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In the News

Noah needed it

Clinton Twp. engineer, Southfield plumbing expert create anti-leak system


September 24, 2006



"We're getting orders from across the country," says John Nussbaum, codeveloper of the Flo-Guard System with Paul Candela of Clinton Township . The system should be installed by a professional plumber, he says. (ROMAIN BLANQUART/ Detroit Free Press)

Homeowners use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and install security systems to protect their investment.

But Clinton Township resident Paul Candela believes that many homeowners overlook a major thing that could be just as damaging to a home as fire -- and that's water damage.

"If there is flooding or a leak, water can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage," Candela said.

After a friend ended up paying more than $1,000 in repairs to a flooded basement, Candela created Clinton Township-based Flo-Guard Inc., in hopes of getting people to think about preventing leaks.

The Flo-Guard system allows home and business owners the option of cutting off the water supply with the flick of a switch. A valve is connected to the main water line and attached to a switch.

Candela, an engineer, who created the concept for the system in 2001, said he wanted to consult someone who had an extensive plumbing background to ensure the system would work. He enlisted John Nussbaum, a plumbing industry consultant from Southfield , also a member of his city's Plumbing Appeals Board.

Nussbaum, 73, said he received a telephone call from Candela one morning at his office. "He said he was an electrical engineer who had designed something that would prevent water leaks, but he needed plumbing advice," Nussbaum said.

After working together, Candela and Nussbaum had a design for the system and began working on the concept.

"This is different from systems that have sensors," Candela said. "Those types of systems don't shut off the water until it has spotted a leak and by that time the damage is caused. With Flo-Guard, it's about preventing leaks before they happen."

To introduce the product, Flo-Guard built and installed 20 trial units into homes and businesses across the area for nine months in early 2003, Nussbaum said. Since the trial results were positive, Flo-Guard officially went to market in 2004.

"It's not just shutting the water off when you leave your home or office," Nussbaum said. "The system also has a delay feature. This means you can leave a load of laundry or a load of dishes running in the dishwasher, and if it's set on delay then the water turns off after the chore is done."

After a pipe broke in his home in Adair, Dwayne Pingston, a sales representative for ADI, a construction wholesale company in Clinton Township , suggested that the company install the Flo-Guard system to protect the store.

"We mainly have a lot of paperwork here and although we back it up, it could be a problem if there's a water leak," Pingston said. "Water has a tendency to run, and after my own water problems I figured it was a good thing to have installed."

ADI had Flo-Guard installed about two years ago, Pingston said. "Honestly, it's the peace of mind."

The system costs around $600 and labor could cost up to $500 more. The system should be installed by a professional plumber, Nussbaum said.

Nussbaum said the system is also ideal for people who spend portions of the year away from home or have cottages up north.

"If you're away during the summer and have a sprinkler system, you can use a timer to have the water cut on when the sprinkler is running and then it shuts off again when the sprinkler is done," Nussbaum said. "The premise is to keep water off while people are away from home because if something happens, they don't come back to thousands of dollars worth of damage."

According to the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, based in Warren , N.J. , the 10th largest property and casualty insurer in the United States , home water leaks occur more frequently and cause more damage than other losses.

Flo-Guard is also working with local contractors in helping to train future and existing plumbers to install the system. The company's system is on display at the Plumbing Industry Training Center in Troy .

The system is built and shipped from Michigan and it's sold by Sales Service Plus Inc. in Plymouth .

Since the product's launch two years ago, more than a dozen units have been sold across the state, but it's really beginning to take off thanks to recognition of the system at trade shows around the country, Nussbaum said.

"We're getting orders from around the country," Nussbaum said. "Some systems have been installed in Colorado and New York ."

For more information about Flo-Guard, visit www.flo-guard.com. Contact MELANIE D. SCOTT at 248-351-3681 or mdscott@freepress.com.

