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Water leaks: everything you need to know about it

Water leaks: everything you need to know about it

Water leaks in any type of building (residential, commercial, school, etc.), if not detected and solved promptly, can cause significant damages as well as economic consequences and pose risks to safety and health.

Today, water has become a precious and increasingly less accessible resource in many parts of the world, so avoiding wasting it is almost a moral obligation.

It is certainly an important sustainability goal, as the UN 2030 Agenda recalls in the sixth of its 17 goals (“Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”).

In Italy, most water leaks depend on infrastructures: according to an Istat annual report 2019, the percentage of drinking water dispersed out of the total volume introduced into the distribution networks would be 41.4% of the total.

It is more difficult to quantify the water leaks at the civil and domestic level.

However, the “United Nations World Water Development Report (UN WWDR 2021)” estimates that in 2018 the financial leaks related to water that was recorded by companies reached 32.4 billion euros: one more reason to protect the blue gold by reducing and, if possible, eliminating water leaks.

The causes of water leaks

Some of the main causes of water leaks in buildings are:

  • design defects (incorrect specifications);
  • defective pipes and / or temperature variations;
  • clogging.

Design defects can concern the materials, which sometimes turn out to be unsuitable, not very resistant, unable to cope with weather events. They are defined as latent defects, because they become evident only after the construction of the building, even after years. They are, for example, inadequate foundations that cause subsidence, weak concrete or poorly positioned reinforcement, faulty cisterns that cause infiltration.

Water leaks from broken supply pipes and deteriorated sewer lines are among the most common causes of damage to buildings. Pipes can burst due to excessive temperature changes, high water pressure, corrosion, tree roots and foundation shifts.

Even the clogging of a pipe can cause its breaking, and consequently also significant leaks. Hair, grease, food, toilet paper, and more can cause drainage clogging. If it causes an increase in the internal pressure of the pipe, the liquid must find another way out.

Water leaks can be classified into several types, but the main ones are:

  • obvious water leaks;
  • hidden water leaks.

The former can arise, for example, from the rupture of an exposed pipe or from the dripping of a tap. Water leaks of this type leave little room for doubt since they are revealed by traces of wetness on the wall or floor.

Hidden water leaks are much more insidious because they are difficult to detect. Generally, these types of leaks are due to breakages in underground or recessed water systems, and in any case not directly detectable from the outside.

To identify these types of problems, it is often necessary to unearth the pipe by digging or breaking the concrete part.

A hidden water leak can persist for a long time before being discovered, with a strong economic, safety and health impact on the property.

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How to detect them

Water leaks often leave physical signals that allow you to detect them, such as:

  • bad smell and presence of mould, in the event that the water is absorbed by construction materials and wood, plasterboard, carpet, etc .;
  • discoloration and damp spots on the walls;
  • deformed walls, water is absorbed by plasterboard or whatever is behind the wall, it swells and causes cracks or peeling paint;
  • deformed or sagging floors, if hidden water leaks are localized there;
  • very low water pressure in the presence of a regular water supply.

High bills are a possible sign to detect anomalies in the water flow. If consumption habits have not changed but the bill has increased, it is possible that there are water leaks in the building that have not yet been detected.

However, the best way to detect water leaks in any building is to install a water flow monitoring system, capable of promptly reporting any anomalies.

How to prevent them

It is possible to prevent damage from water leaks by continuously monitoring the environments and consumption and promptly reporting any critical issues and anomalies in the water flow. The E-WATERBLOCK system, developed by ELTEK, guarantees in this sense an uncompromising level of safety.

E-WATERBLOCK is an intelligent device that allows you to prevent leaks by detecting anomalies in the water supply and to block the flow before excessive consumption or damage to environments. Installed upstream of the water connection, it does not require maintenance or electricity.

Thanks to the special ELTEK APP application, you can monitor and prevent it in a simple way. Once configured, the APP allows you to receive notifications and immediate reports in the event of anomalies, and also to access a consumption history in the previous 12 months.

E-WATERBLOCK is a very versatile tool: it lends itself to prevent leaks thanks to monitoring both in work and public places, and in the home.

At home

At home, E-WATERBLOCK can be used to eliminate the risk of excessive water consumption and damage caused by washing machines and dishwashers.

In the home, other measuring and control devices designed by ELTEK can also be used, such as for example the WATERBLOCK safety device, which controls the passage of a nominal volume of water between 5 and 50 liters, and stops if the volume does not fall within this range;

At the office

With the wide range of tools it makes available to measure and regularly monitor water flow, ELTEK is also an ideal partner for office and coworking.

The water monitoring and blocking systems developed by ELTEK protect office spaces from anomalies and any damage caused by water leaks. In this way they also help to limit any waste, contributing to the corporate sustainability report.

In companies

Among the equipment involved in water leaks in companies there are very often dispensers used for the distribution of water, soft drinks, coffee or ice.

E-WATERBLOCK is particularly suitable for the systemic control of water leaks in these machines and the spaces in which they are installed. The speed with which any water flow anomalies are detected is crucial to avoid waste, damage and costs.

SOURCES:
https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/development-agenda/
https://www.istat.it/en/archive/annual+report
https://www.unwater.org/publications/un-world-water-development-report-2021/

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