IoT and LoRaWAN against water leakage
Combination of IoT sensors and LoRaWAN powered by Helium can save you from worries and spendings on unexpected repair of an office, rooms or a whole building.
And what would be the sudden cause? Broken tap, washing machine, radiator or else. Exactly, a surprising and unwanted water leakage.
We know a way to prevent it though. And now we want you to know about it, too. Just keep on reading, and you will see it on a real use case.
What we cover in this article:
- What consequences can water leakage cause?
- Why it is not a small problem and can significantly threaten your business?
- Why IoT powered by Helium is a suitable solution?
- How we helped our customer not to experience a nightmare from water leakage again?
- How else can IoT solutions work as prevention measure?
Water out of control is a problem
Water leakage is one of the most common problems that can occur in an office or building. Even a small amount of water leakage can cause significant damage to the walls, floors, and ceilings of the property.
Over time, this damage can lead to mold and mildew growth. This can pose a serious health hazard to persons who regularly occupy the space.
Moreover, water leakage can cause structural damage to the building, which may require expensive repairs.
Do not let the flood get the wallet
Furthermore, if the leakage occurs in an area where expensive equipment or machinery is located, the cost of repair and replacement can be even higher.
For businesses, unexpected repair costs can cause a significant financial burden.
It can evidently impact their profitability and sustainability.
On the other hand, discussions with insurance provider, supply of new equipment and the repair services take time and require a lot of work.
For a running business such a time can be:
- financially demanding
- harmful for the brand name
- very stressful for owner and employees
Therefore, it is essential to take measures to prevent water leakage and detect it early.
A timely detection can help minimize damage and repair costs as well as prevent business activity from being threatened.
IoT on Helium LoRaWAN is the solution
IoT sensors can play a vital role in preventing water leakage by providing real-time monitoring and detection of potential leaks.
These sensors can be installed in areas prone to water leakage, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements, to detect even the smallest amounts of moisture.
The sensors work by continuously monitoring the presence of water.
When the sensor detects moisture, it sends an alert to notify building management or an office owner of the potential leak.
Why does LoRaWAN work better over WiFi or cellular?
Coverage, battery life, penetration, and pricing are the easy answers.
We need to take into account a few things while discussing a use case in a building.
- Reliable longevity – a device which will last at least 5-6 years running in room temperatures.
- Maintenance free device – I do not want often switch or restart it, change batteries or recharge it.
- Zero wiring – no need for additional cables.
- Remote monitoring – from everywhere, even another state.
- Coverage – can easily cover huge area with great penetration, even underground or concrete walls.
- Costs – infrastructure, data and hardware.
With all these points LoRaWAN stands out.
- WiFi – short battery lifetime, short coverage.
- Cellular – high cost for data transmission, weak coverage in remote or poorly permeable areas.
Why do we use the LoRaWAN network from Helium?
The short response is “because it’s everywhere“.
Longer answer is ” because it is almost everywhere“.
Check the coverage here.
You can discover out more about LoRaWAN, coverage, and the Helium network here.
Use case by Heliotics
After a very unpleasant experience, one of our customers, unfortunately, also felt the importance of being secured against water leakage.
Thanks to the utility of IoT technology and Helium network, we were able to meet this request and provide a suitable solution.
What: Monitoring water leakage of appliances, radiators and ceiling. Fire alarms, CO2 and motion sensors.
Why: Timely detection of unexpected humidity or water presence, smoke detection, comfort of patients, and human presence.
Where: The whole building of a dental clinic.
When: As soon as humidity level or presence of water is detected under or around the water-supplied appliances when not expected, or when a ceiling leak is suspected. Smoke presence in case of emerging fire. When it is necessary to refresh the air. To detect the movement of objects or persons.
A quick background story
Imagine that you refresh your office with a new look, equipment and everything. This was also the case of our customer, the dentist who completely redesigned her old office.
A new modern furniture and state-of-the-art equipment. All the works in the office were done about 6 months ago.
The smell of newness was still present, but then something very unexpected happened.
It happened during weekend, on Saturday, so there was no one in the building to notice.
They only discovered the problem on Monday.
The water valve somewhere in the office burst and flooded the entire office, others on the same floor and also those below. Basically all the floors were touched by water and damaged.
It leaked around 10cm of water on the floor, and not only in the dental office. The new dental chair, the floor, and the furniture – everything was damaged. A complete nightmare.
Even though it was all insured, it required a lot of work to get it back to the previous state: documents and invoices, repair services, the stress and other expenses, again.
With a damaged office the dentist could not move and the business was disrupted.
The whole renovation to the previous state took around 3 months. A time during which they argued and chased with the repairmen to get it done as soon as possible.
This may not look like a long period for some, but for them it definitely was.
Goal of this project was to prevent this from happening again by timely detection of sudden humidity or water presence in the space where it should not be.
So we secured all the potential leakage points with water leakage sensors.
At first, we installed one in the dentist chair to make sure it does not happen in this very delicate spot.
Then we continued on to other potential leak points and secured the radiators with sensors.
A proper cleanness is very typical for a dental ambulance, what requires a lot of cleaning, but the sink presents another potential water leak spot.
That’s why we did not overlook it and secured it with another water leakage sensor. A tiny and compact one that fits into small places.
However, the problem can also be caused by a leak from someone else’s office which is not secured alike.
We counted with that and installed one sensor, as a custom solution, in the space of lowered ceiling, behind the lamp.
Now, when the whole office is equipped with prevention mechanism, they can easily and very quickly monitor the office space.
With our Heliotics app they can check the state of the office in a few clicks. Should the same situation happen again, with instant notification system she can take action immediately.
The whole solution cost about €2000. Considering only the price of the chair to compare, do the math and you will see how easily you can prevent having similar problems like this.
And now they are nonstop secured.
If prevention, then properly
Water does not have to be the only problem or comfort breaker in the space of a dental clinic.
As it is a space equipped with electric appliances, an electric cut off could also be very dangerous and cause a fire.
However, we also thought about that and as a precaution we installed smoke sensors.
For patients as well as office workers a pleasant environment is only a plus.
So for their comfort we equipped the space with CO2 sensors.
With the sensor in the waiting room the receptionist can ensure that waiting patients breathe fresh air which makes them more relaxed before the procedure.
In addition, we added a motion sensors to monitor any movement passing the doors.
It can also be used to easily identify number of visitors, occupancy or vacancy of an indoor space.
On the other hand, it can work as a security measure against uninvited guests in the building.
Investment that pays off
To sum up, IoT sensors on Helium LoRaWAN have utility basically anywhere. In this particular case it helped as a prevention in a dental clinic – an effective and affordable solution.
By investing in IoT technology, office, house or building owners and managers can ensure safety and sustainability of their properties while minimizing risk of damages, e.g. by water leakage.
In addition, it is not only the financial aspect, ROI (return on investment) of your business or whatever you do, but also a precaution before things like being out of work, stressed, and, also very importantly, security of your property.
And the precious time invested into building something and then rebuilding it again, no one can give it back.