Flow monitoring w/ master valve

MnLefty

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
I don't want to get into a master valve debate... my personal opinion is they tend to hide or mask more problems than they prevent, but that's just my opinion.

My real question is what controllers are out there (and why aren't there more) that when coupled with flow sensing technology can close a normally open master valve? I feel like I've had too many weeping zones and pin-hole main leaks escape detection with a master valve and normal flow sensing, to the point I'm not planning on using a master going forward. But it'd be fantastic to be able to have a normally open master that could shut down when a stuck zone or major leak is detected.

What's out there, and why is it so uncommon?
 

Mdirrigation

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Maryland
In my area we have some cheap companies using poly pipe for mains , pin hole leaks are very common . I install master valves to help solve the problem . The leaks still show , but they are not an emergency since they are not 24/7 .

The situation you are describing is solved with a master valve . , A stuck zone will only run until the master shuts down .
 

magna111

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
NJ
In my area we have some cheap companies using poly pipe for mains , pin hole leaks are very common . I install master valves to help solve the problem . The leaks still show , but they are not an emergency since they are not 24/7 .

The situation you are describing is solved with a master valve . , A stuck zone will only run until the master shuts down .
The problem with that is the system runs while everyone is asleep and may go undetected for weeks. At least without a mv a stuck valve would be noticed the first day it happens. That said, we have always installed masters ...
 

ArTurf

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Ark
I don't want to get into a master valve debate... my personal opinion is they tend to hide or mask more problems than they prevent, but that's just my opinion.

My real question is what controllers are out there (and why aren't there more) that when coupled with flow sensing technology can close a normally open master valve? I feel like I've had too many weeping zones and pin-hole main leaks escape detection with a master valve and normal flow sensing, to the point I'm not planning on using a master going forward. But it'd be fantastic to be able to have a normally open master that could shut down when a stuck zone or major leak is detected.

What's out there, and why is it so uncommon?
Are you speaking of large commercial or smaller system(s)?

The RB ESP-ME3 with LNK has flow monitoring and will shut down a zone notify with alerts via smart device. Very affordable pricing also.
 

Sprinkus

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
San Antonio, TX
The Rainbird ESP-LXMEF appears to be able to be programmable for N/O or N/C master valves by station.
Hunter ACC would be another one that can be configured for N/O master valves.

Also, the Irritrol 102 series valves can be ordered as normally open, which may be a less expensive alternative to valves such as Bermad.
 
Last edited:

Water Saver

LawnSite Member
Location
Nor Cal
I don't want to get into a master valve debate... my personal opinion is they tend to hide or mask more problems than they prevent, but that's just my opinion.

My real question is what controllers are out there (and why aren't there more) that when coupled with flow sensing technology can close a normally open master valve? I feel like I've had too many weeping zones and pin-hole main leaks escape detection with a master valve and normal flow sensing, to the point I'm not planning on using a master going forward. But it'd be fantastic to be able to have a normally open master that could shut down when a stuck zone or major leak is detected.

What's out there, and why is it so uncommon?
I’m of the same opinion and have been a believer in Normally Open Master Valves and very high resolution flow sensors. The pair I just installed is a Flomec Ultrasonic insert tee flow sensor and a Superior 3300 Normally Open Master Valve. It’s hooked up to a WeatherTRAK LC for a light commercial property. It allows us to sense and shut down for leaks as small as 0.55 GPM on a 1.5” system. I used to audit and inspect systems for an irrigation supply house and I would often see Normally Closed master valves rigged to stay open permanently and flow sensors not hooked up. I think with the popularity of cloud based controllers flow sensors can really shine, because their alerts and data become infinitely more available. The N.O. Master Valves help keep water available for quick couplers and other assets.
 
OP
MnLefty

MnLefty

LawnSite Senior Member
Location
Minnesota
I’m of the same opinion and have been a believer in Normally Open Master Valves and very high resolution flow sensors. The pair I just installed is a Flomec Ultrasonic insert tee flow sensor and a Superior 3300 Normally Open Master Valve. It’s hooked up to a WeatherTRAK LC for a light commercial property. It allows us to sense and shut down for leaks as small as 0.55 GPM on a 1.5” system. I used to audit and inspect systems for an irrigation supply house and I would often see Normally Closed master valves rigged to stay open permanently and flow sensors not hooked up. I think with the popularity of cloud based controllers flow sensors can really shine, because their alerts and data become infinitely more available. The N.O. Master Valves help keep water available for quick couplers and other assets.
I'm assuming you're using the WeatherTrak Central and Flowlink then? What does that subscription cost, I haven't dug real deep, but haven't seen the cost anywhere? I did a fair share of Walmart/Sam's Club service work with a previous company years ago and while I know some don't like it, once I learned it I really liked the EtPro2 that was spec'ed/installed on most of the sites we serviced.

As a side note, has anybody had any success with Weathermatic Smartlines with flow? We have a 1000 unit townhome property with 23 systems on Weathermatic w/flow... We inherited it with Weathermatic. I happen to like their functionality and algorithms and how it handles weather/ET, but the flow has been utterly useless. The flow reporting sucks, no way to see flow in real-time, alerts trigger very inconsistently, etc...
 

Water Saver

LawnSite Member
Location
Nor Cal
I'm assuming you're using the WeatherTrak Central and Flowlink then? What does that subscription cost, I haven't dug real deep, but haven't seen the cost anywhere? I did a fair share of Walmart/Sam's Club service work with a previous company years ago and while I know some don't like it, once I learned it I really liked the EtPro2 that was spec'ed/installed on most of the sites we serviced.
...
The subscription is $235 per year per controller. Averages about $20/month. I’ve found it to be a great investment for what we the LMC and the ownership of the property get for that $20. I have used FlowLink a lot. It works as advertised. I direct wired this latest job, so no need for FlowLink. The Flomec ultrasonic flow sensor cost about $400 and the Superior NO MV 3300 about $225.

Walmart is the biggest single customer of WeatherTRAK (HydroPoint) I believe. I’ve always thought that if Walmart is the “low cost leader” then they must get a great ROI and low overall cost of ownership over time because all this stuff really works and pays off. It has been my experience as well. Good luck, MN Lefty.
 

SoCalLandscapeMgmt

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
So. Cal.
The subscription is $235 per year per controller. Averages about $20/month. I’ve found it to be a great investment for what we the LMC and the ownership of the property get for that $20. I have used FlowLink a lot. It works as advertised. I direct wired this latest job, so no need for FlowLink. The Flomec ultrasonic flow sensor cost about $400 and the Superior NO MV 3300 about $225.

Walmart is the biggest single customer of WeatherTRAK (HydroPoint) I believe. I’ve always thought that if Walmart is the “low cost leader” then they must get a great ROI and low overall cost of ownership over time because all this stuff really works and pays off. It has been my experience as well. Good luck, MN Lefty.
Walmart has a company that monitors all of their controllers. You make one change to anything in a controller and those people are calling or e-mailing you within minutes. We had a few Walmart sites that the initial setup of the controllers was way off. Took some explaining to get their monitoring people to understand why we were making changes to the setup.
 

Top