.
In wired information transmission systems, wires are supplied to the sensor with voltage up to 5 V. In the case of a dry surface, there is no current due to the large resistance between the contacts. As a result of moisture, resistance decreases and current increases.
To avoid false positives, you need to set a minimum current threshold at which the controller closes the solenoid valves. This is due to the fact that the resistance between the contacts decreases with the formation of steam or splashing of water, but its value is still quite high and does not reach the minimum values, as a result of leakage.
Inside each wireless sensor there is a current comparison circuit that is triggered when the set value is reached. A special transmitter constantly measures the contact resistance and, when flooded, immediately sends an alarm signal to the receiver. The receiver and transmitter must be tuned to the same frequency.
The transmitter signal is modulated in order to avoid false alarms due to electromagnetic interference. Each manufacturer applies its own modulation principles; therefore, wireless sensors for monitoring water leakage cannot be used in other leakage control systems.
Typical equipment protection system
The following leakage alarm systems, which operate according to the same principle, are the most popular among consumers:
In the presented systems, ball valves with an electromagnetic or electromechanical valve with a diameter of ½, ¾, 1 inch are used. Devices not only provide overlap of the crane, but also informing about leakage.
Water leakage systems can be integrated with Smart Home systems. Leakage protection systems include:
- Ball valves equipped with electric drive. They are designed to completely or partially block the water or heating circuits in case of a leak. The device is mounted directly after the inlet valves.
- The controller, which is a control unit. Designed to perform only one operation - the overlap of the valve with an electric drive after receiving and processing the signal from one of the sensors.In addition, the controller is responsible for warning of leakage and sensor power. The controller can be installed in any convenient, but at the same time accessible place.
- Leakage sensors. When wet, a leak signal is given. They are connected exclusively to safe energy sources. Sensors are installed in places that most often threaten leaks: under shower cabins and sinks, behind toilet bowls, near washing machines, at connection points of flexible hoses, etc.
Sensors can be autonomous, both in the Gidrolock system, and volatile, as in the cheaper protection "Neptune".
In autonomous water supply systems, the function of an electrically operated tap can be performed by a pump, which is capable of shutting down after it receives a signal from a leak sensor. But in this case it is undesirable to neglect the installation of a ball valve equipped with an electric drive.
Even if the pump is turned off and the water supply from the well or well is stopped if there is no overlapping inlet ball valve, the system will not be protected from leakage. This is due to the fact that water from the accumulator can flow into the faulty system. Therefore, the installation of "controlled crane" is considered a necessity.
Rules for installing the anti-flood system
The main advantage of any modern leak protection system is the ease of assembly and the speed of installation work. By purchasing a flood warning system, you get a kind of constructor, the separate parts of which are connected using special connectors.
Work on the installation of the system should begin with the preparation of a detailed scheme, which will clearly indicate the location of each of the components. After drawing up the scheme, it is necessary to check the length of the wires and determine whether they are long enough to connect sensors and taps to the control unit.Installation work is carried out in the following order:
- Marking areas where installation of the controller, cranes and sensors;
- Laying and connecting wiring wires;
- Insert of ball valves equipped with shut-off valves with electromechanical or electromagnetic actuators;
- Installation of leakage sensors;
- Installation of the control unit (controller);
- Connection and verification.
One of the most difficult moments of the installation of protection against leakage is the insertion of ball valves. Failure to insert taps can reduce to zero all efforts to protect against water leakage.
Insert ball valve
Before work, turn off the taps located at the inlets of the cold and hot water risers.Next, directly behind the tap, you need to cut the pipeline and carefully remove the metering stations for hot and cold water so that the seals remain intact. After that, the valve of the system must be screwed directly onto the crane or onto the pre-installed valve.
It now remains to reattach the metering unit and connect the previously removed pipes to the place. The complexity of the work depends on what type of pipe used to create a water supply or heating system. The easiest way to work with metal pipes, it is enough to connect the elements and press them with a lock nut.
If the water supply system or the heating system is made of propylene pipes, then it is possible to replace the difficult soldering using special detachable couplings used for repair purposes. After installing the cranes, you need to connect them with a separate power line to the junction box of the controller that provides power to the shut-off node.
Installing water leak sensors
With the installation of sensors leakage of water with their own hands should not have any difficulties. Sensors should be located in places with a high risk of leakage - under showers and bathrooms, behind sinks and sinks, near toilets and washing machines. If the floor has a slope, then the sensor must be installed in the lowest place.