Publication: Macomb Daily Date: May 15, 2004 Section: Money & Business Page Number: 21  

Shut off the water flow with a flick of a switch

By Dan Heaton Macomb Daily Business Editor

You turn off the lights when you leave the house. And you make sure the iron is unplugged. Why not turn off the water, too?

A Clinton Township business is offering a new method to do just that. It seems so simple, in fact, one wonders why it’s just now hitting the market.

Flo-Guard Inc. of Clinton Township is marketing a water shut-off system that uses a switch or control panel to shut off the water supply in a home or business — preventing costly water leaks before they can happen.

“A sensor-based system shuts the water off after the water has leaked out and caused the damage,” said Paul Candela, president of the company and the creator of the idea.

Flo-Guard uses a valve that is put into the main water supply line of a home or business that is attached to a switch that can be placed by the back door or other convenient location to flip the water on and off as based on when people are at home. The system could be installed by a homeowner, but Candela has been working with the Plumbing & Mechanical Contractors Association of Detroit to develop the system and says that it probably would be best installed by a professional. The system is rated safe for use in drinking water supply.

The system idea came about three years ago when one of Candela’s friends had a leak in his basement that caused thousands of dollars worth of damage. An engineer by training, he started brainstorming and has two patents pending for the system he developed.

The most basic system, the valve and a switch by a door, goes for about $600, with installation running between $250 and $350. The Flo-Guard system can be wired to a home’s alarm system to allow the system to operate on a delay — say to allow a homeowner to throw a load in the wash machine on the way out the door, then to have the water supply turn off in 45 minutes. The system can be set on a delay of 30 minutes to 16 hours. Another advanced feature allows the system to permit water to flow to a particular need, say a lawn sprinkler system or humidifier, at certain times per day. “We developed this holding hands with the industry and answered issues they brought up, like how to service sprinklers or other needs,” Candela said. The company unveiled the product about a month ago and displayed it in Las Vegas at several trade shows. “When you consider the amount of damage that can be done by a water leak, this seems like a small investment to make,” Candela said.

More information about Flo-Guard can be found at www.floguard.com or  you can call them at 1-866-FLO-GUARD.

Above: (Macomb Daily staff photo by David N. Posavetz.) Paul Candela, president of Clinton Township-based Flo-Guard, stands with a doll house he mocked up to show the flow of water in a home and how it can be controlled by various components of the Flo-Guard system, at right.

4/17/04 – Radio: The Home Improvement Show with Murray Gula on WJR at 1pm

Boulton & Associates Marketing 313-724-9400

Paul Candela, President, Flo-Guard Inc.
Phone: 586-649-4330
E-mail: pcandela@floguard.com

Metro Detroit Inventor is right on target by preventing water damage with the new Flo-Guard water shut-off system.

Clinton Township based Flo-Guard Incorporated is launching a new product to protect your home or business or medical/dental facility from water damage caused by plumbing failures. Paul Candela, inventor and proprietor of the Flo-Guard system is “right on target” according to industry specialists who make particular note of the simplicity of Mr. Candela’s system as well as it’s carefully applied logic. Household water damage is responsible for some of the highest financial claims for insurance companies. Preventing this damage is the purpose of the Flo-Guard system.

The system is unique in that it operates by shutting off the water while the householder is away from the dwelling. It also can be readily applied at the commercial level.

John Nussbaum, past International President of ASSE, the American Society of Sanitary Engineers, and long time plumbing industry veteran in metro Detroit, commented that “Flo-Guard is right on target by preventing water damage, rather than responding after it occurs, a factor that is important to the plumbing industry.”

Candela notes that “It is also valuable that this system interfaces with existing water demanding systems in a home or business”. Those water demanding systems are, for example; lawn sprinklers or fire suppression systems among others.

Paul Candela and John Nussbaum will be guests of News/Talk 760 WJR’s “Home Improvement” with Murray Gula and John McCulloch on Saturday, April 17th. This show will be the public launch for Flo-Guard.

For more information visit www.floguard.com or call 1-866-FLO-GUARD.

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