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Old 06-10-2010, 06:05 PM   #1
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Had an idea for a safety device


Wondering if anyone has ever thought of this before, or what, but I think this would be a smart safety device to have.

Each water source in the house would hook up to a central point, similar to how an electrical panel works. Each pipe would have a device that is configured based on the typical runtime of water flow. (ex: a toilet may only flow for 1 minute while a bath for 45 in extreme circumstances). What this safety device would do is detect how long water has been flowing for, and if it passes a certain time limit, it would cut water. This would basically be in order to stop water flow if a pipe breaks, or a water appliance has a fault (ex: washer hose bursts).

Is this something that has been thought of before, or should I be calling the patent office right about now? Guess if the main line breaks then you're still screwed, but most breaks probably happen due to appliances.

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Old 06-10-2010, 06:12 PM   #2
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Had an idea for a safety device


One problem is that the elec. operated shutoff valve is $600.

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Old 06-10-2010, 06:33 PM   #3
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Had an idea for a safety device


Ouch... that will do it lol, probably why this is not something seen in use.
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Old 06-10-2010, 06:46 PM   #4
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Had an idea for a safety device


Running all copper pipes back to one central point would be a PIA too
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:12 PM   #5
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Had an idea for a safety device


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Running all copper pipes back to one central point would be a PIA too
Yeah but now that mostly pex is in use, think that's actually how lot of new houses are done, they all link to a manifold. If I was building a house I'd probably do it that way. You can shut water to any individual "circuit". There would be a cold and hot manifold. Guess this would cost way more though as you'd need more pipe and fittings.
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Old 06-10-2010, 10:15 PM   #6
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Had an idea for a safety device


Most ??
New houses around here are still mostly copper from what I have seen
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Old 06-11-2010, 12:01 AM   #7
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Had an idea for a safety device


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Running all copper pipes back to one central point would be a PIA too
you put the valves at the point of use, or more properly, the point of tapping off of the main line and run the wires back to a central PLC (programmable logic control).

The problem I see is not only do you need an electrically operated valve but you also need flow meters on each supervised supply as well. More money.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:41 AM   #8
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Had an idea for a safety device


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you put the valves at the point of use, or more properly, the point of tapping off of the main line and run the wires back to a central PLC (programmable logic control).

The problem I see is not only do you need an electrically operated valve but you also need flow meters on each supervised supply as well. More money.
So let's say two kilobucks for a whole system vs. a small likelihood that you will have X kilobucks of flooding damage over several years of home ownership.
The insurance companies can tell you how likely it is, per year, that your house will have a pipe break.
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Old 06-11-2010, 09:11 AM   #9
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Had an idea for a safety device


I like the idea! Besides the cost though i think about it as if a pipe were to break and the meter was letting it run for 45 minutes there would still be considerable damage especially if it was on a second story. If you really want to spend the money, each control knob (i.e. shower faucet, sink faucet, etc...) would have a sensor so that the electronic control valve would only flow water if that sensor was open (turning the faucet on). would probably need a manual override in case the power goes out.

I love good ideas and you are onto something.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:20 PM   #10
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Had an idea for a safety device


It would be cheaper to put a leak sensor on the floor next to very water appliance and a relay to one main shutoff valve.
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:28 PM   #11
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Had an idea for a safety device


It's not patentable because it "would have been obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art."

But I saw a recent patent for a paper clip. The wire it was made of had ridges. I think this is also obvious, etc..
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Old 06-11-2010, 05:53 PM   #12
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Had an idea for a safety device


better to shut off based on flow rate rather than flow time. ie. if a pipe burst, GPM greater than some set point, then shut off, else GPM should be lower. Of course each shutoff point will have to be calibrated for the particular fixture.
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Old 06-11-2010, 07:20 PM   #13
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Had an idea for a safety device


Maybe I dreamed this or maybe it's due to senility but I swear I saw the plumber guy on Ask This Old House install a mechanical devise that shut off the water in case of a broken pipe. I believe it sensed the pressure drop across itself and and turned off the water if the drop got too high because too much water was flowing.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:26 PM   #14
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Had an idea for a safety device


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Originally Posted by Yoyizit View Post
It's not patentable because it "would have been obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art."

But I saw a recent patent for a paper clip. The wire it was made of had ridges. I think this is also obvious, etc..
Yeah sadly people do patent some of the most ridiculous things. Software is the worse for this, they should really stop allowing patents for software.
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Old 06-11-2010, 08:27 PM   #15
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Had an idea for a safety device


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Originally Posted by Mike in Arkansas View Post
Maybe I dreamed this or maybe it's due to senility but I swear I saw the plumber guy on Ask This Old House install a mechanical devise that shut off the water in case of a broken pipe. I believe it sensed the pressure drop across itself and and turned off the water if the drop got too high because too much water was flowing.

They do have some out
They had a problem where the fitting on the device was snapping off
Causing the very flooding the device was supposed to prevent
Watts floodsafe






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