There are two schemes for the location of sensors: internal and outdoor. Manufacturers recommend to give preference to the internal placement of sensors, in which devices crash into tiles or other flooring.
With the internal location of the sensor contact plates must be brought out and positioned 3-4 mm above the floor level. This arrangement of contacts will prevent false triggering of the system in the event of wet cleaning or accidental splashing of water. The wire to the sensors is supplied in a waterproof corrugated pipe.
With an external arrangement, the sensors are placed directly on the floor with the contacts down. The sensor housing can be fixed with construction glue or double-sided tape. The external arrangement of devices is most often used if the leakage monitoring system is installed after the completion of the installation and installation of plumbing.
Installing a do-it-yourself water leakage sensor will cause even less difficulty if the system includes wireless sensors. In this case, you don’t have to worry about the aesthetic side of the issue; you don’t need to make walls and floors or hide the wires into the baseboard. The wireless sensor can be easily mounted on any surface, as it is equipped with fasteners.
Controller Installation Rules
The controller should be located in a convenient place for maintenance. It is best to place the controller near the shut-off valves, it can be mounted on the wall with brackets or hidden in a niche. Note that the power supply to the control unit is provided by the power cabinet, therefore a phase and zero must be connected to the controller.
After fixing the controller, you can connect it to the power grid and connect the electrically controlled valves.Wiring is done through special terminal connectors, numbered and signed for ease of installation. On the controller and in the instructions clearly spelled out where and what wire should be connected.
It remains to be connected to the appropriate connectors of the sensors of water leakage and the assembly of the system can be considered complete. If the standard length of the wire is not enough, then they can be lengthened. Manufacturers guarantee the operation of the system even if the sensor is removed from the control unit at 100 m.
System operation check
After pressing the power button, the controller will diagnose and confirm that it is ready for operation with a green indicator light. Before you entrust the security of your home system, it will not be superfluous to carry out its diagnosis.
For this purpose it is enough to moisten a plate of one of the sensors with water. If the system is working properly, you will hear a beep, the indicator light will turn on or blink red, and the electric valves will shut off the water supply.
To unlock the system, the sensor should be wiped dry and set in place.The power to the controller must be turned off and on again. After self-diagnostics, the water leakage control system is ready for operation again.
How to choose a flood protection
In terms of their efficiency, cheap and expensive devices are almost identical, with the exception of factory defects, which can be in any system. Each manufacturer presents its product, but this is just an advertisement and not more.
In the leak protection system with the Gidrolock logo, the complete delivery provides for 3 sensors, and you can connect another 40 sensors without installing additional units. Protection Aquastoroz initially equipped with 4 sensors and you can connect another 10. If you install additional units, then the number of sensors can be increased to 375.
In the complete set of the Neptune system there are only 2 sensors, the others need to be purchased separately. At the same time, without installing additional units, the system can support no more than 10 water leakage sensors.
The wireless sensor system significantly increases the cost of the system, so if you are comfortable with a wired system, it is better to give preference to it.Also, the cost of the system increases with the possibility of installing additional cranes.
We have already established that to work effectively, no more than two ball valves with solenoid valves, installed on the cold and hot water risers directly behind the inlet valves, are required. Buying a system with 6-8 cranes, you overpay for what you will never use.
Some manufacturers, when advertising their products, speculate on such a value as the operating voltage. And it for protection systems ranges from 5-12 V, while the current in the wires of the sensors is absolutely safe, and the current in the wires of the crane even reaches 1 A, but it only takes a few seconds, so the difference in operating voltages is not significant at all.
One of the main indicators of the efficiency of the system is the overlap time of the crane. In cheap Neptune systems, this figure reaches 30 seconds, while the most advanced Aquastoroz systems are able to shut off taps in just 2-3 seconds. Consider that if a heating pipe or water pipe breaks, 20-25 liters of water can pour out in 30 seconds.
Another important indicator is the presence of a battery in the kit, which ensures the autonomy of the system in the event of a power outage.
Conclusions and useful video on the topic
General overview of the leak protection system:
Review of the system configuration against leakages Neptune and tips for installation:
Review of the Aquastoroz set:
Most of the systems for protection against emergency water leaks are self-sufficient - they are able not only to control leaks, but they periodically monitor the sensors, determine the level of battery charge, clean the solenoid valves. Modern anti-leakage systems are completely autonomous and require human intervention only to eliminate the accident.