Since Pelican Sound was built (approximately 1999), there have been seen several failures in our plumbing systems due to aging CVPC piping, broken washing machine hoses, failed water heaters, etc. CVPC pipe becomes brittle as it ages and becomes susceptible to cracking and separation of the joints if they were improperly glued. The resulting flood can be costly.
Most people turn the water off when they are away, however, we know that pool companies often forget to turn the water valve off after use. Many homeowners use a timer valve (known as a positive shut off valve) to refill their pool. This valve immediately shuts off when it times out and does so with a bang. That bang is a dangerous situation given the brittle nature of the internal piping now 20+ years old. Installing a dedicated pool fill line, that accesses the main water line before the main shut off valve to the house, will eliminate this problem.
Research and information provided by Pinehurst
Pinehurst formed an AD HOC Committee to investigate various solutions to address the problem. The Committee included Dave Hamblett, Ed Nowak, Steve Bolte, Bill Lottridge, Steve Ettlinger, Henry Bays and Greg Gow. The Committee considered various options: relining the pipes, re-piping the house and installing water shut off valves.
The water pressure in the Masters and other areas of Pelican Sound is moderate at best with marginal volume of flow. Most new fixtures already have a mandated conservation device in place albeit many folks remove them. As most interior lines are ½ inch, the relining of the pipes will further restrict the flow of water (not pressure). The Pinehurst AD HOC Committee recommended against this approach except for the specific situation addressed below.
The optimum solution is re-piping. Cost for a home in the Masters runs about $11,000. Re-piping also may require use of a retrofit plate on a shower valve that faces an outside wall, where the back of which cannot be accessed from an interior wall.
Interior kitchen sinks can also pose a re-piping complexity as it may not be possible to drop down new pipe from the attic. Therefore, the relining technique is used on the interior kitchens only, with the standard drop-down re-pipe approach for the rest of the residence.
Re-insulating the attic after re-piping should be considered as there would be tramping down of the insulation. The cellulose type of insulation utilized on most of these homes has already settled substantially reducing the insulation quality. These homes now need to be re-insulated at a cost of approximately $1.00 per sq foot.
Water Leak Sensors with Automatic Shut-off Valve
Another option is the Moen 900-006 smart valve coupled with about three of the Moen 920-005 mini sensors located in critical areas. It is not a perfect solution, but it is inexpensive, simple, non-invasive and reduces the risk of flooding substantially. An engineering study showed that a broken pipe that ran for one hour will flood a residence by about 2-2½ inches. Therefore, the ability of the Moen valve to actuate after a few minutes will minimize damage but cannot eliminate it.
Pinehurst AD HOC Committee
The Ad HOC Committee recommends the installation of the Moen valve. Each installation is a bit different, the specifics required are:
- The unit would be installed outside your house on the pipe that brings the water into the house.
- Your Wi-Fi must have a signal strong enough to reach the unit on the outside of your house.
- A GFI electric plug within 6 feet of the unit is required so it can be plugged in. The unit will need access to a 120-volt code approved outlet box (Moen sells a 25-foot special extension cord that can perhaps simplify the electrical installation on some homes).
- If your inbound water pipe is not attached to the wall – installation is easier.
- If your inbound water pipe is in the stucco of your house – installation is more difficult.
The biggest challenge is that as the Moen valve is learning your water usage, it sometimes detects a leak and shuts the water off to your home. It is easy to turn the water back on by using the Wi-Fi app on your phone. The Moen valve learns your water usage patterns over time and eliminates this challenge. If power drops or internet drops, the Moen valves may not automatically reboot. Someone must be on sight to assist in the reboot.
The AD HOC Committee after a careful and time-consuming review, selected Mike’s Plumbing. They are licensed, insured, know how to professionally install these Moen valves and they have done so many times.
Mike’s Plumbing (239.450.2166) provided costs ranging from $800 to $1,100 to Pinehurst. The cost varies whether ¾ inch or 1” Moen valve and piping is selected, and if the existing pipes are embedded or not in the concrete. It is recommended that the homeowner be present for the work to be done. Please Note: They do not paint or do stucco work. Also, an electrician needs to be contracted if there is no electric outlet near the inbound water pipe.
We thank Pinehurst for their work and sharing their findings with us.
In closing, opinions will vary as to which is the best approach. It’s your decision as to which, if any, of the options outlined above are appropriate as there are other options to consider.