Article from San Diego TODAY’S LOCAL NEWS — by Heather Anderson
Two advances in plumbing technology, one of which was invented locally, can help homeowners avoid devastating flood damage, conserve water and save money on water and power bills. The Leak Defense System is manufactured by Sentinel Hydrosolutions, LLC an Escondido-based company. The system not only monitors water usage to detect possible leaks, but also automatically shuts off a home’s water system if a leak occurs.
“The system is sensitive enough to detect less than one cup leaking in an hour’s time,” said Scott Pallais, chairman of the company. This allows the product to detect dripping leaks that aren’t large enough to be noticed by homeowners but can trigger mold infestations, which are unhealthy and expensive to repair.
The Leak Defense System was the brainchild of Rancho Bernardo-based engineer Robert Trescott who had two consecutive water leaks in his home about three years ago. He asked his plumber, Escondido-based Frank Collurafici Jr., if he could install a leak detection system to prevent future problems. No such system existed. So, being an engineer, he asked the plumber, “Why don’t we develop something?” Pallais said. Collurafici’s father, Frank Collurafici Sr., an Escondido based alarm expert, joined the team, and the three developed the Leak Defense System. Pallais said the system is a no-brainer for homeowners looking to protect their most important investment. “Water damage is responsible for about 30 percent of all homeowner’s insurance claims, so the insurance companies love it,” Pallias said.
Marty Fischbeck, owner of In Line Plumbing in Escondido, said he recommends the system to customers and recently installed one in his home. Fischbeck said one customer thought a dripping faucet was to blame for a leak that caused her septic system to back up. The faucet was replaced, but the problem persisted. The culprit was a malfunctioning toilet, which was wasting 400 gallons of water per day. “That’s 2,800 gallons of water a week. I can only imagine how high her water bill was,” Fischbeck said.
He said another customer suffered a serious water leak while on vacation and was forced to gut and rebuild his entire home. The family was displaced for nearly a year. “If I had to uproot my family and pay to live somewhere else for an entire year that would be terrible enough, not to mention the loss of the home and personal items,” Fischbeck said. He added that insurance companies may discontinue coverage or increase premiums following a serious flood. The leak detection system costs between $2,100 and $2,600 installed.
“It’s one of those things you can’t appreciate until a flood happens to you,” Fischbeck said. “I like to think you can either spend $2,400 now or tens of thousands of dollars later. You can’t see it, but what you’re buying is peace of mind.”