NW Water Stop: Securing your water service
Greg Neurohr, director of operations, and Ryan Anderson, director of sales and marketing, have partnered in a new company called NW Water Stop, which specializes in water security systems.
What is water security? It is similar to a smoke detector or a burglar alarm, except it is for water. The company focuses on water security for residential, apartments, condos, commercial buildings and high rise buildings.
"There is some fantastic inspirations going on in technology controlling water and monitoring water," Neurohr said. "Just like we are dealing with in the recent Salem issue (contaminated drinking water). This was detected very quickly. Water security is everywhere now and it's coming into a forefront. Where we are is we came into bringing this technology from industrial applications and have downsized them into homes."
For example, if a high-rise apartment complex has a water leak, it takes a long time for someone to come in and identify the area and get the water turned off. In the meantime, hundreds of gallons of water can be lost. With a water security system, the system automatically shuts off the water and locates the source of the leak.
The technology they install is from WaterCop and has been used in the water monitoring industry for more than 70 years. It is a computerized automatic shut-off valve installed in place of the manual valve for the main system. It receives a signal from a sensor that detects moisture, moisture, leaks or an overflow in the building or in the home. There are an average of eight sensors in and around the home.
"So when we have a leak or overflow in the bathroom or ice-maker line it shuts the water off in four seconds," Neurohr said. "The person gets notified through text or email that the system has shut down. We are working now with insurance companies -- they recognize this as risk management. A person can get a discount off a homeowner's policy."
To help locate a leak, the sensors are placed in specific places and numbered so when a leak occurs, the monitor will state what sensor sent the signal. Afterward, the homeowner can go to the area and detect the leak and call a plumber to repair it. One control panel can monitor more 40 locations.
The company is working with FEMA so if an earthquake hits the system it is capable of shutting down the water system, depending on the pipe size, in four to eight seconds. In case of the predicted Cascadia quake, when a building starts shaking the systems kick in or a person can, with the press of a button, can shut off the water to conserve what water is in the pipelines and hot water tank to protect it from contamination.
"If the contamination gets in there, now you can lock it out of your house while the recovery is being made," Anderson said. "We are involved with three condo high-rises in the Pearl District and one of our customers wants to have access to the water in the water tank. We are working with an anti-syphon valve with our plumber today to install a spigot so the customer can have access to that water in case of an emergency. FEMA wants us to have two weeks of water now."
Neurohr was a general contractor and worked mainly with remodels for most of his career.
"I saw this need increasing more and more with homes," he said. "I was on a contract for a 17,000-square-foot vacation home and they were away during the winter. The pipe froze. When it thawed out the leak ran for days and they were up to $400,000 to $500,000 of damage inside. I saw that it could have been preventable with our product."