Issue

Apartment water heaters (Ozo’s) that were fitted at build stage started to corrode and fail after a number of years on a regular basis. Lack of maintenance being the main reason why these failed. Staff at site became very good a spotting leaks, isolating them and offering help and advice to clean up the damage caused by a water escape. Many times, up to nine apartments could be affected by one water heater failure. In some cases, commercial units on the ground floor suffered damage and even loss of earnings.

Insurance

Aviva advocated the use of one of their preferred water valves to mitigate the ever-increasing financial burden of large-scale water outages. They were prepared to double the buildings insurance if a valve system was not implemented.

Cure

Through a tender regime under Statutory leasehold Consultation a Home Solo Water Valve was agreed upon and after some planning the device was fitted in phases to the whole of West Point. This meant every apartment (just under 400) had the device fitted in the riser on the floor that fed their water supply.

Equipment

The Home Solo device consists of a Flow Cut Off Valve fitted after the apartments water meter and a Control Switch fitted in the same floors electric riser. The default setting for the valve is ten minutes, which means if the apartment’s water continuously runs for longer than ten minutes, the valve switches and the water is cut off. This can be altered to twenty minutes or thirty minutes depending on the needs of the apartment. Also there is an “override” setting which means if the device fails in the middle of the night or at weekends we can still supply water to the Apt. (Staff are trained in how to reset, alter the setting and override a device)

In practice

The devices were fitted in phases and site staff working alongside the contractor helped advise and educate residents in the use of the Home Solo Water Valve. We had to deal with a lot of resets to start with but as the weeks progressed residents became accustomed in how the device works and in a lot of cases residents have been very appreciative of the work and affect the device has. (It’s worth noting that the insurance company’s request has saved the development a lot of money on damage claims – see below.

There have been a few instances of where the device has saved a lot of damage to surrounding properties, here are just two examples.

  • 1

    A resident who was working nights came home in the morning to find her floor wet through. She alerted staff and they checked the risers on her floor. The control switch in her electric riser was flashing red. The device had cut the water off after ten minutes, this meant that instead of the water heater trying to refill all night it simply emptied into the flat and stopped. The resident arranged a repair of her water heater and also replaced her own flooring to avoid the excess payment. Because of the device the water was contained in her flat and did not escape down or across to any other properties. If the water heater had been left to refill it could have continued doing this for a considerable amount of time, even until the morning if we had not spotted it on building tours.

  • 2

    A resident was taking a shower and heard her phone ringing, she was expecting a call and ran out of the shower leaving it running and the door open. She chatted for nearly an hour before realising she had left the shower running and the cubicle door open. In a panic she ran back to This allows the purchaser of these products to take advantage of ECA Enhanced Capital Allowance enabling the total cost of these assets to be written off for tax purposes in the first financial year. The Waterguard Solo is registered with DEFRA on the Water Technology List. Enhanced Capital Allowances check. The device had cut her water off after ten minutes. Some damp had dripped through into the apartment below, but this was minimal as the flow was cut off. If residents have a new water heater and can show it is being serviced, we can extend the length of the flow meter (as above 10 / 20 minutes etc.) we have had a few residents that have declined the extended option as they draw comfort from knowing that ten minutes will drastically reduce any damage from a water escape.

Result

Sites staff and residents feel protected by the installation of the Cut of Valve. Many apartments have had new water heaters fitted and now every apartment has a Cut of Valve we are confident that costs and damage will be kept to a minimum and we have recommended to other managers on other sites the advantages of this equipment.

The Waterguard Solo provides a solution for every stakeholder, including the property owner, insurer, facilities manager and resident. With unrivalled customer support, clients benefit from a dedicated project manager that will oversee the entire project. From conception to completion, our knowledge and experience ensures a fast and cost-effective result. Have a certain project in mind? Call our offices to discuss or visit our website for more information.