Water Protection for High Rise & Multi-Dwelling Units

Elliott Samuel

Water Damage: Is Your Building at Risk?
The rising risk of water damage is affecting millions of condo dwellers, and IoT water monitoring can help.

Whether you live in a condo, apartment, or single dwelling home, water damage is your biggest risk. Most property owners do not realize that they are 12 times more likely to experience a significant water damage incident than a fire. In fact, water damage claims have grown to account for 48% of all claims seen in Canada.

Among the most vulnerable to damages are high rise/multi-dwelling units (also referred to as ‘Multi Unit Residential Buildings’ or ‘MURBs’). These buildings face significant risk from regular equipment wear and tear (say, a hot water boiler leaking), human error (like leaving your bathtub running), and water issues from communal areas (for example, a toilet overflowing in your building’s gym bathroom).

Water damage in MDUs can be catastrophic
Water issues can turn downright disastrous in multi-dwelling scenarios when you factor in the sheer volume of property affected and the resulting displacement of residents following a major water issue.

Last year, a building in Toronto had a pipe burst in a unit on its 12 floor. The incident caused more than $5,000,000 in damages and displaced more than 50 residents for three months. Worse still, the building’s insurance company was refusing coverage for future water related incidents.

Enter Internet of Things (IoT) powered water/leak protection that triggers alerts the moment water is detected. Water monitoring solutions can act as an alert system that detects the presence of water, notifying the property manager and/or resident so that action can be taken, or may consist of a remote/automatic shutoff system at the main that enables users to shut off their water immediately if a leak is detected. Some solutions employ both a sensor and shutoff valve that enables immediate detection and water shutoff as part of a closed loop system.

The above mentioned building employed a solution that included more than 1,500 LoRaWAN enabled leak detection sensors with a property manager dashboard that alerted not just the unit owner, but the property manager as well in the event of a water incident.
In less than 60 days, the technology identified 17 separate water issues, including:
• A lobby toilet overflowing
• 2 occurrences of dishwashers overflowing (user driven)
• 4 occurrences of leaking washing machines
• 7+ heat exchanges that required draining
• 2 alerts initiated due to frozen heat exchanges
• A leaking valve in the boiler room

In all instances, the Property Manager was alerted to the issues, prompting actions that mitigated damage. Left unchecked and unmonitored, the damages and costs would have been significant. Further, the system provided their insurer with the assurances needed to continue coverage for the building.

IoT powered technology has taken hold in all facets of MDU living, and water damage mitigation is an essential part of the overall connected living space. With proactive controls in place, condo-owners and property managers never need to worry about water damage, mold growth, or being displaced due to damage.

About the Author
Elliott Samuel is a Director of Sales and Channel Development who works with Commercial and Multi Unit Residential Developers and Operators to provide water monitoring and protection from water damage through the power of the IoT. Elliott also works with Energy Management Firms, Submetering Firms, Property Managers, and Telecoms to develop partnerships and strategic alliances with the goal of strengthening all parties’ offerings.

Through years of working in sales and channel development in the technology and restoration industry, Elliott understands the challenges faced by key stakeholders as it relates to water and its impact on structures. Elliott has been a key member of the Eddy team in accelerating the company’s market penetration within the Multi Dwelling sector.