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More on smart water valves / More on Zwirn’s defective equipment issue
June 2,  2021
More on smart water valves from article on April 29, 2021
          In regards to the above comment in the April 29, 2021 article I thought one point made was left out.
          The question I would like to address is not monitoring the water flow or cut off but our alarm system controlling the mode of the cut off equipment based on the arming status of HOME or AWAY by a dry closure input from the panel.
          To me that opens up a bigger can of worms.
Your thoughts?
Andrew I. David
Alarm Services of Maryland
          Sounds like a technical question that would have to be answered by experts.  The water shut off valve is not the same as monitoring water flow or detecting water; those devices and services have been around a long time.  The shut off valve turns off the water flow; it turns a lever preventing water from flowing.  Those the water flow shut off device is a preventative device, not detection device. 
          You run into issues of liability [in addition to installation issues] when the device shuts off water flow when it shouldn’t, or doesn’t shut water flow when it should.  Get the updated Standard Form Agreements – updated to cover the water shut off device.
More on Zwirn’s defective equipment issue from article on May 20, 2021
          A comment on the Jeff Zwirn / defective equipment issue.
          One thing I have noticed that hasn’t been or has been very little discussed is how to fix this issue.
          Jeff has pointed out the flaw/shortcoming of all the notification and communication devices using a common power source. For example, the burg or fire keypad, and the communication device, etc. all using the keypad “BUS” for power. If a short occurs on the power terminals of the keypad BUS, then all devices using that power would shut down, meaning no notification to the end user via keypad as well as no signal to the central station. And this is common to any manufacturer or installer that installs/design the system this way, not just the brands that Jeff has pointed out.   Several, if not most, brands of communicators have the ability to be powered from an external source, not just from the keypad BUS. I will use Honeywell and Telguard as examples, they both (many models) have an external transformer, that plugs into a wall outlet and have their own battery, so they wouldn’t shutdown if there were to be a short on the power of the keypad bus… in fact they would probably still be working if the main panel fell off the wall. In the case of Honeywell, if you are using a Honeywell radio with a Honeywell panel, say a vista 20, and the panel shuts down the keypad BUS for any reason the radio will report a loss of communication to the central station. At least someone would know there is a trouble on the system and be able to start a response to that signal.
          Some of these issues are created by how the installer sets it up, not just how the manufacturer makes it. I can install the most reliable system in the world, in the most incorrect way, and create some sort of catastrophic event. I think it’s either due to convenience, laziness or lack of knowledge that the industry as a whole has used devices that “ride” the keypad bus without a backup plan if it should stop working. Maybe the manufacturers need to start making panels with multiple, short circuit tolerant “Busses” that different devices can connect to, thereby allowing certain equipment to be operational if one BUS should fail. When possible we have always run our radios on their own power source, so I don’t have many of the scenarios for customers that Jeff has pointed out.
          I will also mention that we do primarily commercial fire and very little residential burg, so we don’t have much opportunity to have this scenario. Also, I will make the comment that companies and techs that do more work on fire related systems, tend to look for the failure point in a design more often than burg techs do, I believe it’s a different mentality of how we approach our work.
 Jason Holmes
 Southwest Fire & Security, LLC
          Fixing the bus issue is above my pay grade; others have commented and certainly Jeff Zwirn has an opinion and answer.  In the meantime, be careful installing equipment that you think is defective, if that’s what you think.
          I am struck by your comment that fire alarm installers look for failure points in design more often than burg techs.  That would be a mistake, assuming it’s true, which I also doubt.
          Fire alarm installations have the advantage of being required, permitted and approved by AHJ, including final inspection.  That kind of supervision is absent in intrusion systems.  But alarm companies need to be equally diligent in design, installation and services for all alarm systems, security systems, environmental systems, fire systems, etc.  Just about every alarm system could end up in a claim exceeding the value of the average company; make sure it’s not your company. 
          You “make sure” by engaging best business practices, complying with code, custom and practice, AHJs and using the Standard Form Agreements properly.  There are no shortcuts.

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Ken Kirschenbaum,Esq
Kirschenbaum & Kirschenbaum PC
Attorneys at Law
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