Kairos Water, Inc. (Kennesaw, GA)

A water control device that comprises a leak detector and an water control unit that is adapted to be installed on the water supply line. Both are capable of wireless data communications with a gateway acting as an interface between the leak sensor the water control unit and cloud server or remote user application.

Consistent and small leaks often remain unnoticed in homes and can cause significant damages to the property or mold due to the fact that accessing different places in the house in which leaks could be found is difficult due to the constraints of visibility andreal time monitoring. The underside of a dishwasher is an example of such an area. Due to the limited access to the area and space restrictions it’s difficult to install numerous leak detection systems. Most leak detectorson the market are considered spot leak detectors and are limited in their ability to address consistent/intermittent small and slow leaks where the affected area is not widespread enough to have water come into contact with the leak sensors. The casings that house the circuitry for leak detection on spot detectors also affect their form factors. Their placement in these spot leak detection devices is a problem with appliances like dishwashers, ice makers, and refrigeration productsbecause it often requires extensive removal and installation. The strip sensor has an element of form that must be placed around a suspected leak zone. It can be unusable if the liquid cannot traverse at a speed that is the least resistance. There are also leak-sensing probes with the appearance of ropes and are able to be placed under certain suspected leak sources However, these sensors do not have the capability of detecting leaks of a smaller size that don’t accumulate into larger pools of water.

Water meters are available for commercial, residential or industrial usage. They’ve been on the market for a while. Meters differ also in the kind of technology used to gauge the water flow. Certain meters can be connected to internal networks, and others connect to external networks for information analysis and control. A lot of systems are controlled by proprietary software and communications methods. These meters aren’t cost-effective for consumers, and are usually placed by water utilities on the street where commercial or residential consumption data is monitored and then billed by them. Field workers check typical utility meters for consumption information about once per 60 days. Then the average is then calculated to bill according to the tiered rates. Utility meters that are standard are reliable and require little maintenance. They can lose their accuracy with time as they get older. They are sometimes calibrated, but they are seldom kept up to date for accuracy. They also can cause water contamination by allowing their internal components to deteriorate. Most of these meters aren’t connected to publicly available networksfor data analysis and end user control. Only 20% of street meters in the United States are considered network-connected meters. Most water utility providers have budgetary constraints which make the implementation of smart metering technology difficultand costly to set up.

Street meters usually do not provide other valuable information about the use and real time conditions of the water supply like temperatures and pressure. Many street meters also have a mechanical shut off valve that is built into the line that supplies water however it could be challenging to shut off without necessary equipment. Pressure regulators within a building’s structure are adjusted to control the pressure supplied by the water utility provider. The majority of pressure regulators aren’t remote monitored or controlled so it’s difficult to know when failure is occurring or is likely to happen. Water utilities aren’t equipped to effectively regulate and monitor water utilities, which can be expensive for both commercial and residential end users. The responsibility for losses and water damages remains the sole responsibility the customer if the sources of the damage or loss are in the water conduits after the street meters of utility. This can prove to be an expensive expense for homeowners, commercial property owners, and insurance firms.

In relation to water filtration, as per an UNICEF/World Health Organization report, some 2.1 billion people don’t have access to drinking water in their homes that is clean of bacterial contamination and accessible when required, which sets a baseline that the world will use to gauge progress toward sustainable development goals for drinking water, sanitation and hygiene. A majority of commercial and residential property owners rely on water filtration, in addition to the water treatment carried out by water utility treatment facilities. It is becoming increasingly difficult to assess the quality of water utilized by the end-users due to aging utilities infrastructure.

The ability to gauge the flow of water into the structure, along with its quality, timing and place of origin, aids in determining the time and place water intrusions or loss of water occur. A system that takes into account these components to measure water efficiency is likely to solve residential, commercial, and municipal concerns about the financial burdens of poor metering, inefficient infrastructure, or unreported water loss. The embodiments of the water control system embodiments that are described herein incorporate an ultrasonic water flow meter. In certain embodiments, data from the flow meter is transmitted via wireless transmitters with low power to a hub and gateway assembly. In these instances, flow meter data is compressed for compatibility with a low bandwidth signal. The flow pattern may be utilized to detect slow leaks, as well as to identify fixtures and appliances that use water, and also backflow scenarios. The leak sensor innovations described herein can detect local water intrusion. They can detect leaks from both the plumbed water sources, such as dishwashers, refrigerators, and condensing dryers. Pressure sensors and temperature sensors are employed to gauge the quality of the water that enters into a structure. Water that is frozen could damage pipes, and pressure that is rising or declining can indicate other issues. By adding water filtration, the solution is capable detecting and removing harmful contaminants that not only negatively impact human beings, but can also result in damage to appliances which mayresult in leaks. Embodiments of the water control system have a micro-turbine that recharges on-board batteries allowing for autonomous operation without the need for an external power supply. The water control system includes a low-power wireless transmitter that can transmit and receive flow data. This ensures the compatibility of the narrow bandwidth signal.

A battery-operated wireless long-range fluid control system is described comprising an ultrasonic flow meter as well as a pressure sensor for fluids, temperature sensor, servomotor to control valves automatically, water quality and filtration analyticssystem, with an electromagnetic hydro turbine that harvests energy to charge the onboard high voltage battery bank. The control system wirelessly monitors a variety of fluid leak detectors, equipped with wireless mesh capabilities that are used to locallyand remotely monitor areas that could be susceptible to leaks of fluid. Leaks can also be identified with the ultrasonic flowmeter which is capable of monitoring very little amounts of loss of fluid that will not necessarily cause any physical leaks in the property, but rather water loss through the fixtures like toilet bowls, faucets, and shower heads. The pressure sensor can detect potential leakages for exterior or interior pipes for water supply. The temperature probe has been included in the system to determine when freezing conditions are likely. This permits for automated and preprogrammed actions to prevent pipe bursts within the building. The system is also comprised of a membrane leak detection sensor that uses a set of electrically-conductive strips arranged in a pattern on one side of a two-sided thin filmnonabsorbent membrane that is used to detect the unwanted presence of fluids. Fluid detection triggers automated response protocols to warn users of structural leaks. The thin film adhesive membrane consists of strategically-placedperforations to allow liquids to travel from the nonconductive side of the membrane to the opposite side via natural fluid dynamics and capillary action with as little as 1 ml of liquid.

The electrical strips on the conductive surface of the thin film membrane are connected to a leak sensing device that detects when electrical flow flows through the conduit of liquid. This closes and completes an normally openelectrical circuit in the event of triggers. This information is then processed by the water control system and various triggers and responses are initiated and signals are wirelessly and bidirectionally transmitted using various radio transmissionprotocols and streams to a gateway and cloud server which can then be translated into actionable data for the end user of the system. Trigger alerts can be heard and visual in nature and can be communicated to users in the local area via the output and input of the physical sensor. Liquid detection sensors are located on the output and input sensing device as electrical probe contacts. This permits the expansion of the leak detection zone and the detection of leaks within the sensor. The electrical conduit is used to separate the leak detection zones from the leak sensor membrane. The leak detection events are processed, and sent to the network layer on the smart building device. The application layer alerts remote users about the whereabouts of the trigger event. The leak sensor might or might not possess sensors for motion or temperature within the housing of the sensor. A leak sensor could inform the owner of the existence of the leak. It also can send a wireless command to a valve controller to regulate the flow of water around the site of the leak.

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