AI Solutions Help Identify Water Leaks

Water waste and leaky pipes cost companies more than a drop in the bucket, and often they are unaware of any issues. With the Internet of Things technologies, building operators can improve efficiency and sustainability, prevent damage from water leaks, and save money in the process.

 

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Image credit: WINT

A leaky faucet can be irritating, ruinous, and costly. Imagine the exponential increase of all those factors in a commercial environment, where as much as 25 percent of water waste stems from leaks. Water is a finite, but renewable, resource, yet careless use and waste can cost companies thousands of dollars and increase their environmental impact.

WINT created a water meter that uses artificial intelligence to learn the typical water consumption patterns, identify irregularities, detect leaks, and trigger preventative actions when needed. The device installs on existing pipes to check usage patterns against WINT’s established database of typical water consumption for lavatories, irrigation systems, and other equipment. Machine learning enables the WINT system to monitor usage based on flexible thresholds, such as off-peak hours or limited use sites.

Water System Intelligence

The WINT system can be integrated with a building management software and communicates with the cloud via cellular network. Building operators receive alerts when the system detects problems or leaks, and automated shut off valves are triggered at certain thresholds. Operators also can view reports and related data on a dashboard, glean insights about consumption and waste, and drill down for suggestions on how to conserve or optimize water use. On average, the system helps companies reduce water consumption by about 25 percent.

The Weizmann Institute of Science worked with Efficiency-as-a-Service provider Centropi to deploy the WINT system on its campus. The Institute wanted to monitor water usage across its office buildings, air conditioning systems, and research centers. The WINT system ties into the university’s operations center for 24x7 monitoring. According to WINT, the Weizmann Institute has seen significant water savings and reduced its environmental impact. The WINT system was able to identify anomalies in one water-quality facility that stemmed from improperly installed equipment. Once that was fixed, water consumption was reduced by 90 percent.

A Drop in the Bucket

AIMNET, based in Orange, Conn., is a solution provider that specializes in smart technologies for building, office, and home use. The integrator offers a host of wireless sensors to monitor water, temperature, humidity, motion, air quality, and more. AIMNET’s water detection kit includes moisture-sensing probes or cables that are installed in water-sensitive areas, including on the floor, in drop ceiling panels, or under cabinets. The cables range from 10 to 100 feet. The sensors are battery powered enabling wireless installation and use RF communication to share data with a gateway up to 1,200 feet away.  

As many as 100 sensors can connect to each gateway, which communicates with the AIMNET online monitoring portal. The system collects status information, records current conditions, and sends alert notifications when needed. Operators log into the I-Monitoring web portal to adjust and control devices, run status reports, and view usage graphs. An optional automated shut-off capability can be added, which can limit damage if water is detected.

Water sensor in black case with orange and black cabling

Image credit: Monnit

AIMNET uses the Alta water detection sensors from Monnet, an Intel partner. The sensors are available in rope, submergible puck, or surface-mountable probe form factors. When the rope’s polymer sheath senses liquid, it sends the information via RF to the iMonnit management software, which initiates an alert to the operator. The probe has a three-foot lead that detects the presence or absence of water, depending on the application. The puck operates in a similar manner, but it triggers an alert if the liquid level increases 3 millimeters under the device.

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