Extreme Water Damage Leaves 1,500 Without Power in Toronto

Nadine Evans

It’s one of the coldest weeks to date this winter. Extreme cold temperatures resulted in many canceled school days and bus runs, while we heeded to continual frostbite warnings (apparently, exposed skin of 10 minutes or more can lead to frostbite!). As cold as it may be outside, we can rely on the warmth of our homes to keep us safe and comfortable. But what happens when we cannot?

Inhabitants of a high-rise apartment complex in downtown Toronto faced dangerous hardships this week after a burst pipe in the garbage disposal flooded the electrical room. As a result, power was cut to the building to prevent catastrophic failure. Now, more than 1,500 residents in the 33-story building are now without power, heat, and water during the coldest week of Toronto. While some residents have been able to relocate to nearby areas, many have remained in their apartments due to a lack of alternatives. Two days after the event, residents are still without power, and authorities have no information to convey as to when residents will be back with heat and water.

The situation is heartbreaking. Often when we discuss water damage, we fail to remember the people most vulnerable to this damage within a building. Property damage and the resulting costs are most often discussed, without considering how much lives are affected. At a minimum, it is upsetting and inconvenient. At an extreme, lives are at risk (both the people that resident within a unit as well as pets).

This incident may appear rare, but sadly it is not, as water damage in a multi-family building is the biggest and most prevailing risk. In fact, water damage accounts for 70% of real estate claims by dollar value, and more than 50% of claims overall.

How can buildings, particularly older ones, protect against this kind of problem?

The reality is that equipment failure will happen. Pipes will freeze. Leaks will occur. Even the newest building with the most up to date appliances will experience issues. The solution is the implementation of real-time water monitoring and leak detection so that issues are tracked and mitigated early, before inhabitants are placed at risk. IoT water monitoring (also referred to as Intelligent Water Monitoring) combines smart technology with the very real need of water control.

Real time water data is paramount to better control in the overall building, so that property managers can view water usage and issues as they occur and take steps to immediately mitigate. Systems include sensors that are placed inside riser stacks, in-suite (next to water appliances like washers and water heaters), and in common areas. When combined with shutoff systems that may be placed in boiler rooms and on the main feed, the sensors track and communicate water issues immediately. Water issues are identified early and stopped before they cause flooding and subsequent power outages.

The result is a well managed building with far fewer water problems. Tenants are disrupted less and do not face having their belongings destroyed due to water damage or leaks. These systems mean that 1,500 tenants will not be without power and water during the coldest days in winter.

Eddy Solutions is an industry leader in leak protection and water monitoring solutions. Our suite of smart products offers a comprehensive water management system for building operators and homeowners that protects, controls, and conserves water. Our products have saved thousands of customers millions of dollars in damages and millions of litres of water waste by continuously monitoring water usage in their properties. For more details, please contact us at 1 877 388 3339 or email info@eddysolutions.com.