From a Trickle to a Flood
The number one cause of flood damage, apart from Mother Nature, is failed water supply hoses. These losses are fully avoidable with products that are commercially available.
In OCS and point of use (POU) water installations, the supply hose predominantly used is a plastic ¼” diameter tube, normally connected with “quick connect” style fittings. While convenient and reliable, this combination is also a “fail to danger” approach, meaning that the failure of the connectors and/or the hose itself will eventually happen. When this occurs, the damages are not limited to the installation location, but will also include any adjacent or connected properties. Many horror stories have been heard over the past years of $100K+ losses due to such failures. Adding to the cost of remediation is the effect of “Murphy’s Law”, with the failure possibly occurring on a Friday evening, just before a holiday weekend!
In OCS and POU water industries, the marketplace has been performing extensive due diligence in addressing the weak points in the water circuit and, more recently, in offering solutions to not only detect but to stop a flood event when one occurs. Water line failures can leak up to 5 gallons of water per minute. Overnight, the damage is severe. Over a weekend or long weekend, it is catastrophic. In the coffee industry, the damages experienced in a flood event are a cost to all involved: the office/store, the building owner, adjacent properties/businesses, and of course the supplier of the equipment, and the installation company.
Proper flood prevention requires a systemic approach, addressing all potential sources of flooding and using an assortment of devices to prevent both catastrophic flooding and slow leaks, which can also become costly once discovered. One such device which is widely used in the OCS market, the “Water Block” by Eltek USA, is a mechanical flowmeter which is adjustable at installation to set the maximum volume of water allowed to flow in a normal cycle. It automatically resets when water flow stops to measure the next cycle. In the event of a line failure, the catastrophic flood is limited to a puddle. After the volume of water the device has been set to allow flows, the device mechanically blocks the flow of further water. While the OCS market is a very good early success story, coffee shops remain at risk of damages and costs for damages to others’ property by not understanding the products available.
Holiday House Distributing www.hhdonline.com has compiled an assortment of flood detection and prevention devices to allow installations to select the best solution for total protection. Users can install alarms to sound when water is leaking – even at a slow rate – as well as a device using a sponge, which will expand in the presence of a slow leak and interrupt the flow of water. Technology exists to minimize the costs of flood damage and additional developments are underway to present a full-package approach to flood prevention.