Noah needed it
Clinton Twp. engineer, Southfield plumbing expert create anti-leak system
BY MELANIE D. SCOTT
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
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 email@example.com.